The world is full of spiritual and self help wonders these days. We are lucky to live at a day and age where most of us are free to explore or not explore any kind of spiritual or personal development path we choose. It’s wonderful that many are encouraged and inspired to discover hidden talents, depths and qualities about themselves and choose to walk on the bright side of life.
But there’s often also a hidden agenda invisible to the eye and to many of the seekers:
In our quest of developing as spiritual beings it’s easy to get hung up with the image of a perfect person.
I often hold events called Grounded Spirituality evenings, and as a first exercise usually ask participants to describe what a spiritual person is like. As a result we are looking at a verbal image of a perfect, calm, balanced, kind, positive, peaceful, inspring, free, healthy and intuitive human being who is at perfect physical health and only eats raw food, or at least is vegan. This ethereal being exudes happiness and wisdom wherever s/he goes and is just, well, supported by the Universe. Geddit?
Realistic? No. Someone to get inspired by? Not sure about that either. When I ask participants how they feel about this imaginary perfect human being, only a few say they feel inspired. Most, however, say they feel like this kind of person would just highlight their own shortcomings. We all have our reasons, but perhaps this is where the seed of feel good addiction lives. In our attempt to avoid facing the depths of our human condition we get fixated on a well-marketed and perfectly branded idea of what we should feel, be, behave, think and live like. We start seeing human emotions and ebbs and flows of life as ‘bad’ instead of accepting them as a natural part of our existence.
Of course at best a real transformation will start occurring and we start to find things out for ourselves. We will find ourselves waking up, discovering new things about ourselves, forgiving, forgetting, letting go and all that. We become more authentic, kind, sometimes harsh, more aware of our needs and less needy. We have healthy boundaries, not barriers. We change jobs and our lives, or sometimes just figure out our lives are ok as they are.
Ultimately we may just arrive at a realisation (and I’m not talking about intellectually grasping a concept but a true realisation that is beyond language) that this is all just an illusion and the real me or you is way beyond our persona, traumas, happiness or even dreams. Right now is always good, right now is all there is.
But sometimes we get stuck and start going from workshop to workshop, healer to healer, therapist to therapist in order to get the next fix of good vibes. We see what they’ve got and their lives look perfect. I know some people who have got into serious debt for travelling abroad to attend courses they cannot afford. As the pile of unpaid bills keeps rising they robotically repeat a mantra where they ‘live in an abundant Universe‘ and their ‘income is constantly increasing‘. It ain’t working.
I also know of some people who cannot make any decisions before consulting with their personal psychic, or whose psychological diet restrictions are so severe they either pack their own food to dinner parties or don’t eat out at all. I’m not talking about illness or allergies but about fixation around what’s ‘good for you’. I know people who are so sensitive to ‘vibes’ that they cannot spend any time around anyne they consider negative, or who use angel cards twenty times a day to get the guidance they want but don’t necessarily need.
Sure, we live in a free world but there’s certainly something curious happening when the concepts that talk about unity, love and light make some of us disconnect from life. Then we end up living in a spiritual goldfish bowl where our futile attempts to step away from the ego becomes the biggest, most self-indulgent ego trip of them all. Ouch. I remember the time when I was so holy I my feet barely touched the ground. My friendships must be strong for having survived that period – it was important, yes, but I’m glad it’s over. Thank you, and sorry.
What went wrong? Of course there are as many stories as there are people. I am often reminded of the quote by Goethe:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
We cannot, must not, forget where we live. Until we get grounded and committed and learn to accept where we are now there can only ever be band-aids, not real healing. There’s no point running from one practitioner or course or book to another unless, at some point, the wisdom and tools we’ve gained start translating into real, everyday action. Yes, we live in an abundant Universe, but you might still have to cut your credit card in half. Yes, you may love yourself but do actually treat yourself the way you’d treat your beloved? There’s a lot of good in the modern spiritual offerings, but there certainly is a difference between compulsive shopping and saving up for something you truly want.
If we don’t at some point wean ourselves off from the self-help section at the bookstore we may just miss something important: That we all are wise and capable. Just let the dust settle, breathe and see for yourself.