Monthly Archives: September 2018

Spiritual Orphaning, Mythic Realities, and the Biggest Misconception about the Spiritual Path

I recently opened my Facebook page to hear from people what they might want for me to talk about in a blog. One of the questions that I got via email was basically asking what the biggest misconception on the spiritual path is.

My answer is that unless you are directly experiencing the spiritual path, you do not understand the paradoxes that are a part of it.

I have been sitting a lot with the awareness of spiritual orphaning. This is the realization that the modern world has split from the Other, from the spiritual realms, to such an extent that we no longer believe them to be an aspect of our daily, lived experience.

My job as teacher has frequently been to get individuals to traverse the “hedge” into the Other, to move beyond the mythic creations and mental realities they have created for themselves (or at least to discern between their psychological and spiritual experiences) or at times to recognize how they are traversing said hedge and how they might do so in a more conscious, skilled way.

Within the hedge are our conditioned layers of reality– what we consider to be valid societally, personally, and culturally.

In our modern world we have a deconstruction of information going on. This is troubling in a lot of ways, and has led to the famous new-age adage of “everyone having an equal and valid voice”.

Any of us who are logical recognize the fallacy and danger of this, of letting wounded individuals with little information define our reality for us, but still it persists, and it is a growing ignorance, a growing energy that is schisming our reality to an even greater degree.

In my book, The Spiritual Awakening Guide, I talk about how the mythic and archetypal layers of reality are the last conditioned layers of reality. What I have been sitting with, along with the spiritual orphaning concept, is about how there has been a tremendous unmooring of this layer of reality.

We no longer are steeped in the stories,myths, archetypes and folklore of our ancestors. The mythic and archetypal layers of reality are intended to connect us– they are a bridge between the hedge and the Other.

What lies outside of the hedge is not intellectual: it is wild, it is ineffable, not able to be neatly managed and named and labeled by our minds, and so we carry back our experiences of it into civilization the best way that we can– through myth, through symbol and archetype, through breath (word, song, dance).

We are also intended to connect to myth the other way– from inside the hedge. This means that we look towards the archetypal and mythic to explain our human condition. To feel connected to someone or something outside of ourselves. To recognize that not only do we feel like we have the world on our shoulders, but Atlas does as well, and that it is a part of the human condition to feel that way. In that way we feel more connected, less isolated, and can in some small or large way lessen what we carry by recognizing ourselves as a part of a web, as part of that mythic and archetypal layer of existence.

But in our modern world we have unmoored ourselves from the mythic and archetypal. We have replaced our myths and archetypes with movies and movie stars, which can point to such things successfully, but tend to only perpetuate the isolation and rugged individualism of the modern condition.

When we are grounded in our mythic and archetypal realities they are a bridge each way– both in and out of the hedge. They deeply inform and are a part of our existence.

When we are disconnected from that layer of reality, we utilize the mythic and archetypal layers in a disconnected way. We perpetuate  and project our wounding and disconnection onto those layers of reality, with no connection to our daily lives or to the Other.

The reason that I am mentioning all of this is not only because it is so pervasive, but because the ideas and ideologies that are a part of the modern world that spiritual awakening leads to wealth, to perfect health, to a state of perfection, to a state of never having to contend with the human condition again, of a desire to move beyond the birth-suffering-death cycling of existence, are a result of this disconnected state, not one of connection or lived experience.

In a world that is incredibly separated from any type of embodiment (yet another split between the head or the masculine/thinking aspect of the body) and the rest of the body (the feminine, feeling, intuition, and spirit) we live only in our heads, projecting our wounded desires for perfection, for non-feeling, for control and knowing, for superiority (and the superiority/inferiority loop) again and again and again.

Our bodies are so filled with unprocessed emotions because we have lost connection to them, and so it is understandable that to a consciousness that is deeply afraid of death, on some level incredibly aware of its own trauma and wounding, that it would create a mythic reality in which specialness, superiority, immortality, perfect health, either a fixated state of perfect joy or a zombie-like state of never feeling again, would be its goals. The result is a “myth of becoming”: that if only one were awake enough, that life would be perfect. That one would be perfect. That none of us would have to contend with the messiness of being alive.

This myth never becomes reality, and so the person pretending perfection and enlightenment, as well as those striving for those states, on some level go through a loop of feeling inadequate or false again and again, despite what their outer mask might be to the world.

But back to those paradoxical experiences…

The processing and awareness of emotions so that you do not react to everything that comes your way as if it is specifically out to get you. A moving away from victimhood, a realization that you have, in fact, been the victim perhaps in many ways but a recognition that you do not need to remain as a forty year old with the beliefs and vantage point of a traumatized two year old.

A paradoxical release of needing to feel as if the Universe, and everything in it, is specifically centered around you, is specifically on your side, and a realization that nobody, no matter how spiritually connected, knows the totality of the cosmos.

With that comes feeling, perhaps for the first time. The allowing of feeling. The realization that our emotions are sacred messengers, not to be denied or transmuted but that bring us vitality and expression of being.

