Updated on January 11, 2016
Written by Corinne Blum
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.