Many people find the language of spirituality off-putting, airy and weird. “Let the flow of the universe flood your soul with prana…” Yada, yada, yada.

It’s too bad because many turned off by this language blow the whole thing off and miss out on enormous benefits as a result. That’s one reason I try to keep this stuff as fun, relatable and approachable as possible.

The relatable Mickey Singer

Which brings us to my favorite spiritual teacher, the great Mickey Singer. One reason I’m so drawn to him is his use of relatable language.

An example of this hit me hard the other day when I heard him sum up our life’s work in one uber-relatable sentence.

He was talking about how we get better at sports. Getting better at tennis requires playing a lot of tennis. Same for golf. And basketball. And every other sport.

He said it’s about practice, practice, practice.

Then he threw this out there:

So what you all need to do is practice the sport of self-realization.”

Bam! That says it all. Game, set, match Mickey Singer.

I absolutely love how he puts this. Why? Because it’s so unsexy. So uncomplicated. So un-“airy, woo-woo, out there.”

What he’s saying is what I’ve felt for years now. Which is that we don’t need to look at spiritual growth as some fuzzy, unattainable endeavor meant only for gurus and vegan chefs from Boulder, Colorado.

No. ANYODY can go after this stuff and have success at it.

The key is that attaining success is no different for spiritual growth than it is for getting better at sports, writing work memos, piano, Scrabble or anything else. What all of these activities require for improvement can be summed up in one word. One unsexy, boring word…


That’s it. You don’t need any special spiritual pedigree. No need to have blood relations from Tibet, India or Nepal. No need to have read the Vedas starting at age four.

Just commit and practice

You literally don’t need anything other than a commitment to practice. If you do that, you will grow spiritually.

Just as if you devoted considerable attention to playing the piano, you would improve. It’s virtually impossible NOT to get better at something we practice.

And what is this “sport” of self-realization Mickey refers to? This sport we should devote our lives to?

It’s the sport of all sports. The only one that really matters in the grand scheme of things.

Realizing your true self

Because self-realization is about, as it plainly states, realizing your real, true self. The conscious you. The God in you. The Atman, as the Hindus call it. That little slice of God that is the essence of who all of us truly are.

At least, that’s what I believe. As do Mickey Singer, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Ramana Maharshi, the Hindus and, one way or another, most spiritual traditions.

How do we go about practicing this sport of self-realization? We set about eliminating the clouds that block us from seeing and experiencing this true self that’s already there. That’s always been there.

Clearing the ego clouds

These clouds blocking us are comprised of all the experiences we’ve had, both positive and negative, that we’ve held onto. That we haven’t let go of.

Their sum total comprises the ego. Let that all go and what’s left is the realized self.

Vastly aiding in this process is quieting down our chatty minds that only cause us to add more clouds to our already blocked sky.

To get quiet and let go requires practices like meditation, mindfulness, praying and whatever spiritual techniques work best for you.

Getting better at tennis

The point is, there’s no mystical magic to it. If you want to get better at tennis, you need to go out and hit buckets of serves. And do drills. Three volleys then an overhead. Three volleys then another overhead. Over and over, until you’re so winded and your quadriceps are so strained that you almost collapse. That’s how you get better at tennis.

It’s no different with self-realization. We meditate. Preferably every day.

We give ample attention to being mindful during the day. Every day.

We look for opportunities to let go of our egos. Every day.

Do what works for you

And if other practices and techniques work for you, do those. There is no one size fits all curriculum for spiritual growth. As long as it’s helping you quiet down and let go, by all means do it!

But you have to do it. You have to practice.

Sure, there are some who were born naturally Zen, calm and for whom spiritual growth might not require as much work. But they are rare.

Most of us need to practice. A lot. For a long time.

But the gains will come. Slowly and gradually, but surely.

Self-realization tops Wimbledon titles any day

And whereas the fruits of our labor arising from doing volley drills, serving scores of buckets of balls and the rest, might be, at their highest, winning twenty-five Grand Slam singles titles, getting great at the sport of self-realization carries the highest reward life has to offer.

Peace. Calm. Compassion. Infinite love.

Even better, only a few among us — the Federers, Nadals, Djokovics, Williams and Grafs — reach that vaunted Valhalla of tennis greatness.

But all of us can do great things in the sport of self-realization.

We just need to set the intention of getting better at it…

And then practice.

The takeaway

Which is the point of this article.

Don’t overthink this stuff, my friends. And don’t get psyched out by this thing called self-realization.

Approach it as you would any other endeavor.

To quote Larry the Cable Guy, you just have to “Git ‘er done.”