That emotion, in fact, is the carrier of dynamic spiritual experiences, of ecstasy, of spiritual connection and devotion. Not just the “good” emotions, but grief, and pain; a realization that love is not a fixated thing, a perfected thing, but a dynamic experience.

The realization of the parts of you that have not been living, that have in fact used spiritual communities and ideologies to give permission to the wounded aspects of yourself to not live, to not feel, that have caused for you to feel superior or inferior or separate yourself from others.

The moving away from the noise and chaos of the world, the recognition that many things that you once participated in lack meaning or were simply perpetuated loops or traumas, and then the realization of how precious and fleeting it is to be alive in human form, how sacred it is.

The reaching for the spiritual path to be special and superior, only to find out that what is seeking that specialness and superiority is what is wounded in us, that what is creating mythic realities within us that are based off of wounding are separating us rather than connecting us to the web of all that is.

The realization that much of the advice and spiritual teachings on this path are illusory, meant to give people permission to perpetuate wounds, to give people permission to not change, to not experience life.

A letting go of the admonitions and rules and guidelines and people just looking to perpetuate illusion and the superiority-inferiority loop out of their own wounding again and again in different projected roles and a turning towards and a revelation about the sacredness of being ordinary, of being human.

A return to daily life, to friends and family, and a recognition that the ordinary moments, the lived moments, are the most sacred and holy.

The realization and utter humility of discovering your potential– what you can bring into this world– while at the same time deepening feelings of humility, of how vast and deep and wide and extraordinary it all is.

The feeling of awe, of smallness, at the same time a recognition of how important human life is, how important your human life is.

The realization that the unfolding of consciousness, the spiritual awakening process, is one of evolution and “ascending” but simultaneous descending.

The paradox of realizing that the spiritual path confers the ability to deeply ground and embody in your humanness. The recognition that birth-suffering-death are simply a part of life, and bearing witness to that instead of reacting or creating mythic realities to attempt to escape it.

A revelatory process of recognizing imperfection and the utter sacredness of that.

These paradoxes are not experienced if we are projecting into ungrounded mythic realities, if our spiritual experiences are not lived and embodied. There is a vast difference between ideology and lived experience, between the projection of what our wounded selves desire and create to not face the emptiness and pain within, and the experience of moving beyond the illusions and healing what feels the need to perpetuate those realities.

It is by healing these wounds, by healing these rifts, rather than perpetuating them, that we can move forward into evolving into who we are meant to be, and what our potential is in this world.

P.S. I do recommend my book The Body Deva if you are interested in such change, or my book The Spiritual Awakening Guide if you are interested in the conditioned layers of reality and the spiritual awakening process.


Personal Mythology and the Superiority-Inferiority Loop

We are continually creating myths regarding ourselves. In The Spiritual Awakening Guide I talk about how our mythic and archetypal selves are the last constructed level of our being– myth and symbol being a bridge between the truly ineffable (pure spirit) and the constructed layers of reality.

Put more simply, if we are interfacing with the Other we may lack words that can ever describe the wild, exhilatory terror, beauty, and expanse of such experiences.

We do have dance, art, poetry, breath (words) as well as symbol and myth that point to such experiences.

Such pointing does allow for some of that beauty and terror to filter through to others who are looking to interface with the Other, or who are looking to interface with it in a new way, but when something moves from what can be only deeply felt and directly known to related, some aspect of falseness, however small, arises.

The best way I have heard our relationship with the “Other” described is through the “hedge” metaphor: within the hedge is what is known, established as fact, and the personal, familial, and societal-religious constructs that make up our conditioned reality.

To go beyond such a hedge means moving beyond a mind that seeks approval from such conditioning, that requires control, dominion, and to feel safe or at least complacent in such a known. We know what to expect from ourselves, from one another, and from our reality within the hedge.

In The Body Deva, I talk about how at the base of our being, we have a central myth that propels us into being. We may have many myths regarding ourselves, and although they can in some regard motivate us, they are restrictive energies because such myths tie us to expected behavior and an expected trajectory.

Such myths can also come from a deeply wounded place, and can serve to perpetuate wounding patterns or loops.

The main way we create our ways of being in this world are through loops. Loops are the repeated thoughts and patterns of being that we find ourselves doing.

We repeat the same phrases, find ourselves doing the same things again and again, or perhaps find ourselves dating the same type of person and having the same arguments again and again. Or perhaps we are in the same relationship and continue to have the same pattern of relating, the same arguments.

Loops primarily come from trauma. When we experience trauma that cannot be processed or resolved at the time, energetically the aspect of ourselves that was traumatized becomes frozen in that experience. That aspect of ourselves then “loops”: it recreates the same scenario, the same beliefs, again and again in the outer world.

Ideally it does this to find resolution and healing. But most of us lack conscious awareness of our loops and so we act out personal as well as transpersonal loops: the traumas of our family, ancestors, and past lives, again and again, without awareness.

We do not create the world. We externalize our inner reality onto the world. This is the basics of “shadow work”: the usage of the external world to see what we have to heal within. What creates reaction in us beyond an understandable or appropriate response for the situation is showing us something that lies unhealed within.

