Spirituality…it can be bad for our health, and not much fun!
Jenny is a lovely woman. Kind, bubbly and chatty. She is also ‘spiritual’, and the last time I saw her I felt incredibly sad……she appeared to be drowning in a sea of guilt, induced by the religion that is supposed to liberate the soul. The religion of spirituality. And I understood exactly how that could come about.
Jenny runs a little business, a shop, and she was explaining that a number of ‘lost sheep’ would regularly gather there, off – loading their problems and drinking tea. They rarely purchased anything, and she wasn’t making much money. But she didn’t have the heart to do anything about it. And, with eyes like saucers, and one hand on her chest, she told me: “But I have attracted these people into my life……it is of my own doing.”
Jenny already has a number of other issues to contend with. Sadly, her husband passed two years ago, and she has been trying to help a male friend with his issues, attempting to draw him into the world of spirituality, genuinely believing that it will help him to be more whole. She looks like a woman in pain, oozing intensity from every pore. She appears emotionally lost, mindlessly trotting out a series of spiritual platitudes that are bringing her no comfort whatsoever. And she believes that’s of her own doing, too. To be honest, I wanted to shake her until her teeth rattled, and yell “Save yourself Jenny….NOW!”
I said earlier that spirituality is a religion. And for many that is exactly what it has become. They deny it, of course, and furiously so. But there are ‘rules’, and there is competition. And God (sorry, Universe) help you if you don’t understand that it is ALL your fault, and that no matter how tough your life is, you chose it for yourself before you were born. Yes, even the aids riddled woman in a third world country, whose child is dying in her arms. She, and presumably the child, chose to have the experience, which makes it alright, you see.
I find the idea of announcing our spirituality an odd one. That’s like me announcing that I am a white, middle-aged woman. It doesn’t need to be said…..it just is. Surely the spirit is the free, developing part of us, the relationship we develop with everything and everybody, whilst we live on planet Earth? What does that have to do with guilt? We don’t have enough money because we don’t believe we deserve. We have lousy neighbours because we attracted them into our life. Or there is the sneering at others’ lack of awareness: “WE have arrived……WE are detached……not like those other, un – enlightened idiots out there. We don’t do negativity, either, by the way, because that shows we don’t understand how the universe works.” It can all become so horribly passive – aggressive, and I have worked with literally thousands of people who are feeling worse about life, rather than better, because they are trying to follow an elitist doctrine they believe is spiritual.
You know, I DO believe that we are responsible for a lot of the c**p in our life. Not all of it, but a fair bit of it. But isn’t that how it is, on planet Earth? We start off knowing nothing, put ourselves through a series of experiences, learn the hard way (IF we choose to learn), and make improvements. Experience followed by the opportunity to become wiser. And hopefully we use some of our wisdom to help those whose lives are so much harder than our own, through cirumstance and the unreasonable behaviour of other human beings. If we ourselves consistently behave in an unreasonable way, we will reap the consequences. And if people are putting on us, it is because they feel they can, and because we have come to allow them to do so. It isn’t that we attract them, as such……it just develops that way, until we decide to develop it in a different way. Yes, Jenny allowed those people to feel they could use her facilities for their own selfish needs, but that is not the same as attracting them. She is kind. She was kind to them, and they became dependent. If she is no longer comfortable with the situation, rather than blaming herself at a spiritual level, she can say “Well, my kindness has encouraged these lost souls to hang around me, but I now have to take care of myself.” I DO believe that we attract certain situations and people into our space, but through our mindset and actions, rather than through our spirit!
And as for us choosing the life we end up with, before our birth, who the hell really knows? Absolutely no – one. It is an opinion, a belief. It MAY be true, but even if it is, who is going to stand over that woman and her dying child, pat her on the arm, and say “Don’t worry darling, I know it’s tough, but you see, YOU chose this……and aren’t you brave for doing so?” And if you were willing to do that, would you also be willing to take a great big punch in the face for your self – satisfied smugness?
Accepting responsiblity for our own mindset, beliefs, choices and actions is the way to live a progressive, productive life…..that is true. Sometimes we are going to struggle, and we will experience negative feelings. There can be no positivity without negativity. We will need to overcome our issues and our blocks, if we are to grow, but first we will have to identify them…….and understand how they came about (through our beliefs, which we can change!). Beating ourselves up over those issues and blocks is not spiritual…….it is human. If spirituality separates us from others…..the un – enlightened……and if it causes us to think and behave in an intense manner, and if we feel we are failing because we haven’t arrived at the altar of detachment…….how healthy is that? How free is that? If we are making an effort to be spiritual, then surely it isn’t coming from the spirit……but from the ego? And that’s fine. Ego is a necessary part of the soul, but it is also a tricky character who dresses itself up in different garbs, sometimes. It wants to keep us in line, but can over – do its job, leading us into a state of defence, with a ‘them and us’ mindset, ……whilst the spirit is off smelling the roses, laughing, loving, crying, hurting, healing, exploring, falling down, getting back up again, facing failure and success, sharing, teaching, guiding, and standing for values…..in other words, experiencing and expanding. Now, I don’t know about you, but I MUCH prefer that version of spirituality……who the hell has the stomach for a life -time of smug guilt?