We are never ‘there’ on the spiritual journey
The spiritual journey must be experienced, not Googled. [MC]
How is my spiritual journey going? I feel it’s not going well at all, but I have a sneaky suspicion I’m right where I’m meant to be.
Sometimes I remind myself of that kid in the car who continuously asks: ‘Are we there yet?’
We live in an era where we have instant access to knowledge, so embarking on a journey is relatively simple these days. With a push of a button, GPS tools can quickly guide us to our destination, even pointing out the obstacles along the way. But when it comes to the spiritual journey the dynamic changes. There is no road map, no GPS, and, as frustrating as it is, there is no instant answer matters of the soul. The spiritual journey must be experienced, not Googled.
In my last blog I wrote enthusiastically about being awakened to my feminine soul. It was a beautiful moment of awakening and, for a few days, I was ‘fist-pumping’ with euphoria and enthusiasm. I instantly became, or so I misguidedly thought, a voice for feminist spirituality. I had finally shed my spiritual confusion and found purpose. I was ‘there’! And it felt wonderful! But I began to feel unsettled. The more I read about feminine spirituality, the more I realised what little I knew. I didn’t know what I was doing or how to get ‘there’. Everything I tried went nowhere. There was no doubt I had been awakened, but what the heck, I did not know what to do. As it turned out, I needed a few basic lessons on the spiritual journey, and I want to share these with you.
We are never ‘there’ on the spiritual journey
When you awaken it’s easy to think you have got ‘there’. All awakenings are momentous. For me, being awakened to a feminine divine has been a cataclysmic shift of everything I know. Most awakenings are. So, I guess it’s understandable, that when we finally arrive at our ‘oasis’ moment and drink in the sweet breath of awakening, we think we have finally arrived at our destination. That we are ‘there’. But we are never ‘there’ on the spiritual journey. The ‘oasis’ is only a resting place before the start of the next phase of the journey. Over the past few weeks I have been reminded of a previous ‘awakening’ which occurred some years ago with, ‘What if everything you perceive me to be is a lie? I thought I was ‘done and dusted’ with that awakening. It was ten years ago. But these words are as rousing, and as apt, today as they were then. That journey never ended as I thought all those years ago, but this time, at the start of my new feminine journey, they are taking me much deeper. Which brings me to my next point.
It’s not about distance, it’s about depth.
I feel a bit like an onion. The layers are peeling off, albeit, a bit too slowly for my impatient nature. But I’m learning the spiritual journey is not about how far you go or how fast you get there. Peeling off the layers means going deeper – not forward or further. If we look at the spiritual journey as a destination to be reached quickly, a distance to be travelled, we can get side-lined by unnecessary busyness. Given the momentous occasion of an awakening, we are enthusiastic and raring to go, so we busy ourselves with what we think will suit our awakening. And we do this with great gusto. But all we end up doing is forcing the journey to go nowhere. We encounter detours, dead ends and eventually drive off the cliff. You cannot control the uncontrollable. Going deeper means allowing the layers to be peeled back – not peeling them back yourself. You literally cannot control or dictate the way you want spiritual growth to go. German-born Eckhart Tolle says,
“As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.”
Listen to the whispers as well as the shouts
When we have an awakening, it hits us with a roar. There is no mistaking a shout from the soul. It floods us from head to toe with a sense of awe and exquisite joy. But the whispers, just as important, are not so easy to hear, and all too easy to ignore. But in the whispers are the lessons. The spiritual journey takes trust, courage, discernment, and a truck load of brutal self-honesty. It’s the whispers that nudge, irk and bother us until we listen to what they are revealing, forcing us to accept the truth about our humanity with a confronting self-honesty.
What has become a bit of a blow to my spiritual ego is the knowledge that, even though I experienced such a meaningful awakening, I am hesitating, reluctant, half-hearted in my commitment to see this part of the journey through. I am dragging my feet. In the whispers I see my fear of the upheaval my new awakening may bring to my quite comfortable existence. What say it’s all nonsense? What people will say? When I look at these obstacles, I don’t think I have the will to go through with it. Not my proudest admission. Yes, in the whispers are the lessons that carry knowledge. We have to listen to the whispers as well as the shouts.
No spiritual journey is the same
One of the reasons I had a wee ‘crash’ after my latest awakening was that I forgot a golden rule of the spiritual journey. No journey will be the same. Every journey is unique and individual, just as every individual is unique. The journey is about discovering your own true self, not someone else’s. When I was awakened with the discovery of my feminine soul, I immediately began to follow the path that author Sue Monk Kidd walked when she was awakened. I had been reading her book, ‘Dance of the Dissident Daughter’. I was incredibly inspired and excited by her story, so I began walking her journey and copying her methods and activities, her symbols and rituals, to get ‘there’. It didn’t work. I became confused and impatient at my lack of results. But if we are truly to discover who we really are, then our journey will be different, it will be unique, and it will unfold in its own time. Thirteenth-century poet Rumi says,
“It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”
At my weekly yoga class we always start with the ‘grounding phase’. The goal here is to create a space to invite in presence and an acute awareness of breath and body. I was just settling down when the yoga teacher switched on her music and out came the lilting melodic tones of Alexa Sunshine Rose with her song, I Release Control.
“I release control,
surrender to the flow,
that will heal me”.
What beautiful words and I let them wash over me. I knew without a doubt they were words for me. Comforting and reassuring, I was exactly where I was meant to be on my journey. But this time I am not going to hurry and get ‘there’. No! We are never ‘there’. Where is ‘there’ anyway?