Hello. How Is Your Spirit Doing?
Are You Growing Spiritually?
My hope is that if you’re reading this, you’re already on the spiritual awakening path. (If you’re not, hop on.)
You’re waking up. Shaking up all that is not spiritual and embracing more of what is.
You’re becoming more concerned with your inner landscape, rather than grasping at outer things, like applause or money or an addiction or some new gadget that gives you a whopping one hour of a “feel good”.
You’re closing your eyes more often, shutting out the temporal things and tuning into what’s going on inside your brain and your spirit.
I’ve been on the spiritual path a while, and it’s been a winding path for sure. It’s also had some ups and downs. But you know, the effort is worth it. The more I heal old wounds, discover hiding shadows, burn down idols, and get to know my spiritual self, the more peace, love, and joy I experience. And, the less my ego is triggered. The less angst I feel.
“I searched and searched for God and found me.”
I heard something like that not long ago and it stuck with me. We do search for a god, don’t we? Whether it’s when we’re feeling awful and we hope that God will help us get out of the mud. Or when we’re just yearning for something more than this natural world and its possessions can give us.
We search. The real and authentic part of us searches, and every now and then we get a glimpse of the mystical aspect of Divinity…and I’ll admit –this is amazing.
A bird singing at 6am. The view from the mountaintop you’ve just climbed. The way your lover looks at you like you’re the most beautiful thing in the entire world. The feeling when you’ve spent time with your eyes closed, gazing upon what you call God. Holding your baby in your arms. A sunset. An epic song. Someone showing up in support.
The Divine can show up in a million different ways, right?
Are You Growing Spiritually?
So many people go through life caught up in the mundane, everyday living. Get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, and scroll social media.
But are we growing spiritually? I’m asking you.
Are you growing spiritually?
It’s not the kind of question we ask each other often, but we should, because spiritual growth or conscious evolution is what can help us make sense of life on this planet. It’s waking up to our true nature; our authentic selves. It’s expanding our consciousness beyond the everyday hum drum or illusion of self.
It’s a HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESSES. A space where you can view yourself, others, the world, and life from the place where you’re feeling connected, you’re embodying the real-deal, expansive kind of love, and you’re at peace.
Jesus called it living in the Kingdom of Heaven. He said it’s that space/place you’ll only find WITHIN yourself.
Buddha called it enlightenment.
Whatever you want to call it, I’m encouraging you to go after it.
Wake yourself up!
Watch Out For Ego Traps
Ok, so I’m assuming you’re on board with a deeper spiritual awakening. You want to show up in the world as more of a spiritual person than a wounded, self-indulging person. In the Christian world, this means you want to show up more like Jesus did. In the Buddhism world, this means you want to show up more like Buddha did – embodying things like peace, abundant love, forgiveness, kindness, joy, compassion, patience, goodness, and so on.
You want to think less. You want your mind to think less, because that sucker can get lost in a thousand thoughts a minute, leaving you no peace. You ever get caught on the hamster wheel of thoughts? Wake at 4am and bam! Your mind starts racing. Try to fall asleep at night and your mind won’t turn off!
Yeah, I understand, but you don’t have to let your mind run your life. You are not your mind. You are not your thoughts.
You’re on a spiritual journey. You’re learning more about who you really are, and who you’re not.
When it finally hit me that I am not who I thought I’ve been for most of my life, I started grieving. It hit me that I’ve been playing out a lot of roles and wearing a lot of masks, but all of that wasn’t the real me. The real me I started splitting off from many years ago as a child. When the pain and trauma and neglect came my way as a wee little girl, I had no idea how to process or understand it.
So, I repressed and stuffed it deep into my unconscious. I split pieces of my true self off and started creating a persona or ego of who I thought I should be. Of who my parents wanted me to be. Of who society thought I should be.
Tucked it right into the shadow aspect of myself.
You think you know me? Chances are you only know the part of me I want you to know. A mask of some sort. The authentic me? Sometimes I’m aligned with it, when I’m consciously identifying with my true spiritual nature. When I choose to BE love and compassion.
I’m still in the process of connecting with my authentic self… learning who I really am…and allowing myself to show up as that more fully. I’ve not arrived as the enlightened spiritual guru, but then again, it’s a process.
