When Spirituality Turns Into Another Self-defeating Story

Lately, I have been questioning my approach to growth and self-actualization. Although the idea of life being a swamp of pain, we have to wade to reach the shore of enlightenment does not make any sense to me, I have lived as such! I have invested more than half a century in questing for spiritual growth. 

Expansion, Expression, Connection, Beauty, and Freedom are my top core longings. Why then does my life’s current picture feel far from reflecting these no matter how much time and effort I put in?

Like many, I was the weird kid who did not fit in and enrolled herself in a precocious exploration of her horror and wounded stories. Therapy, retreats, courses, workshops, reading an unbelievable number of self-help books…I tried it all.

After learning about, experiencing, suffering, and working diligently on myself, how can it be that I cannot break the grade retention loop?

Today, I got it

It struck me that I have not failed to graduate. I have been graduating on Suffering and Struggle with honors and getting awards for best research on accumulating proofs of victimization for years! 

My solution has run on the same track as my “problem,” and under the umbrella of spiritual growth and awareness, I have been feeding the shadow instead of the light in me. 

By thinking “I must rise above my beliefs, stories, and emotions” I have spent a ridiculous amount of time every day “cleansing” myself so one day —in the future— I shall be able to “replace” the wretched me or mini “Me’s” with an updated and optimized version.

It’s a never-ending task! When I think I’m done peeling my narrative onion, the smell replies with a snort: You’re not!

Approaching our Soul through the rational mind pushes it further away

Photo by Pixabay

I always shied away from selfies because for me the static copy is unconsciously trying to “hold onto something” while filtering its content with past ideas and judgments. The image feels like a secondhand “telling” that doesn’t carry the original energy. When I am in a space that inspires awe and wonder, I am deeply moved and want to impress those states of being in my heart. I want to become one with them.  

Like the photo is not the landscape, the wisdom of the soul is not a mental construct. The authentic landscape and its reflection are different dimensions of experience. The language of the soul needs to bypass the mind to be able to reach us untouched by assumptions, beliefs, and perceptions that work as intermediaries to divine love and the power within.

As an artist, I understand the enormous value of co-creating beauty to nurture the soul and expand our spiritual landscape. However, the openness to be touched by the intimacy and power of something speaking symbolically, requires stillness. This is unfathomable for the mind.

Beware of the Trap

In my quest to become my true self, I have allowed my inner landscapes to be consumed by weeds, some sprouting from old seeds anchored in the past and others infected with the bugs of perfect pollination for a better future. These weeds have been obstructing the beauty and wholeness that already exists there.

I struggled with the subtle difference between deep exploration and attachment to ideas or methods. Learning and appreciating a tool can help me grow. However, unless I let go of the fundamental belief that I am broken and just need to find the right tool to wield my power, I end up stagnating my growth and feeling hopeless.

Not trusting the voice of intuition and its guidance

The qualities of the soul —love, freedom, inner peace, fulfillment, joy, i.e.—cannot be experienced through the mind; they need to be owned. We need to detach ourselves from our identification with thoughts, feelings, and separation, to become love, peace, joy… These are states of being, not destinations. 

Reading books, attending workshops and seminars, and going to retreats do support our spiritual paths as long as we do not become dependent on external answers for fulfillment or obsessed with someone else’s idea of spiritual fulfillment. I disowned my divinity by making the “quest” an unconscious way to keep my story of brokenness alive. 

Giving preeminence to the Dark Night of the soul

Photo by Lennart Wittstock

We all experience Darks Night of The Soul. I have come to realize they are more nudges to bring the inner light forward, than tests to be passed.

Reflecting on some pitfalls of my spiritual journey, I noticed these patterns: 

1. Seeking out second-hand experiences and making them more important than mine.

2. Recreating over and over the “not being good enough” belief by investing an incredible amount of time trying to “fix and heal” all the wrongs in me so I could “apply” for happiness, love, and ultimately for existence… in the future.

3. Invalidating my experience by considering it small because it did not have the grandiosity of Near-Death Experiences, Angel Visitations, and the like.

4. Trying to bring magic into my life by uprooting “something”—an identity? —responsible for blocking the more deserving me, instead of noticing the wonder and beauty in everyday miracles, exercising my inner power, and enjoying the effortless emergence of creativity life has blessed me with.

You are not your shortcomings! Stop fixing!

It seems completely illogical to me to see life as an eternal hell served in bits until one accumulates enough brownie points to enter Heaven. A lot of time, tons of effort, and struggle has already gone into “washing the unforgivable sin” of not being perfect.

The soul feeds on aliveness and zest for life. We learn from our challenges, they provide the contrast to understand our longings, but when we get stuck or turn them into an identity, we self-sabotage.

Divine guidance nudges us to move on, to dare to live beautifully. Thus…

 As much as it scares me, I am giving myself no more than an hour a day to explore whatever “getting to know the true me” means. I choose to own that my higher self-identity is not something I need to “work for” but embrace (already got the jitters).

Exploring my gifts and contributions from a place of “I can, I am worthy, what I have to give matters” is the new trend (jitters again).

Alchemy begins in us!

Photo by Pixabay

Dismissing our authentic nature to comply with what society expects from us has become an emotional cancer in our times. We don’t know our worth and find it difficult to distinguish how and what we feel, what we truly want, never mind how to ask for it.  

  1. I am committed to loving myself and embracing my divine spark instead of allowing other people’s opinions to determine my identity or decide what a calling looks like.
  2. My inner light was dimmed to an impossible flicker to avoid disturbing was accepted. No more! From now on, let it shine baby!
  3. Belonging and socializing are two different things. Who befriends me, embraces the whole, the light and dark side of my humanness and the eternal spark.

Is from a sense of completeness, the space where a Higher Intelligence and my soul are one, I can connect genuinely and express myself. Is from there too, I acknowledge and rejoice in the wholeness and beauty of another soul.

Tastes like purpose…

My life has taken a turn into unexpected waters. Through time and experience, tangible expressions of creative pursuits have become more abstract, and more poetic. My “professional” presence and voice have moved into envisioning things that cannot be explained or described easily. I feel pushed into sketching mystical, metaphorical maps of existence. And it frightens me.

We are on the verge of a big change in collective consciousness, and it is “normal,” even expected, to see both, an eclectic offering pulling the world in different directions and resistance to change.

Even though the question —who are you to embark on such pursuits? — haunts me sometimes, a calling is a calling no matter how strange or out of place it might seem. If I look back, I can see the breadcrumbs scattered by an invisible and loving hand asking me to trust it.

I choose to say yes and move with an intention as pure as the beauty I see and seek to bring about.

I am not alone in pioneering the rebirth of a way of living and being that embraces wholeness and connectedness.  

May the Spring of the Soul take us far and beyond into the unlimited potential longing to be freed and shape the world of dreams we all deserve. 

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