Monday, October 29, 2012
In the process of personal growth or development or even 'getting well' many of us have looked beyond traditional religions for guidance. Last time I shared my thoughts on the spiritual climate of our times I tossed around some of the pros and cons, as I see them, of the larger group of seekers collectively referred to as New Age (although many do reject the term) Much of what is labeled New Age Spirituality is blend of psychological techniques and a patchwork of spiritual practices, often those that are borrowed from a non-white culture but adapted to fit western culture. These combinations of practice and wisdom can, in many cases, provide fertile earth for true enlightenment. The messages and teachings in their westernized formula often to overlook one crucial detail, that is that within our culture there exists myriad sub-cultures whose lives don't fit the tidy portrait of the American Ideal.
Historically, our American culture of Pragmatic Pull-Yourself-Up-By-Your-Bootstraps has done little to encourage self exploration and understanding, much less self forgiveness. The offering of spiritual comfort within our culture has consisted of organized religions with relatively simple solutions. These answers emanated from an external source which was translated by a usually male representative. It is only relatively recently that individuals have been encouraged to seek within to find answers to deep philosophical and spiritual questions. Women in recovery and on the path to healing are often shrouded in years of guilt over the mistakes we've made. If we reach out to an alternative source of spiritual guidance we need a welcoming hand that understands the role that feelings like Guilt and Shame have played in our perception of redemption. We can be told over and over that we deserve happiness, love or prosperity, but until we forgive ourselves that tiny voice inside will continue to whisper that maybe we don't.
The journey to understand ones self is different for each seeker and the path one follows is not linear but rather tends to cycle back on itself as we revisit old issues within the context of a different terrain and strengthened by new skills and understanding. Many of life's problems don't disappear we just learn how to navigate the territory in a way that is more adaptive and safe than in previous attempts.
As a counselor I always felt that my work was more an art than a science although certainly a mix of the two. The same applies to the path of the spiritual seeker. We evolve safely by respecting our own timing and unique quirks. It hardly seems possible to find comfort with one's place in the Universe if we haven't even become comfortable in our own bodies. It can be cruel to ask of someone to part with their Ego when we have only just barely begun to know her. Those of us who surrendered our Selves to a drug, a relationship or any lifestyle that restrained our true expression of self, are fully aware that the journey back to the self is a long road. We also know the path some frightening twists and turns and that the temptation to avoid raw, authentic self discovery is as seductive as it always had been.
Probably the most potentially frightening bend in the road is that we will actually like ourselves. And once we like someone we expect nothing but the best for them so that's a pretty scary notion.
On a more mundane level the same could be said for letting go of our ideas about prosperity...welcoming prosperity in our lives. Are you freaking kidding me? Do you know what kind of a relationship most of us have had with money in the past? We have spent our rent money on other things than rent, risking (and sometimes falling into) homelessness. Chances are good we've been stolen from, taken advantage of, had our belongings broken by an angry or jealous partner, we've had to sell personal belongings to pay the rent (or worse). Money hasn't exactly been associated with consistency or comfort. Along with liking ourselves, now we are expected to accept the frightening prospect of admitting we deserve something nice, or that it will last.
Last week I wrote a mini blog called "Redefining Prosperity" This was a sort of self imposed homework assignment. I have decided that prosperity and abundance are not bad words, it was my definition and perception of the words that was twisted.
My perception is always developing, hopefully toward a place that is more clear, forgiving and comfortable with Me. For me that is the Big Spiritual Awakening.
"And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without."~from The Charge of The Goddess, by Doreen Valiente
Retrieved from Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), , at sacred-texts.com
© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard
Posted by Jennifer Hazard at 8:02 PM