When you realize that you’re not who you really are, and that you’ve been acting…playing roles…and your real self (spirit self) is apt to be totally lost under all these layers…. It can disheartening. It can feel daunting, because you know that you’ve got some more inner healing work to do! You’ve got shadows lurking and ego boasting…
However, this kind of realization is the beginning of FREEDOM and I don’t know about you, but I’m after some inner freedom! My inner child is after play time, feeling safe, secure, and fully loved!
Now, let me talk for a few minutes about what to watch out for or trip you up on the spiritual journey. There are plenty of things, but to keep this article shorter, let me just focus on a couple of things.
1. Watch out for your mind
The mind can trip you up if you’re not privy to its tactics. By mind, I mean your thoughts and beliefs. The part of you that is thinking –not the real you, which is not thinking.
Some researchers say that 95% of our life experiences are based on our unconscious (below the surface) thoughts and beliefs. That means that most of your life today – what you’re experiencing today – is based upon past thoughts and beliefs. It’s based upon automatic thinking, meaning those thoughts simply run in your mind without you paying attention to them. Like that song that’s stuck in your head. How long was it playing there before you noticed it? It was automatically playing for some time before you became aware of it.
The thing is, much of that unconscious thinking isn’t all that positive. In fact, much of it is negative thoughts, beliefs, and patterns you picked up over your life. Thoughts like:
- I’m not worthy
- I’m a failure
- I don’t deserve anything good
- People don’t like me
- I don’t fit in
- I’ll always be lonely, single, a mess up, etc.
Those negative thoughts are playing like a CD in your subconscious mind much of the time, and you wonder why you struggle so much with depression, anxiety, and crappy life experiences.
If you come to me and your life is a mess, or you’re struggling with constant negative emotions, I’m not going to look at you and say, “Ah, hang in there. It’ll get better.”
Rather, I’m going to sit you down and we’re going to start digging into your mind. Your shadow side.
We’re going to be like detectives and see what’s going on below the surface. We’re going to get raw and real, because if you want to experience change, you’ve got to be willing to dive into your sea of unconscious psyche and see what’s lurking in the shadows. And then, deal with them in a way where you actually experience some badass breakthroughs.
Good news is that you can learn to become more of an observer of your thoughts and re-work the negative ones. You can learn how to put in a new CD that’s full of positive thoughts or truth.
As you continue to wake up spiritually, you’ll pay more attention to what is going on in your thought life, and you’ll begin to use tools for transformation – like mindfulness and meditation.
Here’s what Joe Dispenza says about meditation:
“Meditating is also a means for you to move beyond your analytical mind so that you can access your subconscious mind. That’s crucial, since the subconscious is where all your bad habits and behaviors that you want to change reside.”
Not into meditating? Find it boring? Can’t find the time? Doesn’t work for you?
I challenge you to stop with these excuses and commit to learning the art of meditation and practice it consistently. Call it mediation, contemplation, prayer, sacred silence or whatever you want, but it can be powerful. It can help you gain more control of your thought life, heal emotionally, connect to yourself and the Divine (God), and experience a lot more positive emotions along your journey.
It took me years to finally make a firm commitment to regular meditation, and I can tell you that the regular practicing makes a huge difference.
2. Feeling like you’re better than others
Waking up or growing spiritually is wonderful, but watch out for the temptation to judge others who aren’t on the path or YOUR path. I saw this happen a lot years ago when I was in the church. In fact, I found myself unconsciously judging others, like I was better or higher than them because I was a Christian. I thought everyone had to be on that particular path, but that’s not how I feel today. That was a more ethnocentric worldview, whereas we ought to be growing into a more worldcentric and kosmocentric worldview.
Don’t let your ego boast and start pointing fingers at others. You don’t care for the path they’re on? You don’t have to follow them. Let them walk it. It’s their life and their choice. And, when you’re tempted to point your finger at those that are asleep or just not interested in spiritual growth, remember how asleep you once were. Have some compassion for those who just aren’t on their spiritual path yet or are late bloomers.
I understand we want others, and especially our loved ones, to experience life in amazing ways. We want them to experience less pain or confusion. We want them to wake up and grow spiritually.
But if we try to force feed them spiritual teachings, we can potentially frustrate them. If we judge them or cut ties completely because they’re not “where we are”, then we’re not really showing up in our authentic, loving power.
