I’ve had cause to ponder this question over the last few weeks, as someone close to me judged me as being a “spiritual beginner” because of the way I deal with my feelings and emotions.
And I had to stop and process that, and see what my truth within that judgement was. I choose to see anyone who “pushes my buttons” or causes me distress, as a potential gift, one who may shine a light on areas that I need to look at – even if the outcome of that self-enquiry is simply that I need to have more faith in myself and place less importance on the opinions of others who may be dealing with their own limitations. But I do the work of going within, asking the hard questions of myself, and I am very fortunate to have a wonderful counsellor to discuss these deep issues with.
So in this process of looking at the way I express myself, I have come to understand that my ability to be in touch with my often very strong and powerful feelings, is a strength and a gift, and can be used to create empathic bonds with those around me. It requires an enormous degree of honesty and integrity to allow feelings to free flow, and to use the feelings as a method and tool of growth and evolvement. To supress, deny or mask my feelings would be tantamount to living a lie – and I choose the path of feeling my feelings to a depth and degree that facilitates my own process of self discovery and allows me greater insight into myself and the world around me. I am still dealing with the challenges of vocally expressing and communicating these feelings at times, so this area is a current work in progress.
However, there is a common misconception that spriritual enlightment appears in only one form – that of the “zen” like monk, embodying a posture of serenity and grace, transcending emotion and attaining a level of peace that is not disturbed by emotional reactions to the good or bad circumstances of life. That is one path, and if that is your understanding of enlightment that is beautiful, but it is not the only path. There is a danger to watch for in this particular journey, and that is to not be so invested in the image of peaceful perfection, that you suppress your emotions in the interest of appearing to have attained that enlightened state.
Like religion, spiritual evolvement can mean many things to many people, and for me personally, being able to fluidly move with feelings and be in the thick of “humanness” and to use that to relate and connect with other people, I consider spiritual strength, and not a weakness. There is still an enormous amount of peace and serenity to be found within a powerful feeling life, and I am proud of the passion that I bring to my work and my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.
Spiritual beginner? No. Enlightenment attained? No. On a path that is authentic and real, learning and growing? Yes.
Have you ever encountered “spiritual superiority” from anyone in your life? What was your experience of that?