Each aspect within us needs understanding and compassion. If we are unwilling to give it to ourselves how can we expect the world to give it to us? ~Debbie Ford
My spiritual journey began when my life hit rock bottom at the age of 25. Some lessons can only come from challenging, painful and raw suffering. During this time, the Universe brought The Secret into my life. From that moment, it opened my heart to the idea that there is more to this life and the world beyond what meets the eye. This gave me hope, something to look forward to and freedom. If we create our lives based on our thoughts, this means we have the power to make anything happen.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature. ~Marcus Aurelius
During my spiritual search, I gathered wisdom, tools, gifts, and skills from each author, inspired and lecturer. I would digest each new skill, idea, and practice and try to make it my own. This desire to acquire spiritual knowledge has become a lifestyle, but at times it became an obsession.
What to Do if Your Spiritual Practice Becomes Overwhelming
I made it my mission to raise my consciousness and achieve the balance between being a productive part of the world while maintaining a spiritual connection with the Universe.
Reading and understanding spirituality has no meaning if not put in practice. Acquiring knowledge is meaningless if you don’t roll up your sleeves and do the uncomfortable, heavy inner work.
Numerous times during my spiritual journey I’ve felt discouraged with my practice. When negative thoughts arose, I felt guilty for the thoughts. I pushed the thoughts out of my head and feelings out of my heart. I said my affirmations, changed to positive thoughts and thought I “surrendered” the negativity by not thinking about the painful stuff. I made a “spiritual package” and continued to repress my feelings in that box. Over time the feelings would return when other life circumstances arose.
Recently, I found myself feeling a similar spiritual overload. I felt overwhelmed with what path I should take, what tools I should use and what daily routine I should follow. I was tired of the affirmations, tired of consistently trying to be positive and feeling guilty if I didn’t do my mindfulness practice.
Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~Carl Jung
If life is meant to be fun why was spirituality weighing me down? I realized there were a lot of emotions I had repressed and avoided by saying I “surrender” and “let go” of my feelings without actually doing the healing and inner work.
This time I did something different. I allowed myself to feel the negativity. Rather than disregarding my feelings, I acknowledged and felt the uncomfortable feelings and now am sharing them with others.
Each time my energy became depleted I realized a pattern I wasn’t allowing myself to feel my negative feelings and I wasn’t authentic in following my own spiritual practice.
All emotions, even the negative ones, have a purpose. If you don’t allow yourself to feel the negative emotions you can’t fully fill the positive ones. The goal is to acknowledge the negative feelings that arise and heal the pain that needs. Whenever I was repressing negative emotions I couldn’t fully appreciate the happy moments in my life. I was afraid that when this passes, the pain would be inevitable.
Each time I felt discouraged I wasn’t being authentic with my spiritual practice. There is no way to do every spiritual practice we learn. I had picked up so many different tools and advice from many different people and tried to do everything. This is not a sustainable spiritual practice.
Most of us try desperately to manage our minds, or better yet, to ignore or resist the continuous negative chatter that plays over and over. But we must address our internal negative dialogue if we are to succeed in creating a life beyond the boundaries of what we know. ~Debbie Ford
Our impatient society wants results fast. We want an easy “How To Guide” that will break down exactly what we need to do, think, feel and say to become enlightened. We want the timeline that change will be seen and we want results to be guaranteed. There is no universal template for life and no shortcut to reaching enlightenment.
Reaching enlightenment and higher consciousness is a very personal experience. Don’t emulate the spiritual practice of others, look to others only for inspiration. You are your own teacher. All the answers to your questions can be found within you if you silence your mind. I’ve learned the importance and purpose of understanding other people’s journeys are to:
1. Appreciate how different life paths lead to the same destination of enlightenment.
2. Understand enlightenment and higher consciousness is attainable by all. Many people before us and currently have reached the goal.
3. Know that others give us inspiration, practices, and tools that may or may not work for us. But those aren’t the only ways to reach a higher consciousness. Be open to finding your own way.
Ultimately, we have to use our own unique life experiences, karma, mistakes, and talents to fulfill our own life purpose and create our own joy. We can’t get bogged down with creating a perfect spiritual practice. Create your own journey, create your own rules, and create your own life path.