For the last several months, I have been getting message after message about how we no longer value the sacred in the modern world.
This has been paired with the realization that not many people may wish to hear about this. I find that there is a threshold for spiritual knowledge that people, even conscious people, do not want to cross. And it is generally because people don’t generally want to know about things beyond a certain point (probably not the best way to get readers to my blog, but oh well…) because they contrast with the sort of “brochure” or varying ideas about what happens when you connect, or become more aware, or follow a spiritual path of any depth.
Struggling with ideas, with concepts, especially dissonant ones to what we already know or wish to believe, is always a tall order.
We have a lot of struggle in our human form, in our human lives, and the ideas that we will be perfected Gods, able to manifest anything at will, in a state of bliss, emptiness, non-worry, and with perfect health and wealth (and immortal, to boot) is understandable anesthetic to a weary, worried soul.
There is no deconstruction of this illusion to the person who still needs it, as the idea that just around the corner, or next week, or if only we could reach some illusory state, we could achieve such things, is too appealing for any but those willing to let go of the eternal quest, the never-ending battles, and the spiritual void within.
Part of this is a realization that what most people call spiritual really isn’t. We are so entrenched at the mental level that we prefer the creations of our own minds rather than any sort of interface with the sacred. We have become so far distanced from the sacred that we no longer can interact with it or outright reject it in favor of what is known, or has been taught to us before.
I have been sitting with the past few months how I have now had many friends, students and clients who have had all sorts of guides and ancestors and spirits and so forth around them but they will consistently choose the sort of mental, creative visualization type interactions over spiritual connection.
This is in part how spiritual work is popularly taught, in part because of the framework of mental techniques and illusions or “brochures” that are much more appealing than any reality, spiritual or otherwise, and wholly because we have been removed from the sacred to such a degree that it is but a faint glimmer in our eyes, hungered for deeply but not found in the endless sea of mental techniques and illusions that masquerade as spiritual truth.
In shamanism, I could easily swing back to the “shamanism was brought to the West by psychologists and anthropologists and so is in a firm, mental container that really devalues and doesn’t recognize the sacred or at best views it as “other”– something somewhere else or in someone else. It does this to both erase any form of spirit contact– which may be scary to people indoctrinated with christianized values, despite them perhaps outwardly eschewing modern religious constructs– but also to make spirit palatable to a wide variety of people, some of whom are not ready, willing, and don’t need to jump off the deep end into the spiritual swamp. At its worst it is set up as a business that requires students to never let go of the quest, as that would mean they would attend less workshops. At its worst it has a variety of teachers that either know better, or are engaged in the same quest and brochures, with the same emptiness within. But as most people are at a point of feeling like they are immersed in chaos, drowning in their lives, the need for a simple reprieve from their lives and to believe that something, somewhere, is looking out for them and feels like they are special, is understandable.”
Such a spiel is correct (and has been stated perhaps less succinctly in prior blogs), and the need to feel heard, to feel special, and even to have anesthetic in this world is understandable. I am compassionate towards this, but the difficulty is that these things do not connect one to the sacred, or fill the black hole that has come from our disconnection to the sacred. It is simply more anesthetic and escapism, albeit in many cases more nurturing and less destructive than other anesthetics out there.
The vast irony is that we do have ancestors, guiding spirits, and so forth that would be more than willing to interact with us… but that they are not flat, brochure-like beings. They are as complex as you and I (or even more so), but they will generally have the effect of crashing through the vacuity and mental protections and beliefs one has constructed out of pain and wounding, and opening someone up to something far beyond the limited ideas of self (as well as ideas of self being the center of the universe, or in control of the cosmos).
To interact with any depth with the spiritual realms requires a moving beyond the mind, a moving beyond the mechanistic universe filled with what is known and can be explained, and a moving beyond the christianized framework that has turned the sacred, the spiritual, and spirits into a strict polarity; a polarity that is so far removed from the reality of the spirit world that I know whenever I hear someone describe the paper-thin notions of compassionate or non-compassionate spirits that it is doubtful that they have ever allowed themselves to experience anything.
The polarities, the mental explanations and mechanistic psycho-therapeutic techniques create a sometimes insurmountable block to authentically experiencing anything, and the fear that such polarities describe and placate means that we have lost belief, we have lost faith, and even if something is wondrous and divine right in front of us, even if we call ourselves spiritual and see such a thing, that we will quickly denounce it to get back to our known universe.
I have also been sitting with the fact that many students and clients report time and again that they have dark, evil, or harmful spirits after them. It is not as if such things do not exist, or that at times we are not affected by the spirit world, but the belief that spirits or the spirit world are specifically out to get people is such a dominant and illusory ideology that people create never-ending spiritual battles out of fear rather than any sort of genuine interaction.
