Let It Be Spiritual
I resisted the term spirituality for a long time because I associated it with the doctrines and dogma of organized religions. I had a narrow view and little understanding – intellectual or experiential – of what spirituality meant. I was looking at outside definitions and concepts of it. I didn’t think it was personal. I didn’t know that ‘finding myself’ was, and is, a spiritual journey.
I had a big realization about my resistance to the label of spirituality after the intro to my conversation with Nichole East. She and I talked about our past views and current journeys toward what can be deemed ‘spiritual’. But ultimately, spirituality is a form of seeking to know ourselves better, and live with more joy and fulfillment.
My resistance to spirituality came from my impression that it’s demanded of me to worship without question. Worshipping something outside of myself that I couldn’t understand. That I couldn’t relate to. That seemed like it had control over me. That I had to submit to it without analytical thought or intellectual understanding. Blind faith. Do as you’re told …
But that never sat well with me. It never made sense. I couldn’t buy into the idea that an anthropomorphic, human-shaped being, or any of a number of human or animal shaped gods, were discriminating and passing down judgment on anything and everything. Did I have to be afraid of every move, every word? Always living with someone looking over my shoulder, ready to punish me if I didn’t behave well?
And then, what about other religions or belief systems? Why did some people interpret things differently than others? Why did some belief systems persist, others die out, and/or evolve? Who was right? What was the truth? No one could answer that. Because it’s all being interpreted and acted upon from the human perspective.
I question everything. It’s my nature. It’s also my nature to want to understand thoroughly so that I can explain it to others. It’s not a lack of faith, per se. It’s a matter of reason. And it’s also a matter of intuition and feeling. The answers to my questioning of religious faith didn’t pass my mental-reasoning test. I couldn’t make them make sense to me. And I refused to blindly accept those answers as truth when they also didn’t feel right.
FEEL THE BELIEF
The guidance that comes from feeling is so important to my concept and resistance to religion (and spirituality, which I tossed into the same bucket for a long time). I couldn’t accept the answers and explanations, the directives and rules. It all seemed so rigid. More importantly, my doubts and skepticism were corroborated by my intuition; my feeling body. It’s that subtle body, the inner guidance, the sensing that goes beyond the mind. When I say something didn’t sit right, I mean it didn’t feel right. In my gut, in my bones. This is intuition, and our higher self’s guidance system.
It took me a long time to come around to accepting myself as spiritual.
Yes, I practiced yoga. Yes, I even meditated. But I didn’t feel spiritual. I had to let go of the labels and the definitions. I had to let go of everything I resisted and start with a blank slate. Once I let go of all that, I found the understanding I was looking for. It had nothing to do with outside answers or the way anything had been labeled by others - institutional or systemic. It had everything to do with the expanded state of consciousness within. In my own body-mind-space. In me. I could read between the lines, behind the word, beyond the images. Everything opened up.
I realized that spirituality is not religion. It is not asceticism, austerity or sufferance. It isn’t defined by dogma, rites or rituals. It can be, and it certainly has been for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Rituals are an interesting aspect because they seem very pomp and circumstance, or esoteric when you get into candles, tarot, crystals, etc. but what I’ve come to understand about ritual is that beyond the objects or the motions, what it does is create stillness in the mind, spaciousness within the right brain, and focus with the left brain. Taking the mystical out of it, ritual helps us concentrate – and focus. And focus is a superpower. We all have it, but rarely use it because we’re so distracted most of the time.
MEANING AND RITUAL
Ritual is something I’ve been getting to know and appreciate since 2015 when, against all of my own skeptical reasoning, I joined a mystery school called Urban Priestess. Never in a million years would I have predicted that. But this wasn’t priestess training the way I understood priesthood – through my Catholic upbringing. It was more aligned to earth-based ‘pagan’ ways. Witchy ways! But so much more.
In these years, what I’ve learned and opened-to is a ton of information about myself – as a woman in touch with every part of herself. Especially as it relates to living in more alignment with cycles of the moon, the earth, astrology and kindling an innate fascination and joy of crystals, candles, tarot, astrology and oracles. I hold moon circles, write about goddesses, and I tap into higher consciousness through my daily meditation and sadhana practice, divination, sacred rituals, and journeying.
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung
I credit this path of self-understanding via the ancient and near-forgotten ways with helping me fully appreciate and activate my divine feminine power. I’ve expanded my learning into even more earth-based approaches including shamanism, energy work and healing, delved deeper into eastern philosophies and sciences, and doubled-down on western sciences and psychology, especially depth psychology and Carl Jung’s work.
All of this has helped me further develop my intuition, which brought me closer to my Soul and to living in alignment with a sense of purpose and inner divinity. It’s also helped me with all my relationships and the experience of life – everything from career, to money, to love, and to success. I know who I am, deeply. And the deeper I go, the more meaningful my life becomes.
THE SEARCH FOR INNER MEANING
As I understand it for myself now, spirituality is the search for inner meaning, for personal development, and for a beautiful and fulfilling life. And all of this - all of my writing, my thoughts, my musings, are what I personally believe, and am exploring. An exploration that shifts, flows and changes as I learn and grow and evolve. I’m not here to tell anyone what they ‘should’ do, believe, think act or say. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to share and to express.
