How to Relate to your Spirituality without Pissing People Off.

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Over the past 50 years, we have seen the rise of the new age movement.

We have broken down so many walls that religious and spiritual institutions have constructed. We now have a normalized perception that each of us, individually, has an interior purpose of the highest priority. People didn’t used to leave their marriages, careers, or families because they needed to “find themselves.”

However, as these walls have been broken down, I do believe we’ve lost something. Something is missing.

I believe that the new age community has lost a meaningful relationship with our interior world. We have a tendency to over-consume, to float, to ride this ego wave where our experiences start to replace the space in our hearts where our innate sense of worthiness should be.

When we start viewing ourselves as “special” because we have had these experiences, we piss other people off. No one likes being bragged to. No one likes feeling “less than.”

Especially when your “woo-woo” practices are being used to make you look above and the rest of the world look below.

Here are three ways I have found to combat the ego wave so many of us have been swept into:

Become a master.

We live in a society where dabbling is encouraged. This results in many of us floating from one spiritual hobby or experience to another without actually finding depth, real change or growth.

By hopping from crystals, to singing bowls, to another little Buddha, to the next hollow yoga retreat, we often end up still feeling empty or struggling with the same cycles and limitations.

These experiences have become a distraction from the meat of it—from the entire reason why we got into this spirituality thing in the first place. We have lost our gumption.

The word “transformation” is so overused it doesn’t actually mean anything anymore. The word is now used to sell shoes and yogurt. These various “spiritual experiences” become something to brag about, as if the more experiences you accumulate, the more spiritual you become and the higher you move in the new age hierarchy.

In addition to the lack of depth, the competitive nature of many of these spiritual circles always surprises me.
After being asked about my practice, I’ve had people respond with “Well I’ve studied with x teacher for 10+ years. It’s fine, I’m just at a higher frequency, I’m sure you’ll get there one day.”

I had a student describe to me what her body feels like when she is practicing energy work. She said, “My body and hands really heat up and I feel energy start to surge through me.” Another student jumped in and said, “Oh yeah that used to happen to me, and now it just flows right through my third eye. I must have moved beyond that.”

Similarly, I’ve had clients express to me that they are a godsend, a messiah, here to liberate the world.
I find this kind of spiritual competition and messiah complex to be a sign of a lost soul and scared ego. I am reminded that this path is not dummy proof.

The ego is tricky.

These comments, while often obnoxious and inappropriate, draw forth compassion from me—I am no stranger to a raging ego or status-driven behavior. I’ve said things I didn’t mean, and I’ve meant mean things I’ve said.

To truly enrich our inner lives, we need to stop competing over who has done more “spiritual stuff” and just pick something that’s important to us. Dive in. Go full out. Play big. Switch from being a dabbler to a master.

Doing it all doesn’t make us more deep. In fact, we might be missing the depth all together.

Hold grace within us.

Through my studies with energy workers, and new age spiritual leaders, I have had the experience of people “chatting away grace.” We’ve begun to treat our relationship with the spirit as something casual. So casual in fact, that the relationship becomes almost meaningless.

Friends and peers, even people I’ve just met, will tell me all the intimate details of their spiritual revelations and holy encounters. These experiences are posted all over Facebook. Many of these people are offended or confused when I don’t discuss my own experiences to the same degree, or when I don’t want to relate to theirs in the same way.

God is intimate. I love to relish in it. I hold the grace within me as long as possible. I allow it to nurture me. To penetrate. This is the most real thing I have ever known. By speaking about it whimsically or sharing my experiences with others on an impulse, I feel the specialness, the sacredness within my soul, start to dissipate.

I can feel its nurturing presence becoming just another experience or story to be consumed by our ever-so-hungry hearts.

Let’s let grace sink in and penetrate our souls. These experiences are meant for us and us alone. And unfortunately, no matter how well we communicate, words will never do that real, raw, holy encounter justice.

Silence.

Within the thickness of silence, we have the opportunity to just be. We stop forcing ourselves into mystical experiences. We allow for grace, instead of controlling it.

Acknowledging the brilliance of spirit can more easily humble and awaken us when we embrace silence. We can allow the vivid aliveness of it all to sink beneath and move us closer to an enlightened embodiment.

Sharing it, writing it, or speaking about it may just whisk all the magic and brilliance of it away.

Additionally, when you sit back in silence with others—especially during conversations—a genuine curiosity for the person we are talking with can begin to come up. There is now space for another person’s life and experience. We stop trying to prove ourselves or communicate an incommunicable situation. Soon, that curiosity will likely lead to more depth and understanding with our relationships.

Instead of sharing, sharing, sharing, we begin really relating. That is when silence can nurture and support us and those around us. We become grounded and anchored in our own mystical experiences.

And, people start to like us a little more too.

 

 

Author: Shelby Robbins

Image: Recovering Yogi, courtesy of Vanessa Fiola

Editor: Callie Rushton

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Shelby Robbins

Shelby Robbins is an alternative healer and teacher in Louisville, Colorado. Nothing else fuels her like showing up for others to hold space for their transformation. Her teachers and trainings have been many. After attending university in Squamish, British Columbia, Shelby landed herself in the hospital with a heart condition, where she met her first teacher. She apprenticed under this shaman for two years, learning about energy medicine while crafting her own soul’s stamina and shine. She has since facilitated trainings, workshops, retreats, and classes, leading adults and teenagers to their edges. Her studies have also led her to spending three months at a Zen center rigorously finding her path in meditation, completing a few 12-step programs, massage training, and deep dives into authenticity. She does heart-centered work rather then head-centered. Her mission is to help you claim the right to be ecstatically alive, in all the places that you touch the world.

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Jennifer Evangelista Jan 19, 2017 1:13am

Impeccable timing- thank you!