The world, it seems, is in the midst of revolution. The numbers of people waking up and seeking truth and breaking the shackles of repression, both on a personal and societal level, are rising daily. Never has the word “Spirituality” been uttered so frequently and it appears that everyone I meet is on a path to obtain self realisation in one manner or another. So many avenues to take, so many faiths and belief systems to choose from; one can get quite confused by the masses of information we can find on spirituality and obtaining self awareness.
But what is it we really seek from this elusive spirituality? Is it a means to obtaining the supreme health of body and mind? Is it the latest trend and all the cool people are doing it? Or maybe you’re not sure, but something inside you is calling you to a place that seems familiar and comfortable.
It is human nature to want to understand and justify everything. We must be able to understand in order to feel safe and accepting towards the interactions and events we experience. There must be a set of instructions to follow to make sure we get it right. But while following those set of rules we become unaware of whether it feels right for us or not. We just do it because we are told we must. We are told this is the correct way for everyone. We do it out of fear not out of desire for wholeness. For the majority of us, we must be able to see, touch, feel and experience everything tangibly for it to be reality and we must see lots of other humans do it too. We feel safe in numbers.
But what if our concept of touching, feeling and seeing is all screwed up. We each have an innate ability to experience things on another level that we have forgotten. We have demoted ourselves to the physical experience and forgotten that we are so much more. So distracted are we by the shininess of what we perceive with our five senses that our awareness of our other powerful gifts have been smothered. Perhaps the revolutionary process we are experiencing is our awakening and remembering of this truth.
Spirituality for me is first and foremost about trust. Trust in what I cannot always see or hear or touch, but what I most definitely experience. Indeed it is a remembering of who I really am as opposed to obtaining something. I remember when I trusted instinct, gut feeling, The Goddess – call it what you want. It came in the form of childlike wonder. It came in the form of feeling a part of instead of apart from. It came in the form of feeling complete safety playing in the midst of a huge forest even though I was little and alone. It came in the form of talking to something that I knew was there and loved me, but had no single physical form – It was just everywhere. And each of us that are born have that trust and complete confidence in our being and our Creator. It was there before the perceived physical responsibilities of life captured us in its huge net. The more we struggled against it the tighter it held us.
I remember a time when I was fully aware, fully conscious and fully alive. However, being made to conform to another’s way of thinking and believing made me distrustful of myself, my soul and my truth. I became afraid to be alive. And that, I believe, is the real problem with our human existence. We are afraid, not of death, but of really allowing ourselves to express who we are and therefore we resist real living. We resist the true essence of spirituality. It says in the bible that God made us in his own likeness – but not in a bodily sense as it is often misinterpreted– but in a soul and spiritual sense. Therefore we are not apart from but part of the Great Spirit whatever you choose to call it.
Don Miguel Ruiz talks about it in his book, The Four Agreements, based on Toltec spiritualist and neoshamanistic texts. He says: “We are so well trained that we are our own domesticator. We are an autodomesticated animal. We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same belief system we were given, and using the same system of punishment and reward. We punish ourselves when we don’t follow the rules according to our belief system; we reward ourselves when we are the “good boy” or “good girl”. “
The word spiritual can be defined as having no body or substance. But that definition and indeed the word itself is a human creation and perception. In my opinion the expression of words cannot capture this state of being. Perhaps trying to define the word or what the essence of being spiritual means just puts it into another box and therefore becomes not about freedom but more about continuing to suppress. Spirituality can only be experienced on a personal level. There is no right or wrong way to be. There is just your way.
Paramahansa Yogananda tells us in Autobigoraphy of a Yogi that “You do not have to struggle to reach God, but you do have to struggle to tear away the self-created veil that hides him from you”. For me that means remembering what my original state of being was before the illusion of separateness took over me. To remove that veil I use practices from many different philosophies. Things that feel right for me and that I can feel nourish me. The most important practice is remembering and awakening the Divine Feminine that resides inside me at all times. I realise that each one of us is spirit and that everything around me is impermanent. It is a dream. A karmic learning that teaches my soul – the only real and permanent part of you or I or anything.
A version of this originally appeared in Spirituality Ireland