The spiritual path is wrought with misunderstanding. Even more in modern times than ever before. With the internet flooded with “spiritual” content from both the wise and the corrupt, the foolish and those that are just trying to make a buck off of our naivety, it is more important than ever that we are being completely real and honest with ourselves, and that we are relying upon a core of internal clarity to walk our path and stay true to the reason we began walking it in the first place.
We are still in a very young phase as a collective human race. Like children having advanced knowledge shoved in our face, the one thing we do not have is solid guidance in how to interpret and apply such knowledge.
There are teachers, teachings, products, and seminars everywhere. But ultimately it is still completely on us and no one else to find what our purpose is, what makes us happy, and what is True.
It is my hope that reading about these three common spiritual misunderstandings may shed some light on your spiritual path, and help you steer away from the distraction, misinformation, and potential ignorance that could slow you down.
1. My Truth, your Truth.
You hear it all the time these days:
“My truth is….”
Or when someone disagrees with another person:
“Well that’s your truth, and my truth is…”
I think we need to reexamine the most basic definition of what the word truth means. Call me idealistic, but I actually do believe that the word “Truth” (or at least the meaning behind the word) is worth defending, revering, and understanding. It is about as close to being sacred or holy as anything else in this world could possibly be; enough so that I believe it is worth being spelled with a capital “T”, just as much as the word “God”.
Thus being said, it is absolutely important for us to understand that the word Truth, by its very definition, requires that it is the same for everyone and everything in order for it to be True. And this is far more important than me just being nitpicky about wording or proper definition.
If you are genuinely seeking to find the Truth, you are seeking for something immutable, something undeniable, and unshakably solid
You are looking for something that can be relied upon, regardless of whether your mind is playing tricks on you, regardless of whether you have faith in it or not, regardless of yours or anyone else’s beliefs. In other words, you are looking for something that is True, whether ego or self-delusion gets in the way of you being able to perceive it or not.
When we go throwing around a phrase like “my truth”, or “your truth” what are we really saying? We’re saying “I believe this” or “you perceive things to be that way”. Believe and perception are not Truth. Opinions are not
Truth. Do you see that there is a level of arrogance to us deciding to call these things Truth?
Yes we can say that we create our own experience of life; and everyone’s experience of life is completely unique, due to our different beliefs and perceptions that have such a profound and powerful creative effect. Yet that only further proves that these perceptions and experiences we have as individuals, that differ so widely from someone else’s experience and perception, cannot be Truth.
How can something be True for me and not for you? It may appear to be True, it may feel True. But it is not immutably True if it is not universally True.
Let’s say the sun is the Truth. The fact that the sun exists in the sky, and shines is Truth. When the sun is blocked by clouds, we could say that the sun isn’t shining. We could also say that the clouds are blocking the sun.
If we didn’t understand how the sun worked, we might even think that the sun went away, or turned off on days that it was blocked by overcast skies.
- Some people might think that the clouds in the sky have different motives.
- Some may even think that the sun hid behind the clouds on purpose because we didn’t act in a way that the sun wanted us to act.
We could tactfully call one person’s opinion that the sun has dimmed itself “their truth”, and another person’s opinion that the sun has actually shrunk into a smaller sized, less bright ball of light “their truth”. But what is the real Truth?
The sun is shining, whether we can see it clearly or not. That doesn’t change because of the way we experience that sunshine, or the opinions we have about why we can or cannot see it.
Something that is True does not cease to be True because we don’t believe in it. Something that is True can still be True, even if we are not able to comprehend or understand it. Truth is universal, immutable, and True for everyone, whether they understand it or not.
So why am I being so insistent in making this point?
Because you have no way of understanding Truth if you don’t know how to find it, and you run a serious risk of jading yourself and becoming arrogant if you decide it’s acceptable to call your own beliefs and opinions Truth.
