Who is more aligned with their path of spiritual evolution?
A person sitting in the lotus position, breathing deeply and with perfect calm?
Or someone curled up in a ball, crying hysterically?
If we base our answer on all that we have learned from “new age” philosophies and most spiritual teachings, we think it is fair to say that the meditator wins.
He/she seems peaceful, at ease and detached. Now, we are not going to “shock” you and say the opposite is true. But we would say that this is just an image.
Even the most peaceful, composed and “spiritually correct” person in the world can be completely misaligned with himself, more so than someone who is not at all spiritual. How come? Well… because of our tendency to be dishonest with ourselves.
We say it from experience: no amount of sophisticated spiritual jargon could help my development more than an honest look at my raw and vulnerable self.
We do not mean to say that all spiritual people are mistaken. These are simple traps that we have noticed and which are common in the spiritual community.
8 ways that spiritual people are fooling themselves:
1. “I have to feel good and positive all the time”:
Translation: I am afraid of feeling pain.
This belief is quite common in the “positive thinking” community. Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking positively, but using the power of thought to mask any apparent negative emotion is one of the biggest obstacles to our spiritual growth.
Why? Because what our souls really want is to become whole again. And that means reconnecting to all of the fragmented aspects of ourselves (fears, negative beliefs, past emotional trauma) from which we dissociated so that we can recognize and transform them.
This will NOT happen if we avoid and delete them continuously. This will not happen if we perceive them as enemies and invaders.
The truth is that every painful emotion that surfaces in our lives is like a child in distress. When we suppress them, it is as if we voluntarily lock this child in a room, forcing him to suffer a trauma alone and behind closed doors while we look the other way. In other words, it is self-abuse.
“The thing about pain is it needs to be felt. ”
~ John Green
It takes courage to be completely emotionally honest with ourselves. It means immersing ourselves directly in the very emotions that we have spent our lives protecting us from feeling again.
But once you allow yourself to feel and release what’s stored inside of you, you’re basically letting your brain and body know that it’s safe to feel now, that you’re 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 move on to better things.
It can be helpful to have a friend or pet holding space for you while you release the emotion, as it is important to feel safe. You will find that when you get into the habit of feeling and releasing the emotional charges that are stuck in your body, the lightness you will feel will be worth it more than all the efforts made to avoid and remove it!
If there was really something wrong with feeling all the ranges of emotions… your soul would not have chosen to incarnate in a body capable of feeling all of them!
2. “I behave spiritually, so I am growing spiritually”:
Translation: I am really scared and confused. I will, therefore, continue to repeat “love n ‘light!”
Many spiritual people believe that “spiritual” behavior is all that is necessary to be on the “spiritual” path; that if you say loving words, follow spiritual principles and act like Jesus, you are pretty much enlightened.
Well… let me say that the most emotionally and negatively hurt people I have ever encountered had a very strong spiritual ethic and personality. I know because I am one of them.
Spiritual people often fall into the trap of using their understanding of spiritual concepts to feel above emotion and duality. It goes against the purpose of our soul, which is to learn about emotions and duality through our own felt experience – not just through theory!
“Spiritual bypassing: a term coined for the first time by author John Welwood. Spiritual bypassing is the tendency to jump into the mind prematurely, usually in an effort to avoid various aspects of earthly reality (practical challenges, unresolved emotions, and memories). The derivation has many symptoms – the starry-eye bliss trip, the radical detachment from self-identification, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behavior, wish-full thinking, etc. ”
~ Jeff Brown
There are a purpose and a lesson behind every emotion and feeling, and just adjusting and focusing on our behavior prematurely takes us away from our greatest learning.
3. “I use self-conviction to make myself feel I’m on the right path:”
Translation: I prefer to live through safe stories that I tell myself rather than trusting my intuition.
Have you ever outdone yourself with big speeches and statements about why something is right (or wrong) for you, be it a “twin flame”, a job, or a New Year’s resolution?
Now, that doesn’t mean it has to be bad for you, just like that doesn’t mean it has to be right. It just means that using self-belief is a process of mental rationalization, not intuition.
When we do this, we are much more likely to fool ourselves into something that does not correspond to our true selves. It doesn’t matter, because following a choice that is not aligned will ultimately teach us that it is better to trust and be honest with our intuition and our feelings – a lesson that is generally learned once our illusion has failed.