I always say, “Their life, their lessons, their timing.” Allow them to have their life and learn their lessons in their time frame, just like you want to do for yourself. Hold space for them. Model unconditional love for them. Pray for them. Let them navigate their own journey.
3. Avoid Escapism & Irresponsibility
There may be some people who get so caught up on the spiritual path that they forget that they’re actually living in this world. Watch out for the temptation to “escape” responsibility, because that can be tempting.
Sure, we are spiritual beings, but we’re on an earthly journey. And, there really are some responsibilities that we have, like paying for bills and food. Like taking care of your children in a responsible way. Like showing up for those who need some hope and unconditional love.
Freedom is wonderful, but if you don’t have enough money to keep a roof over your head, eat decent food, or pay your bills, you’re not really experiencing the kind of freedom you could.
Be responsible AND be spiritual.
There’s a Zen saying that I really like. It says:
“Before Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.”
Very good advice.
4. On Growing Weary
You may grow weary while walking your spiritual path. The road can seem very long at times, and you’ll wish you were “there”. You may get caught up in seeking a destination, when we’re really supposed to be enjoying the journey.
Are you enjoying your spiritual growth journey? Or are you grasping for more, more, and more? Are you operating from a centered space? Or are you in “fight or flight” mode running a mile a minute, overextending, busying yourself because you’re not sure how to get off the hamster wheel?
A very real issue in life is burnout. People get burned out with their jobs, their roles, and life in general. Are you burned out? Is this a pattern? Be on the lookout for this, and if you find yourself feeling this way, it might be a good time to take some time off, head off on a retreat, and re-balance or re-align with Spirit.
Also, there may be times when we struggle in the darkness. There may be days when life seems like it sucks. Things don’t go as we want. Emotions are all over the place.
But don’t give up. Weariness may come, and when it does, know ahead of time what tools you can turn to so you can get some rest.
I struggle at times, and I also allow myself to struggle momentarily. However, I don’t give up. I will do what works for me when those days come. I might take a day to rest. Or, I might listen to a certain speaker or read a book. I might reach out to a mentor or therapist. I might get out of a funk by traveling! I’ve got tools, and I’m not afraid to use them!
If you’re weary or struggling, know that it’s alright to reach out for help. If you can’t get yourself out of the dark, ask someone to help you. Whether that’s a therapist, friend, pastor, spiritual guru, neighbor, online forum, etc. It’s ok to ask for help!
You can also take time to go within and ask yourself and your higher power for help or insight. Take the time to be quiet and go within. Make it a habit.
Wrapping It Up
Let me wrap this article up by asking:
Are you on the spiritual path? If so, how’s it going? Are you getting to know yourself better? Are you getting a stronger connection with your higher power? Are you making the effort? I mean really making a consistent effort?
Do you see yourself falling into any of these traps I mentioned? Are other things tripping you up?
If so, know that these things can happen at times, so go easy on yourself. There is plenty of opportunity to learn lessons along the journey.
Love yourself through it all. We’re all learning, and I believe doing the best we can at the consciousness level we’re at.
At the same time, commit to being disciplined in your spiritual exercise. We are spirits or consciousness with a mind and body. Don’t go through life allowing your focus to solely be on your mind and body. Get to know your spirit. Your true self. Your spiritual self.
And, work on taming your mind. You’ve heard the phrase “mind over matter”. Become the master of your mind, rather than allowing your negative thinking mind to be your master (which makes for a rather sucky life).
Make meditation a daily practice. Embrace silence. See what’s going on behind your eyes…
“Meditating is also a means for you to move beyond your analytical mind so that you can access your subconscious mind. That’s crucial, since the subconscious is where all your bad habits and behaviors that you want to change reside.” ― Joe Dispenza
Get into nature often. Don’t talk so much. Put down technology more often. Go within. Allow. Connect with others. Smile.
Life has some twists and turns, and pain and grief might be a part of it at times. But we don’t have to stay there. We can learn and we can grow spiritually, viewing life from a higher perspective. A more loving and compassionate perspective.
This is my prayer and intention for you!
Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.
She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.
Her books include Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose, Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal, and a collection of poetry entitled, The Pain, It Shapes Her World.