Updated: May 28, 2018
Spiritual practices, experiences, conferences, theories, and groups may be just another way your ego keeps you focused on the outer world.
If I catch myself wondering if this person can help me go deeper or if this group will help me connect more, I remind myself that “more” is impossible. Going deeper, assumes there is a level, some benchmark measuring my spiritual attainment. It’s like trying to rank my ability to be Lori when I already am a Lori. I can’t be more or less of a Lori. Similarly, we can’t rank our spirituality. We already are, spiritual, in its entirety, and nothing we do or say can change that.
The longing, the disconnected feelings we encounter represents our state of awareness, and not our level of spiritual enlightenment. Any negative feeling indicates that our awareness is focused on an outside experience or an ego generated plan of action to fill the emotional longing and disconnect.
Those on the spiritual path are not immune to the ego's desire to draw awareness outwards. It masks itself brilliantly as an energetic surge during a meditation, an esoteric experience, a physiological tingling, emotional shift, or collection of knowledge that is perceived as something done or achieved. It makes one feel special, unique, enlightened and let’s face it, it feels great. But now, after the experience, you may find that you are trying to recreate it. This simple desire to recreate it, may be an ego motivated desire because it perpetuates the illusion that pleasure is triggered by an outside experience (this includes the body). Something you did, created that experience within you. Therefore, that seeking is actually drawing your awareness away from your natural state.
Any feeling of less than or more than, is an indication that your awareness has shifted. When your awareness is focused on the outer world (including the body), you are no longer in alignment with your true self. Feeling the desire to Guru others (more than), believing a manifestation is of your own doing (more than), superiority (more than), seeing oneself as chosen (more than), evolved (more than), needing guidance (less than), not there yet (less than), separate (less than), are all indicators the ego is active.
When I catch my awareness focused on the outer, I consciously draw my awareness inward and ask myself what am I believing that is drawing my awareness outward. For example, once I had a strong desire to travel to Europe for a week-long retreat to see a guru. By questioning my intent, I identified that my desire stemmed from my belief that he would help me go deeper in my understanding of who I really am. I was believing that, he knew more than I did, he had more abilities than me, that he was special, he had the power to create changes within me, and it would be faster to go to him than to wait for my own insight. I was looking for him to fulfill my need to feel satisfied, special, gifted, transformed, connected and loved. Even though it appeared I was aligned, because I was contemplating my inner spiritual self, my longing for more (negative feeling), and my inquiry, illuminated the limiting beliefs that were drawing my awareness outward.
It doesn’t mean we can’t go to see people, to read books to learn more about spirituality or receive treatments. It means that your intention for doing so may be the guidance you are actually looking for.
What do you want from the practitioner? The book? The workshop? The video? The class? The reading?
If you got what you are seeking, how would your life be different?
How are you hoping to feel after seeing the practitioner? Reading the book? Attending the workshop?
Your answers to these questions are guiding you to the beliefs that are making you feel separate. The beliefs, are what create the sense of lack or make you think something is missing. The feelings within you, the practitioner, the book, the workshop, the video, the class are all ways that the Universe is using to bring your attention to the limiting beliefs that are making you feel separate.
I have read many books, have sat in many audiences and participated in plenty of workshops. They all helped me to understand metaphysics, and positive psychology but what truly transformed my experience was the personal application of the teachings, every day, as often as possible, until it became my new habit. When the teachings became ingrained, I could feel it physiologically, mentally and emotionally, when my awareness swayed, and could draw my awareness back, inwardly, on who I really am.
Questioning limiting thoughts, intention and exploring negative feelings may seem like a lot of work but it’s vital to creating the new habit of tuning into your state of awareness Trying to find easier, faster ways outside of yourself to feel better is the ego keeping you busy, occupied and your awareness outwardly focused.
Lori Brant is the author of “The Happiness Toolbox: Finding happiness regardless of circumstances,” a motivational speaker, Life Coach and Life Coach trainer who inspires people to tap into their natural state of happiness rather than rely on outside circumstances. For more information about Lori, go to www.LoriBrant.com.