Now Iâ€™m going to get to the point I originally wanted to make in my last post about spiritual growth stumbling blocks. In my last post I got on to another in the set up and left it at that. Sometimes less is more. To just get one insight or epiphany in a post is enough. Let it sink in and get the next nugget later. Too many ideas on one article and the mind gets saturated to a point where ideas donâ€™t go as deep. So that is what I mean by â€œless is more.â€
So the emotional issue that I want to expose came about in my conversation with Ellen as we were planning the Authentic Life weekend workshop in Zion National park.
I was talking with Ellen about handling emotions and guiding people through emotional processes. We havenâ€™t taught together so itâ€™s good that we clarify and understand how we go about things. I know Ellen from studying with don Miguel Ruiz. She spent several years in an advanced study program of life changing teaching with him. You donâ€™t go through that long a process and not pick up a lot of wisdom. On top of that she has been teaching body work and emotional release work for 20+ years. In spite of my respect for her personal journey we havenâ€™t talked much about teaching philosophy and process.
One of the reasons Iâ€™m looking forward to teaching with Ellen is that we have similar views on processing emotions. Perhaps it has a lot to do with having the same teacher, or perhaps it is the benefit of being able to look back in time with 20/20 hindsight. We both see that in the spiritual side of personal transformation many people repeatedly fall over the same stumbling block.
The spiritual path that takes people in circles of drama instead of forward is when they are in denial of where they are standing. We see many times that in the pursuit of becoming more spiritually advanced, people focus on the end goal of what they should be spiritually and tend not to accept themselves where they are.
I wrote of one aspect of this in my post on Spiritual Journey Through Illusions Now I want to talk about a more specific piece relating to the emotions.
As Spiritual Seekers are inundated with information from books, internet, and audio, about the Law of Attraction, Conscious Creating, and all the infinite power they have as a spiritual being they become excited and inspired.
People then create that goal in their mind of becoming that conscious creator or even that spiritually enlightened person. They focus so intently on this goal that any time they stumble they pick themselves up again and focus back on the goal. When they get upset, sad, angry, or frustrated, they vow to shake it off and recommit to their goal of mastering their life and the love and happiness they want.
In their intense desire and commitment to succeed and be happy they fail to see the stumbling blocks they keep tripping over. They fail to be aware of their emotions that are pointing to all the false beliefs in their mind. By fixating their attention on the goal of becoming a spiritual person they have stopped being present with the person they are right now. They dismiss, deny, and avoid this aspect of themselves.
In keeping our attention on our imaginary image in our mind that we call a goal, we miss being present with the emotions we are having in each moment. It is as if your life right now doesnâ€™t count and isnâ€™t as important as becoming something else.
This is often because we avoid dealing emotions like sadness, anger, or frustration. We donâ€™t want to acknowledge these aspects of our self because in the mental image game we interpret it to mean we somehow failed or arenâ€™t â€œthereâ€ yet. In this way our spiritual and personal growth goals are a mechanism for avoiding our self in the here and now when that is where our attention is needed. If we donâ€™t learn how to be present with our self and our emotions, we will not know how to do that in the future
It is tempting to believe in a hopeful way that leaping to a greater spiritual consciousness will alleviate us from our emotional reactions and unhappiness. Sometimes the mind wants to believe that this is how spiritual growth and emotional change happens.
While great leaps forward of experiencing Truth and unconditional love are possible, in the larger journey of life that is not how it works. If we havenâ€™t dealt with our emotional stumbling blocks we are likely to fall back towards our â€œnormalâ€ consciousness again on any ordinary Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon. Only by going back to those stumbling blocks of false beliefs and misinterpretations in the mind can we avoid falling over them in the future.
My friend Jeffrey discovered this after many years of meditation and study in the Buddhist tradition. After years of marriage he was facing a divorce and his wife and two daughters were moving out. He found himself immersed in emotions of sadness, fear, hopelessness, and anger that his meditation left him completely unprepared for. He had spent so much time with his thoughts in the heavens that he didnâ€™t know how to deal with his emotions here on earth.
My experience is that we can not embrace our Divinity until we explore and integrate all of our humanity. Integrating our humanity includes all aspects of our emotions, especially the dark ones that we trip over on our way towards conscious awakening.
Being in your integrity includes being in your emotional integrity. By integrity I mean whole and undivided. We donâ€™t push any of our emotions away as not being important or not part of our creation of experience. This is only possible when we embrace all of our emotions, including the ones that we stumble over. (This doesnâ€™t mean that we necessarily believe the stories that go along with the emotions we are feeling.) If the emotions of love and happiness are important, then the emotions of unhappiness and fear are equally important. These emotions are what interfere with our love and happiness. Ignoring them does not make them go away or make us any more evolved.
Only by becoming whole do we recover our Integrity and can journey into a more Divine Consciousness. With out this embrace, maintaining a spiritual consciousness is not sustainable. Consider this, the divine perspective doesnâ€™t reject, repress, or fear any of the emotions. So if you are going to adopt a Divine consciousness, you canâ€™t either.
When you understand the value of embracing all of your stumbling blocks you end up valuing all of the previous moments you spent tripping over your self. You no longer judge your self for your failings, but see them in the context of a much larger process.
We donâ€™t become more spiritually evolved when we put on our prettiest robes and race towards God. We become more spiritually evolved when we track backwards along our path and spend time embracing those stumbling blocks that caused us to trip into upset, sadness, anger and frustration. It is in this way that we build more character, depth, and become more authentic and whole.
It is a more humble road, but maybe that is what letting go of the ego mind is about.
If you are interested in engaging in this process of honest spirituality, you can join Ellen Roseland and myself as we facilitate a weekend of ancient spiritual ceremony, dreaming, meditation, bodywork, common sense and unconditional love to recover the integrity of Your Authentic Life. The weekend is from May 3rd to May 6th in Zion National Park.