Tag Archives: Spiritual Journey

The Divine Nature of Losing Faith

I have been searching long and hard for answers to the nature of my own existence.

Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? How should I be in this world?

And all I have managed are teasers. Momentary experiences of peace. Realizations that though they are powerful, they are far too brief in their duration. I watch videos, read books, meditate, walk through parks, sit in silence, and all I have obtained is this false sense of progression.

I look for changes in my day to day life. Of how I react to certain situations and if it is reflecting any spiritual growth. When I argue with my wife, attempt to board an airplane, or deal with any of my natural fear triggers, am I reacting in a spiritual manner?

These reactions, whatever they are, form the basis of the definition of what it means to be me. If I don’t like what that definition is then I head back to the drawing board. I watch more videos, read more books. meditate more, try to have more peaceful walks through parks, etc, etc, etc…

This is the cycle that has repeated itself over and over. But ultimately I have reached a point where I have lost faith in this process. Nothing Eckhart Tolle can tell me will provide me with the ultimate answers to my questions. No Mooji video will leave me completely enlightened. No walk in the park will lead me to heaven.

This world can offer me nothing concrete for the answers I seek.

So I stopped. I stopped trying to extract proof from this world. I stopped burdening my experiences with divine answers. I stopped asking life to reveal my true nature. And I stopped looking to my reactions as a definition of me.

And it was wonderful.

Have you ever looked at something without expectations? I don’t think I ever have, at least not for a long time. When I would see a tree, I expect it to teach me stillness and beauty. When I spend time with my children, I expect them to show me what joy is. When I listen to a river I expect to learn about the natural flow of life.

And so I had placed walls around my experiences. And even though these expectations were created in pursuit of the ultimate truth, I had fixed the game right from the start so that I could never find the answers that I seek.

By losing faith I tore down these walls.

This loss of faith revealed that the truth cannot be pursued externally. Anything that comes to be through perception will never become the truth of who you are. This realization frees not only yourself but the world around you. The tree can now just be a tree, the river can just flow downstream, and a child can just be joyful. In this playground of infinity your soul will rejoice.

Who you are can never be defined by experience. When you know this, when you truly know this, you are free.

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The Relationship Between our Individual and Collective Spiritual Journeys

Our spiritual journey is unique. It will be different than anyone in history who has ever undergone this transformation before. Such a realization can be incredibly lonely and frightening.

When we start down this path we find our first guru and we read about the circumstances of their enlightenment. We understand their suffering deeply and believe that we feel exactly as they did prior to their shift. We read about their dark night of the soul, or their dramatic shift in perception, and helplessly try to recreate it for ourselves.

We start out treating enlightenment as if it comes with a manual. Sometimes even the most profound spiritual texts initially sound like this. We all know the instructions. You must surrender. You must accept the present moment. You must be still. You must be the witness. It’s almost like a to do list that we need to scratch off to become enlightened.

And after numerous attempts at mimicking the transformation of spiritual gurus I came to the realization that my journey is completely my own. I don’t know if, or how, I will become enlightened so I can not walk on the path as if I know where it’s going. I can not do something and know if it is helpful or a hindrance to my transformation.

It’s at this point out of sheer desperation that we reach out to the collective. We share our experiences and listen to the experiences of others. We scour the internet for wisdom and then share it with those like minded souls. We meditate, do yoga, have a realization, and then have this powerful instinct to communicate with those undergoing the same struggle.

It is this desire to share with the collective that fuels my individual journey.

What if I couldn’t blog? What if there was no YouTube? No Twitter or Facebook? Many of us may think that the world would be a much better place, and to a large degree I believe they may be right. But from another perspective social media has enabled me to create this huge community from which I find wisdom, and hopefully to which I contribute some myself.

The simple existence of this community has kept me moving forward. It has propelled me deeper into spirituality than I ever would have gone without them. Through my community I find encouragement, compassion, empathy, guidance and knowledge.

However, there is most certainly an element of sharing that strengthens the egoic “I”. It is the part that feels good when a post gets a lot of likes, or the part that feels excited when an original quote gets retweeted. The irony can get quite thick when you get a large response on some wisdom you had shared about not being your thoughts, and as a result start thinking how clever you are.

But perhaps the ego has a vitally important role to play in my personal journey. That as my ego seeks validation through a increasingly larger spiritual community I am also pulled deeper into the realm of spiritual seeking. As I surround myself with vast amounts of spiritual texts, lectures, and gurus, I increase the chance that I will ignite my transformation through encountering the right person, or hearing the right bit of wisdom.

Or maybe, and this is what I believe now, the greatest lesson I will learn through immersing myself into all things spiritual as a means to enlightenment will be its complete and undeniable failure. Perhaps this is where I will finally learn what surrender, acceptance, and stillness truly is.

The End of All Fear

Is it possible that I have always known deep down in my heart that the real me will never die?

It’s a curious question that lifts my mood upon thinking it. There is quite an obvious intangible feeling to being alive. But without a ready explanation we instead attach our fate to our bodies.

But that force that animates us, how could it be subject to harm? It’s that place within, it’s like a room without walls, where all things pass through but never stay. How do you harm a room?

If I take a memory from decades ago and then contrast it against my most recent memory, what is it between the two that hasn’t changed? I can sense that there was something then and now which has remained untouched by time.

