Monday, June 29, 2015

Finding Alignment With Life

spiritual alignment, alignment, spiritual awakening, awakening alignment
One of our newest and most popular spiritual terms is "alignment." People are trying to find alignment with life, with relationships, with jobs, and other things. It sounds like a pretty difficult thing to do if you listen to some of the ways people are talking about it. But alignment isn't a difficult thing. Finding alignment with any moment is a process that isn't a process. It's a letting go of ideas and beliefs about how some thing should be so that we can interact naturally with what is.

To be sure, people have buried their intuitive and natural responses under a huge pile of pain, suffering, and wounds. This is why feeling in alignment with life seems like a big undertaking. We are so lost, bemused, and confused amidst our suffering that being in a natural flow seems like a foreign reality. Sometimes when people first start to touch it and things get a little bit easier, they can't believe it. Life is surreal. It may feel too good to be true.

And to be sure, being in alignment with life does not mean that things will always be easy. That's not how this world works. Pain is not an inherent sign that we are out of alignment, although more than a few types of pain and suffering are signs that we are. With all that said, let me explain what alignment is (especially for those of you who are like, "what is he talking about?") and what alignment means to us the deeper we drop into the awakened space.

What Is Alignment?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lost in Spiritual Bliss: Reclaiming Your Self From the Trap of Good Feelings

spiritual bliss, bliss, spiritual awakening, flowers, tree, blue sky
The big bang hits--or perhaps an understated shift that ripples profoundly, and you wake up. Life is no longer the same. One moment it was this way. The next moment everything was different, and for some of you, that opening of realization and clarity brings enormous spiritual bliss.

Now, I'm not talking about a good-feeling, spiritual high that lasts a few  hours or maybe days if that. I'm talking about the bliss state that can last weeks or months or even years. Yes, it can feel so good that you never want to come back down from it, and who would even think that there is something wrong? When so many traditions and spiritual people are saying that this is what you want, if you get it, why would you think to question it?

But the truth is that any human experience is transitory. The awakened self is no more aligned with blissful good feelings than with sad, dark nights (which often come after the bliss for a variety of reasons I'll talk about shortly). However, the human ego that wants to hold onto blissful feelings is very much at play, and it can cause a person to make a lot of poor choices and miss opportunities.

This is also a time of a lot of ungrounded mental truths. A truth understood only mentally such as "we are all love," is not understood at all. From this space of profound clarity come huge blindspots at the outset of awakening, and people often give up relationships, possessions, homes, jobs, and more to attain some type of purity that is unattainable (because we have always been pure consciousness and love). In an interesting way, these misunderstandings tend to lead towards the dark night and energy crashes where they can be illuminated, and the bliss state ends.

Ultimately, reclaiming yourself from the trap of spiritual bliss is about allowing yourself to experience it without holding on to it or turning it into anything more than another a human experience. Doing so will allow yourself to get out of the trap of good feelings and naturally bring about your next level of spiritual growth.

Stagnating in Bliss: How Can this Feeling Be Bad?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Spiritual Bypass: The Illusion of Avoiding Your Difficulties

spiritual avoidance, tree, regional park, spiritual awakening, spiritual bypass
Here's a fun phrase: spiritual bypass. It's gotten popular as some people have realized that's what other people are doing on the spiritual path. As always, it's easier to point out what others are doing wrong rather than to look at oneself, but there is a lot of truth about this.

Oh right. What's a spiritual bypass?

A spiritual bypass is attempting to use spirituality to make yourself feel good all the time and avoid your difficulties. It is an attempt to make life safe and predictable, and it is couched in "spiritual" words and done by doing "spiritual" things. Sometimes, it's done by leaving "society" for spiritual communities to get away from all these "unconscious people." Sometimes someone ignores or abandons difficult relationships because they're not "spiritual" enough people. It can be attempted in a whole host of ways, but ultimately, the spiritual bypass is an attempt to avoid oneself and the difficulties and pain inside of them.

The truth is there is no such thing as a spiritual bypass, and if you are attempting to avoid aspects of yourself mirrored to you by life, then you are still unconscious and are not walking the spiritual path at all.

Rose-colored Glasses and Promises of a Better Life

Monday, June 15, 2015

How to Become a Better Spiritual Parent

spiritual parenting, spiritual parent, spiritual children, spiritual kids, spirituality and parenting
These two cuties are my long-time student, Brandy's sons.
The spiritual path is often misunderstood in many ways, and one of the misunderstandings that I commonly hear is a confusion that somehow parenting and the spiritual path are in conflict with each other. Many people believe that living a domestic lifestyle full of diapers, paying for college, and helping on homework assignments can't coincide with walking a spiritual path. This immediately shows some important misconceptions.

The spiritual path is always here and now. It is about engaging with whatever is going on in the moment with all of your attention and doing your best to remain open-hearted. These spiritual truths are so simple, and that's why anyone and everyone can walk a spiritual path, including parents.

