I just read the statement "at some point all spiritual effort is rewarded." Again, that carrot being dangled out there. I suppose in a pay - off oriented society, that is what is sought; a reward. This is just simply not good enough.
Love is all there is. To use an old clichéd phrase; Love is it's own reward. And this is it, isn't it ? The search is not for something. There is no treasure to find that that is not already present. Wisdom, peace of mind, happiness, or whatever is sought as a "reward ", are not good enough.
What is sought is what calls. It is also the "journey " itself. Until it is realized (the Real manifest) that the "call ", the "seeker ", and the "path followed " are all the same Love playing out it's game with itself, the "journey " continues. After it is realized that this is simply a play of Love, the "journey" continues, until all is absorbed back into Love itself.
Love is calling, calling to itself. This is expressed in a wonderful manifestation, or a silent stillness depending on the "angle of view ". If Love itself is not leading back to itself, it is simply wandering, and it isn't Love, it's the minds idea of love. A mistaken identity. When a reward is sought, no matter how lofty, a possession is sought; a pay - off for imagined "efforts". This is self seeking; selfishness, and has nothing to do with Love.
Any "spiritual journey ", that is a true one, starts with a calling. It doesn't start with a desire to "fix " anything. Searches for happiness, peace of mind, wisdom or even understanding, are all reward oriented. Seeking understanding or relief of these things may be found in psychology, or even possibly religion, but that is not the purpose of spirituality. Spirituality has no purpose, it just is, and there is either a calling or not.
Spirituality is the circle of Love unfolding and Loving itself. The "call " is an invitation to join the dance,the dance itself being the call, and the called. If Love is offering it's invitation, it does not matter ifhappiness, peace of mind, wisdom or understanding are present or not. In fact the "call " can, and often does, come in the midst of unhappiness, a troubled mind, ignorance or lack of understanding. The invitation comes in spite of those things.
The invitation to the dance is not declinable. It may be resisted, resulting in much of the unhappiness, etc. mentioned above, but it cannot be ignored. Seeking a "reward " leads to an attempt to "crash the dance ". In fact, seeking a "reward " prevents the invitation from being sent in the first place. Perhaps a better way to put it, is that the attempt to crash the dance, causes the invitation to become overlooked.
All are invited to the dance. Overlooking the invitation by seeking a "reward ", we miss the dance itself.