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Grounded Spirituality: Walking the spiritual path with our feet on the ground

Written by Corinne Blum

Original posting seen on London College of Spirituality: click here to view

One of the greatest gifts of connection we have in this life is that to our spiritual path. Yet there is a great deal of shoulds and should nots in this spiritual world. That guru says this, this philosophy says that. It can be confusing, frustrating and internally conflicting. But the greatest challenge, perhaps even illusion, that I’ve observed growing up in a very spiritually minded environment my entire life, is the spiritual path as perfection, as something unhuman. It’s as if we have this great opportunity to be in this realm, on this planet as humans, and all we are trying to do is escape it.

From a young age this made no sense to me. Why be human if the point was to transcend humanity and become an enlightened being? I am a sensitive soul, an all-feeling spirit that has deep emotion and when I was young I thought this was a weakness…

I studied Buddhism over a decade and though much of it brought me peace and gave me a pathway to a better understanding of myself, I was at odds with it. It somehow felt too masculine, too mind oriented, it was missing something for me.

As I grew older my focus turned less on what spirituality was and more on what authenticity meant. What did it mean to be human? I came to learn, through much struggle, suffering, searching and surrendering, that being human, being authentic, was about honouring my human experience through the eyes of my higher self. I learned that the body holds so much wisdom, emotions are wonderful guides, and that acceptance of what is true for us in the moment was the pathway to freedom and peace.

I saw the inauthenticity of spirituality. People wearing it as the latest fashion, mala beads and all, but not embodying the qualities of love, kindness and compassion. Spiritual status seemed to drive people to be more zen than the next yet they snapped when someone took their parking spot at Whole Foods. It didn’t look or feel real, or human. There was something too similar to a striving for perfection that simply didn’t exist.

Why be given this incredible range of feelings, sensations and emotions, to explore life and this experience of being human, only to pretend that we are always “good,” “happy,” “peaceful,” and “positive”. I personally learned so much about myself through my times of sadness, depression and feeling lost. I realized that the meaning of life was in the experience. There was no one answer but just the experience – neither good nor bad.

Yes, we all want to be happy but happiness isn’t about always being positive. A person can pretend to be happy and positive all the time but pretending will only lead to an eventual breakdown- I’ve seen it many times. But I also saw that it’s easy to get swallowed up in suffering, to become the victim, to see life through a gloomy lens with infinite impossibility. I further saw that our perspective of life and its reality is a choice – our choice.

I began to see that all emotions, all experiences are like that of a colour wheel. We may prefer one colour over another but we cannot claim that colour is better than the other. So with my emotions, I looked at them as a colourful expression of being. With a softened relationship to what I was feeling, I found that suffering only came when I judged my experience as bad, wrong, “unspiritual” or otherwise. It was that resistance, that shame and self-blame that was painful – so much more painful than the initial feeling.

I see this time and again with the people I work with. It is in the resistance to fear, the guilt of feeling or thinking “negatively” that they suffer, become anxious and generally feel unfulfilled in their life.

The moment we can turn around and embrace our fears, giving them the love, nurture and attention they need, all of a sudden they transform. We don’t need to become “strong” or move beyond our fears, worries and insecurities. We need to embrace them, listen to them and with a loving curiosity see what rests beneath them.

Every emotion and experience is a pathway to something deeper, a door closer to our soul – our true essence. If we lock that door and let the cobwebs build, we step further and further away from our truth, from who we are.

Being spiritual isn’t about becoming one and the same. Being connected as One is very different. That is the energy, the spirit, the life that runs through us all. Through all beings, plants and animals – the very makeup of the Universe. But we also are a unique being that is the expression of one small perspective out of billions. One isn’t better than the other. One isn’t more right that the other. All are a unique view of what life is from that angle.

So I say walk the spiritual path with our feet on the ground. We are the mid point between the earth and manifestation and the universe and spirit. That means we have the wonderful opportunity to be the balance of the two. To hold it all. To expand into bliss and lightness and grow heavy with feeling and embodiment. Our task is not to judge it but experience, learn and evolve from it.

Our souls do not seek perfection, they seek love, and love cannot come without acceptance for the experience we are having right now, right here. It is an infinite journey, one that lasts perhaps lifetimes. But this isn’t a race, this isn’t a competition. It is an ever-evolving, growing, unfoldment of Spirit expressing itself through human form.

What It Means To Be A Woman

My journey began looking at what it means to be authentic – to show up in life from a place of truth, honouring my feelings, fears, dreams and my spirit. In the process I learned what it means to be a woman.

Our society has told all of us to behave, to be strong, to swallow our emotions, keep our voice to ourselves and “fake it until you make it”. We have grown ashamed of our feelings and ultimately ourselves because we haven’t been allowed to be our true selves!

We are all human, women and men alike. We have feelings – we are sensitive and vulnerable by nature and this does not make us weak!

It is our sensitivities that make us compassionate, our feelings that offer empathy. It is the cracks that inspire us, and our struggles that strengthen us. It is the courage that comes from within that gives us true confidence, not the façade that pretends to offer us security, comfort and acceptance.

But I do not say this in anger nor in blame, nor is this about the plight of women. We have learned these ways, as women and men, and the opportunity now lies before us to create balance, to honour humanity and embody the gifts of the feminine in us all.

What I learned about being a woman is that we feel. We are intuitive through our body, our heart and our gut and when we shut these down, we also shut down our life force, energy and creative inspiration.

I have learned that sometimes our emotions run us wild but when we honour the voice and message within them and channel them through creativity, they offer us, and the world, great gifts.

I have learned that:

We are gentle, nurturing and loving as well as fierce, dedicated and determined.

We believe in truth and justice because it rattles us to our bones.

We are passionate and fiery as well as calm and fluid.

We are unpredictable and expressive as well as dependable and grounded.

We are life and creation as well as destruction and death.

We move things and shift things and inspire change.

We birth children and ideas and embody the cycles and seasons of life through our bodies, emotions and states of being.

We believe in the good of people and care about their story but we get angry when we’re forced to be quiet, to not feel and apologise for the way we are.

I do not believe we have the excuse to be unaware within our unpredictability but when supported we have the ability to invigorate the life in us all.

To be a woman is to dive into the depths of experience, of what it means to be human in this realm.

We follow the light as well as the shadows of the dark.

We are the virgin, the mother and the wise crone.

We are the sweet breeze of Spring and the ferocious wind of Winter.

We are the loving embrace that holds all of life and the tender softness that rests in its hands.

We sometimes push the limits because we are infinite and yet we need the boundary, structure and safety that the sacred masculine provides.

We need to feel honoured by our partner so that we can crack our hearts open and let you in.

We need to feel safe to thrive or else we control out of fear.

We are ready to be seen, to be heard and to create a sisterhood.

We are ready to show men their sacred masculine by embodying our sacred feminine.

We are willing to embody fear so that we can transform it into potential.

We are able to cry so that we can water the seeds of our truth.

We know when to say yes and when to say no, when to be open and when to protect.

We yearn for connection, long for devotion and our greatest desire is union.

We all, women and men alike, are the face of vulnerability, truth and love. May we put down our masks and look to our true face so that we may see the world that stretches before us with open eyes.