I always think of a big oak tree, strong, wise and a tree that has and can weather many storms. Each oak tree sheds its acorns, a little seed filled with the entire essence of itself, to grow just like itself, to become just as big and strong if it is able. I see us the same way, we are the ultimate light of God here on earth, and we are the seeds of God or the light in its completeness. We have it all inside us to grow and develop and become enlightened beings over many lifetimes in most cases as this process takes time and practice. I treasure this in people, that divine essence, that spark, that blueprint inside just like a seed. It is sacred, it is unique and it is the will of the universe.
Breaking the shell
We all have the ability and opportunities in our lives to make good choices, to access healing in most cases, and to improve. Some people with harder childhoods and traumas may find it a constant battle to just attain their idea of normality, but in many cases even with extremely hurt individuals the pain of life helps break them into a more spiritual self, and in many cases gives an extra strength to continue forward. This can be viewed as the breaking of the shell, where the pain can break one open to a deeper sense.
Breaking the shell
The inner healer
Inside each person is an inner healer for themselves, a higher aspect of themselves, a doctor of sorts. This is the energy of the light, of God, leading his children back to their own fullness. Every person wants to feel complete, wants to heal the small or large parts of themselves and be able to better connect with others in peace and love.
There are many paths to enlightenment and many people are trying them these days. There are paths like Buddhism, Zen, qigong, religious sects like Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism etc., the path of Tantra, Sufism, Pagan rituals and magic, plant medicine, the warrior paths, and many others. Many people are born into spiritual beliefs or religious paths and keep following what they are taught, others change or discard those paths for others, and some don’t believe at all. All paths are life and life is one long road to knowing the self.
Blockages and tests
When following ones spiritual path and growing from it, one will encounter many blockages, or tests, hurts and pains, truths and half-truths. This path has countless illusions and booby traps along the way. There are names for it such as ego, shadow-side, pain body, traumas in some cases, darkness etc.
Ignoring the ego
I don’t believe ego is negative or something to be ignored it is a step in our process and has been created for a reason. Yes we are supposed to eventually overcome our ego aspects, but they take time and work as love comes more into the spirit, there is less reason for the ego to react.
Many times on the path to inner development we encounter beautiful moments of peace, harmony and love. They can fill one with joy and bliss. There are also many masters teaching this such as well-known Eckhart Tolle or Mooji etc. Sadly when the ego is mentioned by many of these people, it is interpreted as bad or must not be tolerated or seen. This can create spiritual bypassing where people ignore the ego, we say it is bad and holds us back so I won’t have it, I won’t see it in what I do. The idea is beautiful as people want to be good, but unless the ego has been mastered it is still there and using this is then an illusion. One may think mentally they are in bliss but in fact it may be ego itself.
Another common way of spiritual bypassing is when pain is overwhelming. The pain body as some may know it. When people have incurred trauma, or even if no trauma has occurred but one still feels a lot of pain internally, spirituality can be used to bypass that pain. They may focus on I am light, everything is only light, there is only love and truly believe it, but without having faced their own shadows and the pain inside. Often in cases like this, a dark night of the soul will show over time and can be difficult to integrate unless one can be honest about where one really is in the process of learning. One can choose to ignore a dark night of the soul but realize that balance must always occur. All aspects of our development must be integrated in balance and not without denying a part of ourselves.
Spiritual bypassing comes in many forms and illusions. Attainment is not a goal, it is a journey, and when seeing advanced beings on the path of enlightenment they generally preach the word of compassion and learning and share the light with others once ready and called with Gods permission towards this step. This comes with further tests and growth; it requires a sense of being the learning not knowledge, but complete inner action and stability. We have such powerful and strong minds, that often we think ourselves into a practice or belief rather than to embodying it completely. Embodying means to integrate it on every level, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and into life itself through every action and deed without having to watch it all the time or oneself, only awareness of the movement of the cosmos. It is who we are, not something to think or mentalize about.
Why do people mentalize? We are used to thinking as adults. As children we play, life is open, we are connected but slowly we are taught the strength and needs from the mind in the world. It is normal and necessary for functioning and survival. Through this mind education we also learn how to push the mind, even force it sometimes in order to acquire what we want or need. We may be tired but yet have to work so we push, something intellectual challenges us or requires learning so we push to achieve, we may be sick or having a hard day but we need to tend to kids, clean the house, study and push more. We live in a world of achievement and that success brings approval in society. Often we need to study a lot and use the mind to achieve to survive and attain higher standards of living. It is not negative, sometimes it is good that we mentally challenge ourselves and progress to survive and thrive but not at the cost of losing the other areas of development, such as emotional, physical and spiritual. Those areas are just as important and will constantly need refinement too. If those areas are left without nourishment and strength, then the mind takes over and we think ourselves into spirituality. The mind is strong, we can think ourselves over hot coals these days, so why not into spirituality as well.
All areas are important
When we bypass, on some level we dismiss ourselves, we ignore an important part. All the parts of ourselves are needed as completeness means unifying the self. There is no short cut to our spirituality through the mind, the mind is there to direct the ship and maintain the body and path. The path is long and there is often the temptation to skip the struggle and pain and do only the fun practices. Questioning oneself many times helps to see more clearly in situations, and also accepting the consequences for actions of decisions. When making decisions internally about spirituality, know there will be mistakes and errors, also over time with new learning, old learning or beliefs might also shift. Over time we may see the error of some beliefs, being then able to learn how to tell what is right and what isn’t, what comes from ego and what doesn’t, how to be humbler in decisions because perhaps later one might improve the wisdom further.
Avoidance and denial
This leads me to spiritual bypassing to avoid errors and feeling hurt. Avoidance and denial are common. We do this for many reasons, we might fear rejection, we want to fit in, we want to be equal to peers, we want to be important maybe even superior, so in many cases from fear or ego, but mostly it is because we don’t want to feel pain. However, often pain is seen as what breaks one through to something more. Pain is the very fuel we need often to strive for bliss; they are but the same coin. This is not punishment; there is a difference between pain and suffering. Touching a hot stove reminds us it is hot and not to do it. That is the nervous system of the body, but we have a spiritual nervous system too. When we avoid the shadows or ego to be only light, we are not being true to ourselves, in a sense we are lying to ourselves. Lies consume time and hold one back, for it is only in truth that we come alive.
Identifying with our practice
Sometimes we get so caught up in a spiritual practice, and the effects of that practice or the dogma, that we get lost in an idea of where we should be going. We practice and practice and have effects and then are sure we are something because of it. We have an identity as a spiritual person or practitioner of a big teaching. We force ourselves to be that practice and in a sense again force it. Using spiritual tools or teachings to be someone or something other than compassionate, real and present. Often a sense of falseness or non-presence can be felt in these cases. Also obsessiveness can settle in because without the practice I am not enough.
Humbleness and grace
Being humble to the process and grateful for every moment is one of the best ways to internally stay aware and embodied. Humble to God’s grace, open to learning, open with one’s heart and willing if needed to go through a shadow when and if it comes with gratitude and hopefully grace. Grace can’t always be guaranteed. But to bow ones head before the greatness of the universe and realize even in our greatness, there is another greatness. Being humble for life and the path.
Take your time
Be authentic and your unique self. Seek the truth and learn the inner freedom of the self, free each chain of inner slavery with inner conviction and glory. One by one, you will gain strength to overcome the next, don’t rush, take your time, feel your body and let the spirit grow strong.
Written by Inon