Nowadays, many of us consider ourselves to be on a spiritual path. We idolize teachers. We attend seminars. We study Buddhism or Yogic traditions. We try our hand at mysticism. We learn about guides and past lives, about energy work and manifestation. Maybe we recite affirmations or practice Ho’oponopono.
Whatever it is we do to enrich this area of our lives, we always want to make sure that it is producing a desired outcome. For example, has your spirituality led you to be more honest with yourself? Are you digging deep within and uncovering the untoward, the hidden, the “dark” side? Because if you are not getting in there and taking a good, honest look at your own agendas and negative belief systems, all of the guides, past life regressions, readings, healing sessions and weekend retreats won’t do a thing. Sure, you’ll feel a nice high for a few days, maybe even a week, but if you haven’t done the real work, inevitably you will crash.
Embracing All Aspects of the Self
In embracing a spiritual life, it is paramount that we embrace all aspects of the self. In order to progress, we must become brutally honest explorers of the inner world, and look to ourselves without blinders, gathering the courage to forgive and to heal. Until you lay bare your entire being, the beautiful along with the imperfect, you will never fully experience your true nature.
We are too distracted by the trappings of the personality to look beyond it, but if you develop your spiritual life around the idea that you must know yourself at any cost, you will soon experience the inconsistency and the unreliability of the personality. You will prove to yourself how treacherous it is, and you will begin to turn from it and look for reconnection to the true you, the God-force contained within you.
Our interest in this powerful force, this other part of us, will grow as our interest in our thoughts and feelings (our personalities) wanes. When we come to this threshold, something marvelous can happen, but first let's discuss this bigger part of us.
A Worldwide Inferiority Complex
Here’s the thing. We are pure consciousness. At every moment, the universal energy we call God is coursing through us all. We are all blossoming out of this life-force. It is us: inseparable from us. We do not consciously experience this phenomenon because we have strayed ever so far and ever so deeply into the maze of self-awareness (think Garden of Eden and the tree of knowledge). Eve didn’t wake up; she and Adam (i.e. you and me) fell into a forgetful state. We separated out of the oneness and “awoke” into duality.
Now we are self-aware. We believe we exist as individuals, and so we feel separate from God. Unfortunately, feeling separate from God tends to bring about some self-image issues. Thus, we’re in the midst of a worldwide inferiority complex, and we’ve devised many elaborate and beautiful schemes to belie our perceived inferiority. We’re like two year olds trying to get God’s attention:
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“Look at me, look at me! See how powerful I am? See how beautiful I can be and how good and kind and talented, too!?”
The problem is God’s not listening…because there is no God. Not like that anyway. There’s no being separate from us that lords over us, watching our every move. God is just consciousness: non-judgmental, unbiased, omnipresent and infinite. Joseph P. Whittel describes it well: God is an “impersonal power, everywhere present, manifesting as life, through all forms of organized matter.”
We are all expressions of this impersonal power.
Reconnecting with Ourselves
The reason it feels so good to get in touch with this incredible energy is not that it is so loving and embracing. It feels good because we are reconnecting with ourselves. That’s your love you’re feeling. That’s your power you are kneeling before. It’s you!
Yes, you are awesomely powerful, loving, forgiving, infinite and divine. If you want to experience that Self more often, then you have to stop focusing on being spiritual – whatever that means these days - and start working on miring yourself in a passionate and all encompassing exploration of self.
At first, it will be beautiful and very healing. You will feel incredible highs and you will confront unfathomable lows. It will be a true journey of self- discovery.
As you learn to take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, you will enjoy a strong sense of empowerment. You will start to appreciate the brilliant organization of life.
The Dualistic Mindset
However, the reason I said “mire yourself” is that this kind of exploration should eventually leave you so confused and so utterly frustrated with the endless flow of your thoughts and the silliness of your many feelings that you will naturally begin to ask yourself what is the point to all of this digging? Is it leading anywhere?
You will begin to wonder why you cannot finally heal it all. Where is the end to all of your negativity? You have less of it now. You have a deeper understanding of it, but it seems endless. And it is! It’s endless because you are still in a dualistic mindset. There is good and there is bad in endless and equal proportion.
Progressing Beyond the Stage of Self-Knowing
If you are truly on a journey, you will want to progress even beyond this stage of self-knowing. That sense of empowerment I spoke of is a plateau – a good one, but a plateau nonetheless. At this point, perhaps out of sheer desperation, you will begin searching not for the things that make you different from others but for the things that connect you. You will long for a daily experience of that sublime joy that comes from reconnecting to yourself.
You will want to feel this joy in your relationships, too. So, you will begin searching for the common energy that flows through all of us. Now you are on your way to living a life of wakefulness and remembrance, seeing beyond the veil of your own faulty perceptions.
This is true spirituality. First, know thyself. Then come full circle and reconcile the experience of separation with the truth of non-duality. We can bring together these opposing ideas and create a new understanding of ourselves. We can enjoy the many, while maintaining full awareness of the one.
Being Willing To Take Full Responsibility
To begin this path, seek teachers that encourage self-exploration. Seek classes that draw your attention inward. Stay grounded and vow to uncover and heal the most hidden parts of your psyche. This is the fastest way to understanding.
Enlightenment begins and ends with you. No one else can get you there. So, let every step on the path be toward your true nature, the God within you. Do not stray from that path, and you’ll avoid a whole lot of silliness and missteps.
The answers are within you. All you need to do is look. Be honest. Be fearless. Be willing to take full responsibility for your thoughts and feelings (heck, for everything around you!), and you will go far.
* Subtitles by InnerSelf.
©2014 by Sara Chetkin. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission. Publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books.
Article written by the author of:
The Healing Curve: A Catalyst to Consciousness
by Sara Chetkin.
About the Author
Sara Chetkin was born in Key West, Fl in 1979. When she was 15 she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, and spent much of the next 15 years traveling around the world seeking healing and spiritual insight. These travels and explorations are the basis for her first book, The Healing Curve. Sara graduated from Skidmore College in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. In 2007 she earned a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture. She is a Rohun therapist and an ordained minister with the Church of Wisdom, Delphi University. Visit her at thehealingcurvebook.com/
Watch a video/interview with Sara: Journey Along the Healing Curve