Many times I have convinced myself of things to make myself “feel good” about a decision or a situation despite a persistent suspicion that something is wrong. And many times, I did not care! So now I’m doing my best to follow my intuition instead of getting lost in my mind. The best part is that when we stop fooling ourselves, we automatically become more honest with others. This guarantees more fulfilling relationships and the dissolution of false ones!
“Our lives only get better when we take risks 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 to a choice that would make us face a difficult fear or emotion, this is precisely why we often rationalize ourselves so as not to make the leap of faith. This is why following our intuition often requires courage. Although I promise you … the maturity, wisdom, alignment, and freedom gained by following it are always worth it!
“You get your intuition back when you make room for it, when you stop chatting with the rational mind.”
~ Anne Lamott
4. “I preach when I feel on the top of my game but blame when triggered”:
Translation: I have problems.
We really have to get off our high horses, or maybe I should say our “spiritual unicorns”. Sure, preaching can make us look wise and majestic for a while, but at what cost? At the cost of not really evolving.
It prevents us from really growing and maturing from the inside. Now, that does not mean that we cannot offer precious wisdom even if we are still dealing with personal issues. But we should not wear our wisdom like a badge, only to resist growth when it is our turn to feel vulnerable.
We should actually adopt it when our foundation is shaken. Many of us think we have to fight to stay on our comfortable throne, but there are little expansion and joy. True expansion and joy occur when we embrace the fact that our vulnerability connects us all.
We are all human and we are all vulnerable. Imagine how warm, compassionate and friendly this world would be if we weren’t so busy hiding, suppressing and being ashamed of the things we all learn and experience! In such a reality, anyone who acts in a moralizing manner and denies their own vulnerability would, in fact, be the strange ones.
Being transparent is scary, I know. But the right people will LOVE you for being real. It’s always the wrong people who love you for your image.
5. “I use spiritual perspectives to bypass human emotions”:
This is a key one.
Translation: I want to reach my destination quickly and without being hurt. I resist and devalue the trip towards it.
This is something that I did a little bit and with the best of intention. Of course, I want to remember that everything happens for a reason when I feel hurt and heartbroken after a hard breakup. Of course, I want to remember that every soul is made of love when I think I shouldn’t feel angry at someone who betrayed me.
But it is a HUGE problem in the spiritual community: the belief in shoulds and shouldn’ts when it comes to emotions. The belief that anger, fear and grief are not as much a part of our spiritual progress as feelings of love and transcendence.
The fact is that we are really heading into a state of consciousness where we can feel the beauty and value of each challenge and each soul. But each of the emotions that arise along the way contains a valuable lesson designed to bring us closer to this state.
“Anger is a river. It wants to be released into the larger ocean. It wants to move naturally. When we repress it with premature forgiveness, block it with false positivity, repress it in the name of pseudo-peace, we limit our natural flow. The river then turns inward, against itself, or explodes outward, against innocent people. It is better to express it when it is in our consciousness – not in a way that is destructive to humanity – but in an authentic way that restores the integrity of our being. Anger is not the enemy. Misplaced anger is. Let the river flow … ”
~ Jeff Brown
The truth is that anger, fear, and grief can be great catalysts for change and transformation when adopted. For example, anger is a very powerful energy to get you moving and eliminate clutter in your life, whether it be toxic people, situations or limiting beliefs. It doesn’t have to be destructive or avenging; it is a fire that should be used to fuel positive action. Once you have made the appropriate changes, you no longer need them and you can switch to a higher vibration.
Fear is also a precious emotion. This tells you another layer of your being that needs to be peeled so that you can enjoy more freedom. It shows you where your growth is. Grief plunges us into our deepest wounds of separation so that we can find ourselves. It has the power to shatter our illusions and reconnect us with what really matters.
So go ahead and feel everything! You are not alone in this area.
