Who is more aligned with their path of spiritual evolution?
- A person sitting in a lotus position, taking deep breaths and in perfect composure?
- Or a person curled up in a ball, crying hysterically?
If we base our answer on everything we have learned from “new age” philosophies and most spiritual teachings out there, I think it’s fair to say that the person meditating wins.
He/she appears peaceful, at ease, and detached. Now I’m not about to “shock” you and say that the opposite is true. But I would argue that this image is just that: an image.
This is why:
Even the most peaceful, composed, and “spiritually correct” person in the world can be completely out of alignment with themselves, even more than someone who isn’t into spirituality at all. How come? Well… because of our tendency to be dishonest with ourselves.
I say this from experience: no amount of sophisticated spiritual jargon has been able to aid my evolution more than an honest look at my raw, vulnerable self.
P.S. I don’t mean to say that all spiritual people fool themselves. These are simply traps that I have noticed are common in the spiritual community, and which I myself have fallen for on occasion.
HERE ARE 8 WAYS SPIRITUAL PEOPLE CAN FOOL THEMSELVES:
1. I Have To Feel Good And Stay Positive All The Time
Translation: I’m terrified of feeling pain.
This belief is quite common among the “positive thinking” community. Now there is nothing wrong with thinking positively, but using the power of thought to gloss over any surfacing negative emotions is one of the biggest blocks to our spiritual growth.
Why? Because what our souls actually desire is to become whole again. And this means reconnecting with all the fragmented aspects of ourselves (fears, negative beliefs, past emotional traumas) we have dissociated from so that we may acknowledge and transform them.
Newsflash: That’s NOT going to happen if we continually avoid and suppress them. It’s not going to happen if we perceive them as enemies and invaders.
The truth is, each and every painful emotion that is surfacing in our lives is like a child in distress. When we repress them, it is as if we purposely lock this child self into a room, forcing it to relive a trauma alone and behind closed doors while we look the other way. In other words, it is self-abuse.
“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
– John Green
Being completely emotionally honest with ourselves takes bravery. It means putting ourselves right into the very emotions we have spent our lives shielding ourselves from feeling again.
But once you allow yourself to feel and release what is stored inside of you, you are basically letting your brain and body know that it is now safe to feel, that you are no longer in the scary situation that created the trauma in the first place, and that you are now ready to learn from it and and move on to better things.
It can help to have a friend or an animal holding space for you while you release emotion, because it is important to feel safe. You will find that when you make it a habit to feel and release the emotional charges that are stuck in your body, the lightness you will feel will be more worth it than all the effort put into avoiding and suppressing!
P.S. If there were really something wrong about feeling all ranges of emotions… your soul wouldn’t have chosen to incarnate in a body capable of feeling them all!
2. I Behave Spiritually, Therefore I Am Growing Spiritually!
Translation: I’m really just scared and confused. So I’ll keep repeating “love n’ light!”
Many spiritual people believe that a “spiritual” behavior is all that is required to be on the “spiritual” path; that if you say loving words, follow spiritual principles, and act like Jesus, you’re pretty much enlightened.
Well… let me just say that the most emotionally wounded and ‘in-denial-about-it’ people I have ever met had a very strong spiritual ethic and personality. I know because I have been one of them.
Spiritual people often fall into the trap of using their understanding of spiritual concepts to feel like they are above emotions and duality. This defeats the whole purpose of our soul, which is to learn from emotions and duality through our own felt experience — not just through theory!
“Spiritual Bypassing: A term first coined by author John Welwood. The spiritual bypass is the tendency to jump to spirit prematurely, usually in an effort to avoid various aspects of earthly reality (practical challenges, unresolved emotions and memories). The bypass has many symptoms – the starry-eyed bliss trip, radical detachment from one’s self-identifications, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behaviors, wish-full thinking etc.”
– Jeff Brown
There is a purpose and lesson behind every emotion and feeling, and simply adjusting and focusing on our behavior prematurely is pulling us away from where our greatest learning is.
3. I Use Self-Conviction To Make Me Feel Like I’m On The Right Path
Translation: I’d rather live through the safe stories I tell myself than trust my intuition.
Have you ever noticed yourself going overkill with grand speeches and declarations of why something is right (or wrong) for you, whether it be a “twin flame,” a job, or a new year’s resolution?
Now that doesn’t mean it must necessarily be wrong for you, just like it doesn’t mean it must be right. It just means that using self-conviction is a process of mental rationalization, not of intuition.
When we do this, we are much more likely to fool ourselves into something that doesn’t align with our true self. No big deal though, because following through on a choice that is out of alignment will eventually teach us that we are better off trusting and being honest with our intuition and feelings — a lesson that usually gets learned once our illusion crashes.
Many times, I have convinced myself of things to make me feel “good” about a decision or situation despite a nagging suspicion that something isn’t right. And many times, I have screwed myself! So now, I do my best to follow my intuition instead of getting lost in my mind. The best part is, when we stop fooling ourselves, we automatically become more honest with others. This guarantees more fulfilling relationships and the dissolution of fake ones!
“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”
– Walter Anderson
The tricky part is that sometimes, our intuition leads us directly toward a choice that would make us face a fear or difficult emotion, which is precisely why we often rationalize ourselves out of taking the leap of faith. That’s why following our intuition often requires courage. Although I promise you… the maturity, wisdom, alignment, and freedom gained from following it is always worth it in the end!
“You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind.”
– Anne Lamott
4. I Preach When I Feel On Top Of My Game, But Blame When Triggered
Translation: I’ve got Issues.
We reaaaaaally need to get off our high horses, or perhaps I should say, our “spiritual unicorns.” Sure, preaching may make us look wise and majestic for a while, but at what cost? At the cost of not ACTUALLY evolving.
It prevents us from truly growing and maturing from the inside out. Now it doesn’t mean we can’t offer valuable wisdom even if we still deal with personal issues. But we shouldn’t wear our wise insights like a badge, only to resist growth when it’s our turn to feel vulnerable.
We should actually embrace it when our foundation gets shaken. Many of us think we must fight to stay on our comfortable throne, yet little expansion and joy exists there. True expansion and joy happens when we embrace the fact that our vulnerability connects us all.
We’re all human, and we’re all vulnerable. Imagine how warm, compassionate, and friendly this world would be if we weren’t so busy hiding, suppressing, and feeling shame for the things we all learn and experience! In such a reality, anyone acting preachy and denying their own vulnerability would actually be the odd ones.
Being transparent is scary, I know. But the RIGHT people will LOVE you for being real, for being you. It’s always the wrong people that love you for your image.