It’s nice to give everyone who plays in little league soccer a Trophy, even if they didn’t win. And it’s nice to tell everyone that everything they believe is Truth, even if it’s not.
But what is the biggest obstacle to actually finding the Truth? Thinking you’ve already found it.
You can be more mature than that. In fact, you have to be if you plan to actually seek and find the Truth.
2. Mix and match spirituality.
Spirituality has turned into the next Baskin Robbins. The internet, bookstores, and community are flooded with different philosophies, techniques, practices, and products.
You can walk into a bookstore and find books on ancient Buddhist traditions, energy work, magic, the path of enlightenment, and anything in between for you to mix and match, sample, and try out.
One day you could wake up in the morning and do a little bit of Buddhist compassion meditation, the next day could spend time thinking about law of attraction, and focusing on manifesting the life of your dreams.
Later that night you could see an inspirational video about energy work and want to start pursuing that. Over the weekend one of your spiritual homies might talk to you about a cool new Yoga technique, and you might decide to give that a try, and then on Monday the next week, you’re reading that book on magical rituals that you picked up from Barnes and Noble a few months ago.
So what is the harm in this? Well there are few reasons why this is not a good thing. The first is that if you are constantly playing around with different knowledge, different philosophies, and different practices all the time, you’re never going to master any of it. You’ll just play around and never get the real results that come from a dedicated, serious, spiritual path.
Even more harmful than this, you might become jaded or arrogant, or even turn into that most annoying brand of “spiritualist” who thinks they know everything about everything spiritual because they tried a little bit of everything a few times here and there.
There is a huge difference between practicing something consistently for years of your life, and dabbling in something a few times before moving on to the next. Many truly profound practices do take years of daily practice. And there is a lesson in and of itself to be learned from having this kind of discipline as well.
The third reason why mix and match spirituality is harmful is this: You might mistakenly think that all of these different practices and teachings are all complementary when they’re not.
I can’t tell you how many people have assumed that I hold the same beliefs as them, just because they know I do things like Yoga, breathwork, and meditation.
Why? Because I’m “spiritual”, and they’re “spiritual”, and the stuff we both do is “spiritual”.
But I know for a fact that I am not walking the same path everyone I’ve met in “spiritual” communities and groups.
The fact that I’ve read and completed A Course in Miracles, does not in any way shape or form mean that I also want to know how energy cords are formed or attach from one person’s root chakra to another person’s heart chakra.
The fact that I meditate doesn’t mean at all that I agree that life is about having a spiritual experience while “being in my body”.
And the fact that I am willing to admit that energy meridians and chakras exist does not mean that I’m going to be stoked to read an article about “twin flame relationships”.
Sometimes us “spiritual” folk get a bad reputation with more conservative people, and to some degree I understand why. We need to understand that all this “spiritual” and “new-age” stuff floating around is not the same.
Some things are compatible, but some things aren’t. Some things are sensible, and some are ridiculous. And when we get to the point that people are predictably accepting anything new-agey or labeled “spiritual” into their life, heart, and mind, just because it falls under that stereotype, we are sinking into a state of mind just as blind and ignorant as the religious zealot, or the patriot that defends their country regardless of what it does.
There are actually many differing points of view that all sit in the same section of the bookstore with the label “new age spirituality”.
There is plenty of good stuff, and there is also a good amount of complete nonsense.
I guess what I am trying to say here is that we need to be picky, thoughtful, and critical of what we choose to practice, think about, and allow into our belief systems. And the fact that something falls under the genre of spirituality shouldn’t give it a free pass into our mind without being checked by the “bullshit police”.
3. Spirituality is About Learning New Information.
It’s common for someone’s path of becoming more awake to begin with a book, or having an experience that sends them on a path of learning, or being dragged to a talk or seminar only to find that it resonates with them in a way they never expected.