“Real shadow work does not leave us intact; it is not a clean and tidy process, but rather an inherently disordered process, as vital and unpredictable as birth. The ass it hits is the one we’re sitting on; the pain it raises is the pain that we have fled from for most of our lives; the psycho-emotional ruptures it catalyzes are the precursors of extremely relevant breakthroughs; the doors it opens are doors that have been revealed year after year in our dreams, waiting for our entry. Real shadow work not only breaks us down but opens us up. ”
~ Sera Beak, Red Hot and Holy
6. “I can talk or read about spiritual growth all day and avoid using my life as my teacher”:
It’s a bit like reading a bunch of video game strategy guides but never playing. The real fun, leveling up and progression happen when you play it!
Many spiritual people understand the mechanisms of personal and spiritual growth like the backs of their hands. I am fairly knowledgeable about it myself.
I know that we are creating our own reality, that life is literally a reflection of the thoughts, emotions, and energy that we emit, and I even know the science behind it. It is therefore quite ironic that I still sometimes manage to withdraw from this equation.
I sometimes consider myself a victim of circumstances and I slip into a passive attitude towards my life, ignoring my own advice and clues to move forward. It usually happens when I forget that my life itself IS my goal and reflects what is necessary for me to evolve.
Our lives are meant to be lived, our feelings are to be felt and our challenges are to be learned from. All of our experiences – internal and external – are like quests in a video game, designed to take us to the next level. So let’s play!
“If we can live life consciously and authentically – by understanding that things don’t happen to us, but rather for us – we can use everything in our lives to our advantage. We can locate all the barriers that prevent us from beauty, love, abundance, intimacy, joy and good health. ”
~ Erin Lanahan
7. “I found the truth. Let me stick to that and shut down every other path”:
Translation: I forget that I am a unique, fluid and constantly evolving being on a unique, fluid and constantly evolving path that adapts to what I need to learn at any given time.
What we need at one stage of our life may be completely different from what we need at another. What feels good one day may not feel good the next. And there is a reason for this. We are unique and multi-layered beings.
Sometimes we reach layers that require us to learn engagement and goal setting. Other times, we hit layers that force us to learn flexibility and “keep pace”. At some point, we may need to learn compassion and gentleness, while at another time, we may need to learn firmness and resolve.
The problem is when we become fixated on ideals rather than listening to our intuition (similar to what we talked about in number 3). Our courses and lessons adapt to what is best and most important for our evolution.
When we are stuck in our minds and adopt a fixed spiritual ideal, we miss the real clues that our feelings, our intuition and our life experiences whisper to us.
As much as the truth may very well be that we are all a single consciousness that is lived subjectively and that we are a means for the universe to know itself… well, it seems that the universe wants to know itself through perspectives and very UNIQUE ways.
We are not supposed to live in sync and move in the same way, think the same thing and feel the same thing. We are here to complement each other, just as a puzzle requires unique pieces to create a beautiful image.
Recommended: 6 Things that You Lose When You Awaken Spiritually.
8. “I am very spiritual, but often forget treating others like I’d like to be treated”:
Translation: I have skipped the most basic but most important step in my own spiritual growth, which is the expression of love.
It may sound cliché, but Jesus was right. It doesn’t matter that you have read all the books or mastered all of your spiritual abilities; if you keep all this wonderful love, generosity, care and compassion locked up in a small cellar in your heart … you have missed the point of your spiritual growth.
You always operate out of fear and must remove any obstacle that prevents you from accessing the loving being that you are. The world needs you!
I once met someone who ignored the importance of love because he thought it was too cliché and cookie-cutter approach to spirituality. What I would say to this person today is that, no matter how different and unique each flower in a garden is, you wouldn’t want to water any of them with poison.
You would ideally use the purest water to see them thrive and beautify the environment in their own way. The same goes for human beings. If there is a universal law that applies to all of us, I believe it is that we thrive better in the vibration of love. If we can all strive to become more loving, compassionate and authentic versions of ourselves, what a wonderful world it would be!
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and his feelings as something separate from the rest, a sort of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, limiting us to our personal desires and the affection of a few people closest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and all nature in its beauty. ”
~ Albert Einstein
I hope these perspectives have helped you as much as they have helped me! Let us take the example and help rid the spiritual community of pretenses by being the most real that we can be with ourselves and with others.
It is in our vulnerability and our openness that we build the deepest and most intimate relationships. It is by feeling what we need to feel that we are growing. It is by being authentic that we attract and create a reality that really suits us.
And it is by being love, that we create a more loving world!