It wasn't terribly long ago, before this world got as sick as it is now, that men and women were dedicated to the preparation of the soul, to an understanding that when the time came to leave the body, they wouldn't be afraid or wondering if they had misspent their life. This understanding was based on a true culture of spirituality and creativity that is all but absent today. Mostly it is gone because the world is upside down: the idea of being, which should be first, is last. Our lives are completely corrupted with the idea of somehow acquiring possessions and powers so that at some point in our lives, we will be content. This is a grand and gross lie, because the day will never come when everything will be settled and we can be at peace as a result of anything we do in the world outside of us.
Why would we think (as most of us do) that somehow or other the Divine owes us something? Why wouldn't we inwardly be always taking care of the part of ourselves that is capable of being in direct relationship with the beautiful energies and eternal forces of the Divine that are constantly pouring into us?
The real problem we face is that our lives are out of order, meaning that when it comes to living in real spiritual light -- an unshakable understanding that "goes before us to make the crooked places straight" -- our habit is to adopt the will of the reaction (in the dark of us) instead of working inwardly to be increasingly watchful of the mechanical reactions themselves.
All of those seemingly personal reactions on your part are produced by something coming down the beautiful river of life, striking what it is intended to so that you can observe and see this mechanical nature, this liar, this pursuer, this temporary lover. And in the observation of these qualities of yourself, you gain that which cannot be gained in any other way. You gain the realization that the observation of what appears in the moment that something asks for it, also resolves what appears in the moment it's asked for. You watch yourself rise and fall. You watch yourself appear on fire, and you watch the fire go out. You watch yourself rise, frightened, and you watch life erase the conditions that produced it. You're able to see in this state of self-observation, of watching instead of being willful, that life is answering itself and that you're the instrument of this question and answer. Life -- in its brilliant movement -- brings things that are pleasing or not, and you can be in direct relationship with the whole of that movement. That's what the capacity to observe yourself sets into motion.
But when you give yourself over to an automatic reaction, all the potential energy for your spiritual development is shunted off because immediate resistance or immediate attraction doesn't allow you to have any relationship with the actual essence of yourself, with the energy that has been revealed by what has been given to you by life. Regardless of what your reaction is, it keeps you blind to the possibility of being part of a living question and answer that is the life of the Divine, in which something is always being seeded and brought to life, and something is always passing and being born again.
Until we are able to remember, and then embody, the realization that "I am" must come before "I want" - then the old fears and tears over our self must continue taking precedence over the possibility of our spiritual rebirth.
Learn to be actively passive as you observe the nature that either accepts or rejects the moment. Be watchful of the tendency to instantaneously identify with your thoughts, opinions, expectations, and then begin to realize that there is another way in which you can meet life. The nature, the personality that is out of order does not have answers to what life is asking. Life is asking for a relationship, not a solution. God is asking for communion, not a conversation dominated by your wishes.