My name is Mary Ann and I am an addict.
I have discovered that Spirituality, like anything else, can become an addiction. Somehow our culture has combined personal growth with spirituality into one and although connected somewhat, they are certainly not the same thing. Personal growth is about growing, expanding, learning. I consider spirituality to be a way of seeing the deepest part of ourselves and the world. A way of being, in which we are connected to Source, to nature, to each other.
In certain circles, being spiritual has become somewhat of a catch-all phrase. At times spiritual groups can often leave people with a feeling of inadequacy, or of not being spiritual enough. A sense of hierarchy often occurs where one feels less than, or beneath others. We have all been caught in the trap of feeling that more is more -so what do we do? We go to more seminars, attend more weekend workshops, spend more money on courses, we buy more books, another deck of tarot cards, more crystals, healing beads and try modality after modality in an effort to reach higher and higher levels of ascension. We buy into the belief that being spiritual will ensure the manifestation of all our intended desires, after all I have invested, this is bound to give back to me a good life and all my dreams, karma is karma right? It is a common belief that the closer we are to Spirit the more our dreams will come true. In both these scenarios, we run the risk of perceiving the world solely through the lens of spiritual advancement while nearly ignoring the very human factor of BEING ALIVE, of being in human form. We forget to live.
I, like some of you that are reading this, have stacks and stacks of books, boxes upon boxes of tarot cards, crystals coming out of my ying-yang, necklaces with sacred symbols that I have carried around with me, feathers and stones – oh my goodness do I have stones, galore. I have more stones then you could fit in my entire house. I bought these things because they made me feel good, more enlightened, more connected, more on the path and yes, more spiritual.
The biggest lesson of all that I have learned, from my years on the path of spirituality is that its all pretty simple. Spirituality is the awareness that underneath all of it we are all the same. You are no better or bigger or more important than me, or every other single human on the earth. We are one, seriously this is it. That awareness can not be bought in a store, it comes through living it, being in it, by being kind, showing compassion and love. Life is like a mirror of sorts, and yes, you do get back, at times, what you give out the good and the bad. It is that simple.
We are all equal beings, regardless of how many books we have read, how enlightened we think we are and how many courses we have taken, who we know, how many books we have written, how many followers we have on Facebook, the number of crystals or deities we have in our closet or hanging on our walls. We all have one thing in common and that is that none of us is calling all the shots. There is something larger than ourselves running the show. That is it. It’s the understanding of the human and spirit that makes life interesting. It is that in a nut shell. This is the underlying message in most of the spiritual books that I have read, and from almost all of the spiritual leaders that I have ever listened to.
If we’re always escaping into other realms, and collecting things to make us feel more spiritual, more enlightened then aren’t we all missing the point? We’ve lost connection to the curious, to the mystery and to what it really means to actually live life spiritually.
How do we break our addiction to Spirituality? We stop searching, and get in touch with reality and start living life. We start by looking underneath and then we look beyond. Its kind of like being advocates for our health, we have to be the captains of our own spiritualism. We have to be the leaders of our own lives, and start by living the life we are ‘in’ now instead of constantly chasing it. It’s always important to continue to learn new things along the way but by being selective about who we listen to, not buying into the consumerism of it, just taking bits and pieces from authors that you love, and remembering to stop and weave them delicately into your daily life.
We need to come to an understand that buying spiritual ‘things’ does not make us more spiritual. We need to sit in silence, every day, alone and also sit in acceptance. We need to spend our precious time here inside of our lives, using the beautiful gifts that we have been given to shine in the world, such as creating, helping others, being kind, doing the next right thing.
Don’t you find that we live in a culture that is forever reinforcing our sense of lack? We assume that by altering or escaping our external circumstances, we’ll increase our happiness. But life doesn’t work like this. If we’re forever chasing something outside of ourselves, whether it’s beauty, possessions, or even love, then we’ll be forever caught on a rollercoaster of disappointment.
The first step for me as a spiritual addict was to recognize it, and then do something about it. I gathered most of the spiritual books, tarot cards, stones and crystals that I have bought over the past many years that I have been beside me on this ‘journey’ and I put them into a really, really big box. (because I had so much ‘stuff.’ I even had doubles of items that I didn’t realize I had purchased and that I had never even opened) . I could not believe how much money I had spent on becoming ‘spiritual’. As I put each one in the box, I blessed it, thanked it for the lessons and the knowledge that I somehow felt that they gave to me. I will be the gifting these items on to others, kind of like recycling, paying it forward to help people along on their journey. I solemnly swear that I will not be purchasing any more Spiritual items.
My path now is to find joy and purpose and communion. There are so very many forms of beauty, and avenues to spiritual ecstasy. I am gathering moments over things and finding my special gifts outside on the beach or in nature and not in a store. I have finally figured out that the key to happiness is in finding my own path and harmonizing all aspects of life: the physical, the mental, the emotional, the creative, the outdoors and the spiritual but without the ‘things’, and that just because one can afford to buy more Spiritual things does not make them more Spiritual then the next person. Spirituality is in the doing, the being. It is in the picking up of the phone and calling a friend that you know is feeling sad. It is in stopping and breathing, being un-rushed so you are aware of what you are doing and how you are treating other people. It is to make decisions based on love first coming from a place of knowing, drawing from all of the experiences in my life and by trusting my own intuition, that has never let me down, for what is kind and good, and doing that. Choosing kindness. Choosing goodness and always doing the next right thing. It is in taking the time to honour my body by eating properly, exercising and in walking my dogs and spending time when my family. It is in the knowing that I am always leading my life with my heart. Always putting people before profit. It doesn’t matter, in the end what you have, it is what you are and what how you live your life that is what being spiritual is. This is the essence that will linger on in the world through your family and friends and the people who you have touched long after you are gone.
Spirituality is in the letting go, the exhaling, and accepting that to be alive is, in fact, a beautifully, and sometimes unpredictable and crazy, lovely affair. <smile>.