I often struggle with painting a view of the spirit world that is not filled with good vs. evil, compassionate vs. non-compassionate, but is strikingly similar to our own world… where living people, as well as spirits, are complex and often traumatized, suffering, or just simply there.
Much like living people, spirits have limited interest or belief in you being the center of the universe, and the idea of you controlling the cosmos, or them, isn’t really representative of any sort of spiritual reality… (caveat: unless you are something like an experienced Solomonic magician, or a very experienced spiritual worker… and even then, spiritual work is a two-way street, not just taking from spirits and the spirit world with nothing in return offered).
The difficulty of such polarities, beyond the obvious religious framework that often needs to be deconstructed (even if the person has outwardly and enthusiastically denounced modern religious constructs) is that the idea of good vs. evil, centered on the Self, is too dramatic of a battle to let go of.
The vast and never-ending battle, the mythic framework supplied by such a polarity, all centered around the Self as protagonist, being pulled and affected by such forces, will be enacted again and again until the emptiness within is resolved.
Until the need for battle is resolved within.
When we are in this state of disconnection to the sacred, we suffer from the wounding that we are not enough, that we need to achieve and prove ourselves. In this state the wounded, limited aspects of ourselves need to be desperately seen and heard. It is rare that we are in our adult capacity– we are stuck as children experiencing the wounds our past, continually living out the beliefs developed from such wounding, and often expecting others to have the same beliefs and limitations (or to operate within them, which to our horror, they rarely do).
We become disconnected from ourselves from such wounding. We become disconnected from others by our experiences of our parents and others who did not see and hear us and nurture us to the extent that we required.
We become disconnected from the sacred not only because in our modern world such a disconnection is omnipresent, and connecting to the sacred is no longer an aspect of our collective, consensual reality (or deemed important), but because our disconnection from the natural world and from one another and our wounding at a personal level means that we view any sort of connection as something dangerous.
In our pain and disconnection we create grandiose myths and false selves. We imagine ourselves to be Gods, Goddesses, magicians, shamans, and enlightened, to prove to the world, and to ourselves, that the black hole is no longer present.
In this state we believe we need a quest, constant battles, a never-ending list of things to do to measure up. We spend our days proving to ourselves, and to one another, that we are worthy. We reach towards the next thing, and the thing after that, believing that the next outer teacher, modality, healer, course, or book, will heal the emptiness within.
The question seemingly would be how to help people move past this, but that isn’t really the question, as people will move past such things when they are ready to.
Even if never experienced, a connection can be formed. It is always lovely as a teacher to hear a student say “aha”, or to form the tools to appropriately and authentically interact with the sacred. It is life-changing to form this connection, as it means moving past even the illusion of having a black hole within.
Interacting with the sacred, that connection to it, always vastly changes someone, and continues to vastly change them. It allows for them to enter a state of flow, of grace, of communion, and entering a state of flow means that the Self, the limited, wounded Self and its ideologies, are always expanding beyond their current limitations… and in a continual state of surrender of those once rigidly held wounds, chaos, and ideologies. Such vast change is something to look for, as communion with the sacred will always change someone
Developing the inherent connection that we may only have the faintest memory of somewhere in our DNA does take a willingness to see. It takes a willingness to move beyond the mental, the need to know, the endless conversations we have within our own heads.
It often takes a willingness to look at what beliefs we have been handed down, and how we act them out. It takes a willingness to see how we need the never-ending battles, the ideas of a quest, the notion that we are acting out our “black hole” by simultaneously creating vast mythologies and sentiments concerning our importance out of feeling inwardly insignificant or wounded. It can require healing of those wounded parts that are so afraid of everything, that have learned somewhere along the line that connecting to ourselves, to one another, and to the sacred, is dangerous or simply wrong.
It does take disposing of the narrative that there are only some that are “chosen”; our modern constructs of the shaman idealize the chosen one, and neglect to point to an authentic history of many people of all walks of life interacting with the sacred as simply a part of their daily lives, a part of their waking reality. While there certainly some more attuned to the sacred, or who have been called by it (or to jump more deeply into the spiritual swamp), the inherent connection to the sacred is not just for a few. It is for all who are ready for it, and willing to see and interact with it.
But mostly it takes a state of willingness; the realization that you can connect to the tree in your backyard. That you can do so for the next year and learn more, connect more, and fill that black hole through being willing to surrender to simplicity, to feeling, to connection, and to seeing yourself as part of a vast web, rather than the center.
We are all droplets in the great ocean, we intermingle, connect, and flow. It is through this state of flow that we can connect to something greater than ourselves… and let go of the battles, the myths, and end our illusory quests.