What we project onto the world are these loops– we are constantly casting characters in a play based off of our loops. The most common loop is that of small child looking for mother. Or father. We may spend our entire lives looking for the mother or father that our inner five year old never received the appropriate care from.

We look towards our gurus, teachers, relationships, friendships, and other places, continually casting this character of “mother” or “father” to play out this loop. The difficulty is that we are going to find someone casting their own play, and we are likely to find someone with the same exact wound as our own to engage in this loop with.

The other difficulty is that it is not our current selves that are looking for their mother or father. It is our inner child, and unless that inner child is healed, the recreation of this loop by our adult selves is never going to be satisfactory because the cast role or play is never going to be quite right because it is playing out in the present day and with different players.

Beyond trauma, loops are also created out of societal and religious conditioning, as well as biological mechanisms. These are the sort of layers of awakening– first we awaken to our own trauma, as well as transpersonal trauma (family, past lives, ancestry), then we begin to awaken to conditioning, and finally we come across biological and atavistic instincts.

Our loops in large part come from trauma. They also may come from a long-past biological instinct and/or survival instinct.

Put simply, if we had fire at one point when another person did not that might have meant our very survival.

While there can be a discussion of many different kinds of loops, the most basic form of looping is the superiority-inferiority loop.

All loops have internal and external components to them. The superiority-inferiority loop is one we enact in the outer world because we do not have the consciousness to recognize that we are projecting our inferiority complexes onto external reality.

As far as externalization, this loop can be enacted in a few ways.

First, we can externalize our shadows (the rejected aspects of self, what is unknown or unconscious within us) of competency and mastery onto others. There are many teachers, gurus, bosses, and so forth who are participating in this myth that are only too happy to accept people believing that they are special, chosen, enlightened, and so forth.

While there are certainly individuals who may be more conscious, competent, and skilled at whatever area we are talking about, beyond a certain threshold of consciousness, what you realize is that everyone is enlightened– we just may have a lot of “gunk” covering that up.

A competent guru or teacher in the spiritual space will not re-create or perpetuate this myth, but see others beyond it. Their role is to help others see their own light. Anything else is a perpetuation of this loop.

Second, we can maintain that we are “superior”, “special” or continually point to others that we feel are inferior to ourselves. This is also an aspect of our shadow.

If we do not feel inferior, we do not need to spend our days convincing others how special, enlightened, and so forth we are, or continually find ourselves pointing to our shadows of inadequacy in the outer world.

What happens when we are traumatized is that we become isolated and disconnected. Out of that initial rejection, we create mythologies regarding ourselves. This is often a myth that will allow for the wounded inner child to continue isolation or separation patterns to ensure safety.

A mythology of superiority or being “special” is then created by the individual and they can spend their entire lives believing this perpetuated mythology. It is only by questioning who needs to believe such a mythology that the wounded and isolated inner child is seen.

I have met so many individuals in this space that spend an incredible amount of time saying how much other people suck, or how they are not “real”. They continually create mythologies about being “chosen” or having “special knowledge” because they are externalizing their inner insecurities and shadows onto others.

This is the superiority-inferiority loop: if we point to others, that means that we are setting up an illusory binary in which we are “real”, superior, enlightened, have mastery or attainment because other people are inferior.

If you have any sort of interface with the Other and see what is commonly sold about some of the topics that I discuss: kundalini, spiritual awakening, shamanism, etc. much of what is being sold and bought is quite silly.

Often it is perpetuating this very loop and the mythology of being special and thus superior. People then take on this mythology, rather than doing the hard task of wondering why such a mythological construct is needed, or what in them truly feels inadequate or not special.

Of course education is necessary, but discerning the motivating factors behind our actions and words is always key.

Quite simply, most people are just fine within the hedge. Moving beyond it requires considerable amounts of personal responsibility as well as deconstruction of personal and collectively conditioned reality.

Realizing and feeling compassion for people being where they are, and realizing why people create and participate in the loops they do, can allow for there to be acceptance of what is, both within and without.

The shadow that really broke me of this loop was a reasonably well-known author whose every post was about how new-agers are horrible. A friend gave me his book, and I realized that he was a very wounded five year old who had set up his whole existence by projecting this new-ager aspect of himself onto others. He was a new-ager, quite simply, but as he was a few steps beyond the people he was pointing to, he could always find more external people to be angry at.

This led me to realize that in the modern world, we are profoundly spiritually orphaned, and that even though I have been a spiritual worker professionally for fifteen years, there will always be a part of me that is impacted by Western christianized, psychological spiritual frameworks.

Taking back projections like this one are always difficult. This loop is so incredibly pervasive, and we create mythologies in large part because they not only explain our existence but we can project our inner pain onto them. It is a lot to ask someone to consider to deconstruct them, but it is well worth our time to do so.

My book, The Body Deva, allows for someone to heal these loops. It is a method of body-based self-inquiry, and working with the book at a more in-depth level you can begin to use the world as your shadow, and recognize your loops, and ask where in your body you are holding them, and to resolve what lies unhealed within them.