With all the noise in the air currently, I find many (myself included) wanting to pull away from the global conversation about viruses and the economy and fixate instead on things that pique personal interests. For me, I feel most normal when I’m looking into the abnormal and playing with the cosmic forces that I feel we’re here to explore.
A little virus with a big impact makes one want to turn inward.
So, I explore my roots in spirituality and recall the books and conversations that have enriched my view of experiences like this pandemic. In the need for normalcy, I look up to the heavens with my feet planted firmly in hearty earth. There is a great peace considering the “great work” of growing as a spiritual being in a physical world with all its realistic constraints – restraints that might hit the reset button on this life and spiral us into a new incarnation.
It makes one consider how we view spirituality in this day and age and what we’re doing with it.
The airy-fairy hippie days of new-age thinking has approached a change in attitude. I’ll date myself by tossing in a back-in-my-day, but yes, back in my day getting information and knowledge about spiritual practices outside of the norm or away from a church was difficult and felt shady at best. Even Buddhism was a little on the iffy side despite the Dali Lama’s shining, happy face.
Forget talking candidly about being a healer or having visions or seeing lights and colors (energy) swirl around your vision. The word psychic has been tainted and exchanged with intuitive because of sketchy TV hotlines and “seers” with fake Jamaican accents. Show caution when talking about the big voice that creeps in your thoughts and knows just what you should do if you’d only listen. They might lock you up. They might see you as an outcast. I was certainly afraid to speak my truth.
When I was young, there were secret-ish bookstores with crowds of the curious, gothy patrons, Wiccans, and everything in-between. The common denominator among them is that they were all afraid to be outed because the neighbors wouldn’t just talk, they’d shun. A few were already shunned and simply lived as they pleased.
But, regardless the judgment was there. Do you believe in astrology, rituals, deities, and that malarkey? You might as well be a caveman. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to read more about immaculate conception, angels, and the greatest (supposedly) healer of all time. Frankly, I find those beliefs fascinating as well. They challenge my preconceptions, and with an open heart, I feel the intent that came from the origin of such stories.
Yet, the general sentiment from society was shame.
If you were lucky enough to find that little crew of questioners, you had the most brilliant of conversations. The essence of those magical conversations comes from uncertainty. To tread out without seeking an answer but simply delving into the questions. True wisdom comes from being aware of the vastness of the unknown. It’s a Buddhist principle, actually. It calls for us to keep a mind that doesn’t know instead of inserting fiction – the illusion – of our preconceptions. In not knowing, you find your true will and create a genuine effect.
Things have changed. In this “modern” day, we see so much connection happening between the digital threads of our online world and so much sharing of knowledge that many are realizing that the practices they were always curious about aren’t so much hocus-pocus. And, even still, we shy away from the taboo.
That’s what most people (back in my day) would feel about magical practices or energy healing or working with spirits. And, the use of that word is ironic. Do you know its roots? While it can mean that something is repulsive to a culture, it’s also a word for sacred.
Something can be considered so holy that it must be handled correctly or not at all.
I think that the holiest things, of course, are the ones we touch and feel. Holy is something that comes from our association with it. We know it when we experience it, and one can say that it comes from our inner self and is inspired by that which is outer. But, as I’ve grown in my practice I see that both are one in the same – outer elements enlivening the pieces of our psyche that resonate on the same frequency.
To me, the holiest of places have running water and ancient trees. You can feel exceptionally tiny there, walking off the beaten path. Then in a heartbeat, you can feel as large and grand as the rock spires that fill your vision. When surrounded by the looming power of the natural world it is difficult not to feel its sacred nature.
Do you know where that word derives from, sacred?
There are many sources for the use of the word, itself. But, one definition comes from the concept of leaving the safety of the village and stepping out into the wild. And, that’s what we’re talking about in spirituality, right? We step away from the known path and embrace something uncertain, something that makes us feel small.
Dwarfed beside mountains and rivers, standing among towering trees, and staring up at the immensity of the night sky, it is hard to feel anything but the sacred nature of the unknown and the powerful transformative nature of questioning.
I digress in a fantasy of the wilderness, but perhaps, you feel the same call for those wild places. Aren’t we all seeking a connection to them internally while here in our urban setting? Do you seek the sacred nature of your inner self by traversing the outer wilds or can you brave the wild places within? Are they any different?
It’s a tangibly beautiful and humbling experience doing so.
The landscape of the inner world is an equally fearsome badland, full of the pitfalls and wild beasts that would ravage us out in the untamed lands. There, the shaman would speak of fracture soul pieces, the healer of traumatic energy, and some might see ancestral baggage or karmic debts of past lives. Soul contracts and life purpose and enlightenment, oh my! What a breathtaking place to explore.
It feels the same as the wild places inside your spirit, and you can find yourself dwarfed by the enormous nature of your own inner world. Humankind, though, has a propensity to believe that we can control such places through systems and answers and definitive facts. These are useful for treading on sacred ground and help to dive in and back without losing one’s self to the feral lands. It would be foolish, however, to think we can tame our spiritual nature just as it would be foolish to think we can tame nature itself.
And yet, we try.
Energy work and energy healing have become more and more widely accepted in mainstream culture. Double-blind studies have been performed to showing actual physical healing from energetic work. Psychic reading and psychic phenomena are heavily documented and have been used by both the military and police force. Astrology apps run rampant and many business people use astrology to plan the direction of their companies.
There are even books that talk about the scientific aspects of magical practices, and many of the new age systems are old school witchery repackaged in a palatable box with a neat, tidy bow to satisfy our intelligent upbringing. The amount of research and data that supports our spiritual and magical world would make one feel validated. Though, hungry for answers, I think we miss the point.
Manifestation and law of attraction may seem like a new dawn of human understanding in the ways we connect and extend our will beyond the perceived sense of self, but to me, it’s just age-old magical thinking. The only difference I see is the refinement of the practices into easy to use daily work for someone that doesn’t want to have a cultural attachment to their spiritual pursuits.
The problem with it all is that we hope to find an answer.
Why does it work? That reveals more questions. The research and exploration that follows opens a vast world of curiosity. The pursuit of those questions with a passionate mind – one that is supple to change – is the foundation for personal and spiritual growth. You must embrace uncertainty to let go of the false realities that cause you harm.
Letting go of what you think you know can feel a touch insane, but in truth, abandoning a reality that tells us not to question is the sanest course of all. And, in all of that, I feel normal. The noise of answering the questions at hand can slip away into being a part of the moment – curious what the next step on this journey will bring.
Let go of your past and future. Let go of your knowing. Turn your focus here and now. Find safety in the sacred nature of living in uncertainty.