Are Spiritual Folks Just a Bunch of Egomaniacs?
If you are on the spiritual path, the following is likely true:
*You need to be alone to examine your spirituality.
*You need to understand the meaning of life and how you fit in with it all.
*You have a deep need to fulfill your life’s purpose.
*You consider yourself enlightened with an alternative perspective of the world.
That is a lot of “yous,” folks. At what point on the spiritual path do we stop concentrating on the self and start acting in relation to the All — universality, community, relationships?
It seems that there isn’t one clear answer, but according to “The Holistic Psychologist,” self-reflection and solitude is part of the unavoidable process of life on the spiritual path. In “The Darkness” and “The Hermit/Isolation” stages, we are hyper-focused on our lives as we work through the individual “self” and the role the self plays in the human drama.
While time centered on the self is expected and needed to evolve spiritually, it is not an excuse for you to lose all sense of reality, of your humanity. If time in these stages negatively impacts your relationships or responsibilities, Google a psych, because you might be an egomaniac.
Time for a Reality Slap, Soul Child
My slap came after an approximate decade somewhere in between the “Hermit/Isolation” and “Rebirth” stages, and from my lovely daughter, no less.
I was on an existential high after a full day of spiritual bliss. I meditated, practiced yoga, wandered in the sunshine listening to Alan Watts, and journaled about my enlivened state. Then, as time will always bring, reality surfaced.
Ah yes, I am a mother. It’s time to pick up my daughter from school.
As I opened the door to her preschool and scooped her up into my arms, the love of her Light only further energized my already glowing soul. Ahhhh, continued bliss.
I buckled her in and hopped in the driver seat, ready to share the rest of this perfect day with this perfect child.
For the next 10 minutes:
“I want my blankieeeeeeeee!”
“I want Elmo!”
“I want to drive to San Diego!”
“I want milk!”
The shock to my spiritual system was paralyzing. I lost all sense of that elevated state as I was pulled, sucked, back into reality — into my human role on Earth. Bliss lost. And bliss wasn’t the only thing I lost. I lost my patience and then my temper. By that evening, I had yelled at my daughter in front of the neighbors and physically restrained her as she tried leaping out of her carseat — neither proud mom moments.
Where was this enlightened being that I had been fostering in my spiritual practice on a day-to-day basis?
Was the drama of humanity really so much more powerful than the experience of spiritual bliss??
What good was all of this spiritual practice if it didn’t benefit the relationships that I treasured the most???
Reality check: we cannot escape our humanity, which includes the roles and responsibilities we have here on Earth. If your spiritual practice is not also benefitting the lives of others and your community at large, you need to reconsider the purpose of your practice.
Luckily, my daughter was that reality check for me, and she is on a daily basis. That’s right, motherhood is not butterflies and rainbows. In fact, on an hourly basis, it is rarely anything even closely related to those things. The same is true with our roles as life partners, family members and coworkers.
The day-to-day of our humanity is trying, monotonous and at times just plain ugly. But it is our established spirituality and spiritual practice that help lift us out of our troubles to become better humans for ourselves and others. This is what brings moments of authentic, human experienced joy, peace and love.
If you don’t have a child to serve you your daily dose of what it means to be human, take time to check yourself. Don’t obsess over your spiritual evolution so much that you completely lose sight of your humanity, because there are souls to serve there (here, in the physical realm) too. Your spiritual practice should always benefit the whole, not just you.
How to Spirituality Serve Others
You can sit in meditative bliss and chant for peace all day, but if you cannot translate these ideals into your relationships with others, you are far from the purpose of practice. Not only that, but you will likely feel like a failure as you yo-yo between states of heightened bliss and the challenges of human life and interactions with others.
Unless you are a monk, shaman or other spiritual savant who spends days in solitude, it is likely that you have roles and responsibilities to fulfill. These should not be seen as detrimental or counterproductive to the progress of your spiritual path. If you see it that way, you are likely to live in disappointment. Rather than battling with your humanity, see your relationships with others as an opportunity to put your spirituality to practice.
Throughout your day, resolve to perform acts of peace, love and joy — three ways that humans experience God’s Light.
A prayer I often start my day with includes channeling peace in my workplace (specifically with disgruntled colleagues and parents); love in my marriage (after 10+ years); and joy with my daughter (even while riding her “couch boat” for the 15th time today).
Of course, life sucks sometimes. There will be days when your spiritual Light is dim and being a source of Light to others feels impossible. You need time to reignite your Spirit, to reconnect with Being, to get a tad egocentric.
That’s ok. Movement through the Stages of Spiritual Awakening is fluid. We are human and life ain’t always pretty. With each day and each practice, resolve to always keep your purpose in mind: to spread healing; to serve others; to light the path.
An illuminated candle in a vacant room is not only useless; it is dangerous.
Coffee chats anyone? I am always open and excited to connect with like-minded individuals on this path: tweet tweet.