To me, spirituality is finding the connection to our Higher Self, our Soul, God-Creator-I AM-Oneness-Universe-Source-Field, etc. (whatever it is named) and letting it lead instead of letting our lives by directed by the ego.
Spirituality is about self-love and self-realization. Because that’s where ‘god’ is. We are that which created everything. We are inextricably connected. We are not separate. That’s an illusion of thought. Even quantum physics has proven that we are more space than matter, and that we are made of energy.
Everything in the universe is made of the same energy. And it all flows back to the same source.
The belief that we are separate creates our suffering; our sense of being alone, of loss, of superiority or inferiority, of scarcity and so much more. It’s all, quite literally created and perpetuated by the ego and the mind like a smoke and mirrors trick. And, our purpose is to figure that out, to get the mind out of the way, to peel off layers of fear-inducing ego, and to thrive in joy!
So, the sense of meaning – and of seeking more – is our search for inner truth. Our search for ‘spirit’, which has all those names, but could be described as that which is not physical. That which is inside. That which we feel. That which we sense. That which drives us.
Spiritual seeking has many forms and most importantly, it is a personal journey. That’s the key. It’s completely personal because it’s the reinforcement of a relationship with ourselves. It’s a lifelong practice of self-mastery and self-realization.
Becoming and being all that we are meant to be. At our core, we are spiritual beings. We are living a human existence. We each have a destiny and a purpose – both for ourselves personally as well as for the way we contribute to the World. Our destiny and purpose is expressed in the way we choose to live our lives, make decisions, face challenges, and seek truth.
We can choose what we want to believe
I’m not here to tell anyone what to believe. But I know what I know, now. It’s beyond the need to believe. I don’t need words, I don’t need answers. I don’t need outside opinion or validation. I don’t need consensus or confirmation. I need only to check in with myself and trust that inner knowing. And it’s truly the most empowering thing I’ve ever experienced.
We always have a choice.
That’s the power we have as individuals with free will. There is destiny and there is fate, but we have a choice in it, always. So, what will we, as sovereign beings, choose?
We choose fulfillment, not renunciation. We choose the joyful path of the heart and soul, not the path of suffering caused by a biologically-inclined negativity bias. We are either victims of life or victors over our own limitations. We are either at the mercy of the ego, or we are masters of our mind.
We can stop believing that it’s weird or unsafe to be spiritual.
We can stop believing we can’t be spiritual and thrive in the life we are living. We’re not destined to have either a spiritual life or a material life with dire consequences to the one we toss aside. You don’t have to give up your life. You don’t have to give up anything. Except for the ego’s lies. Except for the limiting beliefs. Except for the shackles of shame and the bondage of pride.
We’re not all going to ditch our responsibilities, relationships and lives to go off the grid or live in a monastery. This was part of my misunderstanding of spirituality. I thought that being spiritual didn’t ‘fit’ in the workplace, my social circles, and basically my entire external life because of my own resistance to the word. Meanwhile, I was practicing and learning many things that were all taking me to the same place that more formal spiritual traditions led people. It took me inside myself. It took me beyond my thoughts. It took me past my conditioning. It took me to a level of questioning that dissolved the answers and the questions. And left only truth. And empowerment.
WE ARE NOT BROKEN
A spiritual path is the pursuit of self-knowledge, which is very different than trying to figure out what’s wrong with you. We are not broken. We don’t need fixing. We don’t even need healing. We need to find who we really are and live in alignment with that truth. We need to put the ego in its place and lead with our Souls.
We’re meant to have both a deep connection to our inner guide, spirit and Soul, and a full, abundant, happy, prosperous and healthy life. Realistically, without bypassing either our spiritual nature or our human nature. Without opting only for the good stuff and pretending we don’t see the bad stuff that needs our loving attention.
This means we’re allowed to be human. We’re supposed to be human! Being human, means we will have a full spectrum of experiences including the ones that feel like bliss, and the ones that hurt. It means feeling every emotion – good or bad – and it means accepting every part of ourselves, every aspect, all the fragments and even all the parts of ourselves we try to hide.
It means being multidimensional. It means being in our bodies. It means learning how to balance the spiritual with the physical, channeling divine, cosmic energy through our bodies and into the world through our creative expression. It means understanding that life is offering lessons to strengthen the Soul, to lead us inward to the source of the meaning in everything that happens, and the meaning of this life.
It’s our collective destiny to embody divinity. To be embodied consciousness. To be conscious creators of our entire life experience. To be whole. To accept our lives as they are and do what we can to choose happiness. To choose to become accountable for the life we experience, and to change our decisions so that experience of life is closer to what feels amazing, rather than what we want to escape.
We don’t have to suffer. We can choose differently.
I’ve discovered a new way of relating to life by establishing, nurturing and honoring a deep commitment to a relationship to my Soul. A relationship with myself, first and foremost. A relationship of trust, faith and surrender of the mind’s need to control and the ego’s need for validation. I’ve learned many ways to work with my mind, my heart and my Soul. I’ve come to appreciate the mystery of the energetic force underlying all things. The Divine. Soul Force. Spirit. The Universe. The Field. God. No matter what we call it, it’s there, it’s real and it is who we are. We are that. We don’t need to look for it anywhere else. We’re it.
Like everything else, the answers – and the truth – are within.