The speed at which the ego infuses us with the fear of death is the biggest clue that it has something to hide. Something so threatening to it’s very existence it must force our attention elsewhere so the best kept secret in the history of humanity is never revealed.

There are absolutely countless phobias in the modern psychologists handbook, and I am sure most, if not all, can be traced back to a fear of death. The ego has masterfully exploited this fear into a most complex web of anxieties.

But perhaps the answer to all of that which plagues ourselves, our planet, and the key to the end of all fear is this simple obvious realization:

The real me can never die.

The Pine Trees

I live in Ottawa, Canada and last night around 10 centimeters of snow fell. As I got into my car this morning it was still coming down but it was quite tranquil. There was barely a breeze and snow falling this way does an excellent job of muffling the sounds of the rat race. It wasn’t sticky snow but was nonetheless gathering quite significantly on the branches of trees.

When I arrived at work the snow had stopped but the air was still calm. Then without much warning the clouds parted and the sun shone bright against a sky blue backdrop. The sun has been a rare sight in Ottawa lately so I took special notice of this. It hadn’t been out for 5 minutes when I noticed the wind was starting to blow. The snow that was laying softly on the ground was now starting to be thrown about by this ever increasing breeze. Looking into the distance each building had developed a white halo of drifting snow.

This quick change in the weather caught my eye and I stood from my desk and went to the window. What was a stiff breeze now became a gale. Snow everywhere was flung from it’s resting spot and visibility was decreasing with each passing gust. I looked towards the front entrance of my building where three or four 40 foot pine trees stand bunched together. They seemed either unaffected or protected from the dramatic shift in weather, but then something incredible happened…

As if some universal threshold was broken the wind reached such a speed that the branches could no longer hang on to their snow. In one swift punch from Mother Nature the pines disappeared into a cloud of it’s own blowing snow. The trees were violently shaken by the indecisive wind direction until all it’s branches lie clean. As the snow all moved along and the trees became bare I experienced a definite awe in witnessing such a simple event.

Soon I began to realize that what I saw had profound spiritual undertones. The gathering of snow on the branches was similar to how we add layers upon layers to ourselves. Then there was the sun busting through the clouds providing a sign of hope. With the appearance of the sun the winds start to dramatically change. The environment becomes turbulent and more violent. Often, in a spiritual journey, after the first signs of light things start to get worse before they get better. Then as if the tree can take no more it releases the snow and carries it’s burden no more. The pines stand barren, simpler and free. The winds still blow but those pines barely seem to notice anymore.

Random Thoughts on Spiritual Awakening – Part Two

Why is honesty so hard? My writing often feels forced. Whether I am trying to be too poetic, or poignant, or prophetic it is struggle to stay true to who I am. I am writing as if I am the person I want to be, not who I am. I struggle. I doubt. I suffer. I feel hopeful and hopeless. How can I write so much about abandoning thought when I still feel so trapped in my own? I have my moments and I try to write about those moments. They often lose power in my words.

I am afraid of honesty because of how vulnerable it will reveal me to be. I have been through some pain but it has been self inflicted. My life has been good. By good I mean nothing compared to the struggles of others. There has been no divorce, no cancer in anyone close to me, no drug addictions, no serious financial issues, nothing that typically would make someone suffer. I was single for a long time (married at 36) and I think near the end of my bachelorhood I was being pretty hard on myself.

My honesty feels superficial. I can only be honest to the extent that I am aware of the truth. There I go trying to be poetic again. There is alot of uncertainty in me. Alot of “What right do I have to express such deep truths?” I am consumed by this spiritual journey. Unfocussed at work at times. But other days, when I have some sort of breakthrough, I am very motivated and productive in both my leadership and execution. Many days I think that my spirituality will lead me away from this desk and thus I seem to value it less now. Of course that is not really accepting the present moment.

Last night, I had a moment of clarity. If you can forgive the spiritual lingo I will try to explain. Looking around my family room the feeling of oneness was strong. I could feel the underlying beingness of all things. Everything I looked at had in it the same thing that was deep within me. There was no separation. And without separation there is no I, no identity, no me. I may have eyes and ears but it was not me looking. It was the universe looking upon itself. And if there’s no me, no individual life, then there’s no individual death. That force within me will continue on in all things long after my body goes. I must sound like I’m off my rocker…

In my spiritual journey I am trying to have experiences like this but I wonder if I’m actually having it or is it just because I have read about it. I do actually feel peaceful during these revelations but it fades quickly. Last night was great but only this morning was my mind overactive again repeating my same patterns.

When I go to work in the mornings I regularly take a few moments in my car after parking for a little reflection, some writing, trying to get my head straight. This morning I found myself asking what do I need to do to have a more permanent shift. The response came that no thought would have saved me from my thoughts this morning. There was nothing I could have done differently. I am relying or hoping that some key thought will present itself that I can use in those moments to set the ship back on course. This is non-acceptance. From thinking that something needs to be changed. I wrote that it’s like trying to pour water into a cup that’s already full. I am already complete and in trying to change myself I create the problem.

Lighten Your Workload

To observe
To define
To derive meaning
This is the pattern of pain

In response the seeker attempts
To be an impartial witness
To accept
To be aware

True acceptance annihilates the acceptor
The term loses meaning and function
If you never knew war
How would you know peace?

A speck of awareness
Precedes all thought
You may be lost
But possibility renews eternally

Is it not enough to see?
Lighten your workload
Be simple
Find goodness