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“The worldly man learns something new everyday, the man of Dao unlearns something everyday.“ ~ Daoist quote
The concept of spiritual ascension or spiritual evolution—although noble when applied to the modern world of new age healing modalities—can actually be harmful and create more disharmony when approached from a place of fear, desperation, or lack of awareness.
Our culture is obsessed with accumulating more of everything and this obsession directly pours over into everything, even to the spiritual practices of modern healing modalities, energetic medicine, yoga, meditation, mantras, etc.
When approaching these practices without first checking in with ourselves, we ignore the root of our dissatisfaction—that is, we ignore the fact that we are not content with ourselves in the first place.
It is a culturally conditioned spiritual pathology which affects us all to a certain degree.
Here is one example of how this mentality can be harmful.
Have you heard of people within the field of spiritual practices such as Kundalini yoga, who have eaten “a healthy vegetarian diet” and practiced with dedication for years? They may even have been a teacher.
Suddenly they are diagnosed with throat cancer.
This happens fairly often amongst communities where advanced spiritual practices are handed down before the student is ready for it. In this example, my guess is that the rising energy of Kundalini brings with it the accumulated toxicity of possibly unresolved resentment or deep lower chakra blockages, resulting in extreme stagnation within the higher up throat chakra.
Another example would be the Daoist sexual practice of holding in ejaculation and recycling it throughout the body. When this practice is not done correctly it can make somebody manic and egotistical, sending too much yang energy to the head therefore severely disrupting the shen (spirit or soul) of this person.
This also happens fairly often amongst the Qi Gong community, where this practice is approached with a similar western entitled arrogance of achieving great power before understanding foundational techniques and mastering the basic philosophy of the practice.
Perhaps we could learn to remove the inner blockages, which have caused this sense of dissatisfaction in the first place, before we cultivate too much powerful energy around it.
The magic bullet might take the form of:
This new prayer.
This next supplement.
This next training program.
This new practice.
This life coaching program.
This new diet.
This next superfood.
This new pair of yoga pants.
Before we decorate our home, we have to clean house first.
We must see where the energy is not flowing within our home, and tidy up this particular area before we add more decoration. If we do not do this, we begin to create more stagnation within stagnation.
In Western medicine, a cell that does not die when its life cycle is over, while other cells are being produced around it, becomes cancerous.
This concept can be similarly applied to understanding why it is important to have a system of self-assessment and inner house cleaning before we take on more spiritual knowledge and wisdom.
It is our responsibility to first master simplicity before we can master the complex. More is not better, yet only exacerbates existing stagnation. Perhaps, avoiding disease is as simple as removing clutter and doing self-maintenance.
Another analogy to help visualize this conceptually is healing a wound. If we do not first clean the wound before dressing it and wrapping it, the unclean wound will fester.
In order to build a house, it must be on stable foundation.
A good way to hack your own human justification machine is to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you using these practices as a tool or a distraction?
- Are we using the accumulation of these wisdoms to hide from something which must be addressed eventually?
- Do we approach these practices from a place of lack, desperation, or ego?
- Are we truly in love with the practice based on the origins and pureness of its philosophy, or are we more interested in building an identity around it?
Author: Brandon Gilbert
Image: Darla دارلا Hueske/Flickr
Apprentice Editor: Aga Wyrzykowska; Editor: Renée Picard