Furthermore, in no other vocation is so much on the line as being a parent. If you're a parent reading this, I want to emphasize that you are shaping the world. If you are helping your children to stay open-hearted, present, and engaged with this moment, then they'll likely grow up into more loving, well-adjusted, and kind-hearted people. If you are ignoring, neglecting, abusing, or doing something else unkind to them, then they will likely grow up to be fearful, hateful, ashamed, and/or depressed people. Those types of people spread even more pain in the world. Happy, whole-hearted people typically spread kindness. That is the nature of our human behavioral patterning for 90% of people in my experience. They act out what they see and learn from childhood. Just as you are doing unless you've done a lot of self-work.

In this post, I'll offer my thoughts about spiritual parenting, but I've also included additional perspectives from some of my students who are parents. I hope you take the time to read through this longer than usual blog post, and if what I say may not resonate for you, hopefully some of the spiritual parents' thoughts below will help you to see how spirituality and parenting are a natural fit, how vital it is to be a spiritual parent, and how you can become a better spiritual parent.

Being a Spiritual Parent in the Here and Now: You Can't Be Anywhere Else

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Webinar: Achieving Your Highest Spiritual Potential

spiritual growth, spiritual potential, spiritual achievements, spiritual awakening
The topic for this spirituality webinar was a request from one of my students, and I think it's a topic that definitely needs our attention. It needs our attention not for actually explaining how to achieve your highest spiritual potential but to help you understand the ego self that is seeking this end goal.

Now, let me be clear; at the outset of a lot of spiritual journeys, many people need this kind of self-improvement mentality. When you're dealing with abuse, old pain, addictions, and the general inertia of being stuck in old patterns, having the aspiration to achieve some kind of potential or goal is extremely useful. It gets people moving.

However, as you mature on the spiritual path, this idea of achievement becomes increasingly problematic. We have to ask what part of us wants to achieve something and why?

What is potential? And when you've achieved this "potential" what will be different?

What will you have that you don't now have after achieving this goal? Why do you need to achieve something?

Is this pursuit an embracing of something or actually a running away?

These and some other questions I'll offer will hopefully help you to delve into this idea so that you do not get trapped in a pursuit that will keep you blind to the truth.

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Achieving Your Highest Spiritual Potential Webinar Full Description

Monday, June 8, 2015

Giving Up Something You Don't Want to Give Up

spiritual awakening, spiritual letting go, tree, leaves
One of the watershed moments of the spiritual path--a moment when somebody starts to understand what this path and this life are all about--is when they have to give up something they don't want to give up.

I can't tell you when it'll come. It can come early on your spiritual journey or late. It depends on you and your particular ego-self. Some of us with particularly sneaky egos actually want the spiritual path, so some of the initial things that get left behind are easy to do. But, this is because we don't really have an ego investment in them. So what's really interesting is when someone well on their spiritual path has to give up something that they are invested in.

This type of choice happens to most sincere parents all the time when they have kids. They suddenly are forced to grow up by putting someone else's needs first. For many adults, they've never actually done this before, but the further we grow, the more often life will challenge our attachments. However, it is the first really big time that we have to let go that can really set the stage for future growth or continued grasping, and I felt like helping you prepare and/or let go in this spiritual blog post today.

It Was All Going So Well...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

9 Spiritual Truths to Live By

I know a lot of spiritual truths can sound esoteric and unrealistic. When someone says that we're all one, what does that mean really? And how do you live that truth in your daily life?

In this spirituality blog post, I offer a number of spiritual truths that you may have heard. I offer my brief explanation about the spiritual truth, and then below it I give you a short list of suggestions for enacting that truth in your daily life.

I hope that these little explanations and ideas for living spiritual truth make spirituality a little more accessible to you. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.


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Spiritual Truth 1: We Are All Connected

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Uncomfortable Truth About Being Open-Hearted

The uncomfortable truth about being open-hearted means that you accept all of your emotions.

When you read that on this spiritual awakening website, you're probably not that impressed. You may think, "Well, yeah. The heart is open. It lets everything come and go. Sure. What's the big deal?"

Let me say this again.

The uncomfortable truth about being open-hearted means that you accept ALL of your emotions.

All of them. No emotion is left out. Cranky, crabby, scared, tired, bored, awkward, angry, and all the rest are accepted just as much as happy, joyful, grateful, loving, and so on. Every comfortable and uncomfortable emotion you can have is allowed in an open-heart.

Are you understanding this now?

Probably not. I say this not in a derogatory way, but in referring to the physical reality of this truth. Many of my students conceptually know this for some time, but then one day as they're sobbing in a coffee shop, it hits them that that experience is also part of being open-hearted. Having the inner heart strength to be with whatever emotion arises and then the openness to let it go are both essential elements of being open-hearted. Because if you start to hang on to upset emotions, you'll only collect tons of pain. This is, truthfully, part of why so many people find being open-hearted so uncomfortable. In the initial phases of opening our hearts to ourselves and to life, a host of blocked up unhappy emotions typically gets pushed to the front to be released. Doing that means you have to feel them, and then you can at last be free of them.

Closing Our Hearts: The Clogged Emotional Body

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