My spiritual path began by someone insisting that I read a book. And reading that book changed my life. Next thing I knew I had an unquenchable thirst to learn and read everything I could about chakras, meditation, breathwork, enlightenment, energy work, extra-terrestrials, holistic health, etc. That fire burned and burned for years.
But as common as it is for us all to move through a phase like this on our spiritual path, it is essential that we also understand that that is exactly what it is: a phase. It is the very first, most basic step.
We cannot “learn” ourselves into enlightenment or spiritual awakening any more than we can experience what it’s like to skydive by reading a book. The rush of adrenaline, the sensation of free-floating in the air, seeing the ground far below gradually rising up to meet us as we hurdle towards it at break-neck speed, could never be experienced second hand. And neither can spiritual truth or reality.
Often times people fall into a trap where they think that progress lies in that next teaching, that next philosophy, seminar, or book.
I recently had someone gift me a book. It was called something like “The 8 Laws of Spirit” (or something like that.) They proceeded to tell me about how good it was and how I was going to love it.
I browsed through to read the laws.
- One was balance.
- Another was Unity.
- And another was patience.
Now what exactly would learning that an abstract concept like “balance” is a spiritual law do for me?
- I already naturally strive for balance.
- I am already as intellectually aware as possible that everything is One (Unity). But what would cramming more knowledge into my head have done for me at this point?
Give me another thing to intellectually mull over as I move through my day to day existence? I already have too much junk in my head floating around.
I don’t need to move through my day for the next few months going “ok, yes, remember, BALANCE. Is what I’m doing following the spiritual law of BALANCE? Am I remembering Unity?”
We need to understand that the absolute best thing we can do to make spiritual progress is learn to shut the hell up and stop fueling the internal dialogue.
It is ego’s greatest trick to make you think that instead of transcending it, that the answer will be found inside of it once again.
So we move from thing to thing, concept to concept, each time thinking we’ve found something new and enlightening, even though we haven’t gone anywhere new. We’re still just inside of our heads, mentally masturbating.
The True self lies completely beyond the mind that absorbs and mulls over this information. Yes, the mind can be used to point you in the right direction, to help you start walking.
However spirit does not deal with intellect, it does not reveal itself to you by you thinking in the right way. In fact, thinking, believing, rationalizing, and “learning” is the largest block you will ever have to overcome to experience your True self.
There are worlds of “spiritual” people out there that can theorize until their face turns blue. They can debate and converse all about Truth, and meditation, and abstract reality. And yet, they’ve never actually been there. Instead of taking the step to experience it, they’ve fallen in love with their intellect, and hearing the way they sound when they talk about it.
Absolute Truth is wordless. It is impossible to describe. The very act of describing it removes you from the experience of it.
There is a certain amount of base knowledge that you must equip yourself with as you begin to walk your path. But the foundation is all you need. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the next thing you need for progress is more information.
One of the most valuable tools you have at your disposal is humility. However humility is not to be confused with naivety. We must learn to distinguish between the arrogant voice of the ego that says “I already know everything”, and the calm, self-assured voice of spirit that says, “I already know what I need to know.”
And how do we learn to distinguish between the two? With practice. Lots and lots of practice. Maybe even years of practice, and plenty of mistakes.
It is my hope however, that by learning to dodge some of the biggest pitfalls that we all seem to universally fall into, that you may learn that much more quickly and find your way to genuine peace and happiness as quickly as possible.
You can snag a free killer brainwave entrainment audio to try it out for yourself at: www.brainwavelove.com/free-powerful-brainwave-entrainment-mp3
Ashton Aiden is a certified life coach, a brainwave entrainment geek, a lover of dogs, and a passionate advocate of the human potential. He spends most of his time working through his website, brainwavelove.com, to educate the public on the powerful benefits of brainwave entrainment technology. When not doing this, he enjoys coaching people on the art of manifestation, providing spiritual commentary, and exploring the outdoors in his home state with his dog, Biff, and his girlfriend Dechen. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on facebook.com/brainwavelove