long blog series about cultivating spirituality, but we've reached the top of the scale. At the high point (7th/crown chakra) of all of us is our ability to connect to God/the universe. I use God and the universe synonymously, by the way. To me, God is all, and the universe is all. You can substitute in whatever creator spirit you believe in if you don't like those terms. Print out this blog, and use it like a Madlibs. =)
Ya Gotta Have Faith
At this point in the progression that I'm writing, faith may not seem like a make or break thing to have. Life may still be going on reasonably well. You still have the glorious illusion of control, and you may also have the wonderful illusion of self-sufficiency and independence. Faith may be a kind of afterthought that if you were asked, you'd be like, "Well, yeah, I believe in God, but we don't speak that much." Ohhh, but that will soon change. That will change.
Your connection to the universe is the golden cord that pulls you through your spiritual awakening process. It elevates you into amazing high states and holds you through the low points as you clean out the issues that have been holding you back, making you play small, and making you play by someone else's rules. It is an energy source for healing and to help modulate the expansions and contractions of the spiritual path. (When you really start moving through things, you break out of the old box. But the box helped to moderate the ups and downs of life. Now you need a different way so you don't feel totally manic and crazy. Faith and divine connection do that.)
Connecting to God
Nobody can make you believe. I sure can't. Going to church or reading spiritual texts can't make you believe either. Arguing about the existence of God can't help. Connecting to God is a matter of faith. Faith is a matter of trusting in a bigger and more expansive Truth, Love, and Beauty than exists around you. If you're asking me to show you how to believe, I can't do it. Your connection to the universe and the huge energy flow that is all comes from an internal letting go. Let go of what you think is real and reach upwards.
Prayer can help you start to create that dialogue with God. It's a practice for the rational mind to kinda talk itself into believing in God. If you want God to give you a sign, don't hold your breath or have expectations. In my own life, I've seen enough little and big signs to feel looked after by a higher power. I have a much longer story than fits in this blog post about being kept awake by strange flashing lights in the darkness of my room one night as a kid. The moment I turned on the lights a huge black widow spider crawled out onto my bedroom wall. It was freaky, but it drove home for me the sense that I am watched over. If you ask for a sign and you do get one, you also have to be open for it to come in a way that you might not expect.
Atheism and the Spiritual Path
Atheism is tough to generalize. So many people put themselves in this bucket because they look at church abuses and the way religion has been used in the purpose of ego to start wars and hurt people (crusades in the middle ages, Islamic extremists in today's time, and so forth). From that standpoint, they said, "Forget God and church if they let this kinda crap go on." Others may not believe anything because they're so lost to the rational mind and want empirical data for God. But no one can give you a cup or gallon of God, at least not in the way that that request is being asked. Still other atheists may be working off some older version/definition of God that is too small, but they never really questioned it. If you told me that God is an old bearded white guy, I wouldn't believe you either (God is much, much bigger than that).
But if you start down the spiritual path, you will need to find your sense of faith in something much bigger and more loving and more complete than exists in this physical world. The physical world will disappoint you again and again. This is a fallible place. Horrible things do happen here, but only through faith and our connection to God will we find the strength to heal so much pain in ourselves and in others. Starting down the spiritual path and moving into the awakening process takes a tremendous amount of commitment, energy, love, and faith. You are going to see all your worst parts--all the stuff that you thought you'd hidden away from everyone. It will come back now, and you're going to need tons of support--more than just a spiritual community can do, although that is important.
While I know that many atheists end up in Buddhism, I think the Buddha often gets idolized into a kind of God-like role along the way. I am not sure how that works for people to awaken--it's seen so many Buddhists go so far and then get stuck, usually in their minds. But along the way, Buddhism will encourage you to have faith in the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dharma (the teacher, the spiritual community, and the teaching).
Connection Evolves Into Healing on the Spiritual Path
Because we've reached the top of this pyramid in the blog series, it's about time to go back down. Few people can simply connect to themselves and the divine on multiple levels and jump to awakening at this point. Some can. If you can, that's a beautiful gift. But even then, you may move into an amazing space of spiritual awakening for a time before having to come back to heal some pain or issue that suddenly stops the awakening and embodiment of your true self.
For most everyone else, it's time to start cleaning out. This is normal. Healing is normal. All the frustrations and old pains re-felt are normal. But when you come from the spiritual path, now you have some tools to start to remove the poison from your soul so that you don't have to live with this hurt or react to this pain anymore.
Next blog: Healing a Crisis of Faith