The Dark Side Of Spirituality by Luke Miller

I think it’s safe to say that spirituality is indeed a good thing. The problem is that some people can enter the spiritual world with a pre conceived misconception that it is going to be an all-round positive experience.

Spirituality is not one thing and can be expressed in multiple ways. Some will find enlightenment through their work, others through religion, others through spiritual practice like meditation and yoga, others through the use of psychedelics and others by just expressing themselves in a positive way through kindness, compassion and love. No matter how you find the spirit within you, there is no right way of doing it.

What is spirituality? Spirituality is a very misunderstood term, some equate it to religion and while it can be related it is not an exclusively religious thing.

The spirit is the essence of a person, that elusive thing within us that makes us naturally behave in certain ways. When the mind is quite and all is peaceful all that’s left is the spirit.

You have your 4 levels of health- the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. All but the spirit are easily defined, measurable and explainable, the spiritual side of things is a little more mystical and hard to explain in a short sentence. But it is still a real thing.

One thing that will be present in all spiritual practice is consciousness. Consciousness is hard to define as is spirituality because again it is not one thing, but to make things simple consciousness on an individual level is your awareness of a thing, even if that thing is nothing.

One of the problems that can arise as a result of expanding your consciousness or awareness is a hard slap around the face of reality. It’s almost like The Matrix’s when Morpheus offers Neo the red or blue pill. Once you take that red pill reality can be hard to comprehend.

Spiritual practice and the expansion of your consciousness is like dissolving a barrier that has been slowly put up throughout your childhood and adulthood- through education, society’s expectations and family and friends.

Once this barrier is down it opens up the floodgates for all the good there is, but also the darker side of the world.

Firstly if you look at the collective consciousness you will see a lot of disharmony between people. As you walk down the street you will see peoples pain and on a global scale you will see how terrible the wars and suffering are. That’s not to say you didn’t see some of this before but once awakened it can be hard to ignore.

The second thing is your individual consciousness, once activated this spiritual awareness is like the holding up of a mirror and while it will help us to see the good in ourselves and others it can also help us to see the mistakes we are making and where we are going wrong.

Spirituality makes you face your flaws, the pain you have caused and the negativity which lies within you. Sometimes it can make you question who you are and what you stand for. It will also help you to realise the pain you have locked away and at times this can be a lot to bear.

One of the things that is common to experience is an initial feeling of euphoria when you reach a certain level of spiritual development and while this euphoric feeling is great it can often set you up for unrealistic expectation of yourself and others.

For some it will manifest in an expectation of others to understand your process and while it is good to have people around you who are on a similar path, it is ultimately an individual journey.

Another misconception is that a spiritual awakening is the end goal, when in reality it is just the start, it’s a bit like capturing a wild lion and expecting it to be tame. You have to nurture your spirit and continue to ask questions. Sometimes you will not like the answers and at other times the answers will not always be clear, but if you persevere you will find what you are looking for.

Taking the road of spirituality can be both the most difficult and rewarding thing you will ever do and it’s important not to get attached to your current situation, you will usually find that the dots connect and nothing you have ever done has been pointless.

One of the most important things you can do to minimize stress and anxiety, is to trust the process and know that if you continue to move towards your goals the only thing that can stand in the way is time or if you decide to give up.

When you can separate the darkness which we all have from the light and understand that both are normal and necessary it will make the road a lot less bumpy. Different states of mind serve different purposes and when you get to know your own emotional cycles and how they affect you, you can use these states to perform at your peak.

Ultimately making a conscious effort to grow spiritually is the best decision anyone can make. Spirituality will inform you of the truth, positive or negative and once you can face that truth in your own life growth will be inevitable!

Source: lukemiller@truththeory.com
bodymindsoulspirit.com

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A WAY TO GOD: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey ~ Matthew Fox

This powerful book was prompted by an invitation Matthew Fox received to speak on the centennial of Thomas Merton’s birth. Fox says that much of the trouble he’s gotten into — such as being expelled from the Dominican Order in 1993, after thirty-four years, by Cardinal Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict) — was because of Merton, who prompted Fox to attend the Institut Catholique in Paris to undertake a doctoral program in spirituality.

Fox reimmersed himself in Merton’s journals, poetry, and religious writings, finding that Merton’s marriage of mysticism and prophecy, contemplation and action closely paralleled that of Meister Eckhart, the thirteenth-century mystic who inspired Fox’s own Creation Spirituality. In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.

A Way to God creates a methodology for understanding the vast contributions that Merton made to the history of spirituality. Readers will rediscover the beauty and depth of Merton’s thinking and his pioneering work in bridging the religions, as well as discover a new dimension to Merton: his journey as a Creation Spirituality pilgrim.

Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed theologian and spiritual maverick who has spent the past forty years revolutionizing Christian theology, taking on patriarchal religion, and advocating for a creation-centered spirituality of compassion, justice, and resacralizing of the earth. Originally a Catholic priest, Fox was silenced for a year and then expelled from the Dominican Order by Cardinal Ratzinger for teaching liberation theology and Creation Spirituality. Fox currently serves as an Episcopal priest, having received what he calls “religious asylum” from the Episcopal Church. With exciting results, he has worked with young people to create the Cosmic Mass to revitalize worship by bringing elements of rave and other postmodern art forms to the Western liturgical tradition. He has written more than thirty books, which have sold over 1.5 million copies in sixty languages. He lives in Oakland, CA.

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Matthew Fox on Thomas Merton

Published on May 11, 2016

Bestselling author Matthew Fox introduces his book A WAY TO GOD: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey and provides an overview of the vast contributions that Merton made to the history of spirituality. For more info http://bit.ly/1XlGa0w.

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