By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
Spirituality is what we make of it, and nothing stops us from experiencing it uniquely. It’s probably harder for people who follow strict religions that limit their freedoms, but even then, it’s only as impossible as we make it. There are always little things we can do or little changes we can make to the way we think, and we can’t give up on our unique beliefs if other people condemn us for them.
If you consider yourself a Christian and you start to entertain a belief or lifestyle that goes against what other Christians consider acceptable, there’s a chance that the people around you will criticize you and maybe even try to ‘convert’ you back to their way of thinking – even if you never left Christianity in the first place. It can be disappointing when the people who mean the most to you won’t accept you because of a slight change in your beliefs, but this is the sad reality for a lot of people.
I can’t imagine what it’s like for people in religious families who abandon their faith altogether. I’m sure the numerous attempted conversions would be enough for most people to see that their religion isn’t as tolerant or accepting as they once thought, and while it’s tragic, their family’s refusal to accept them could actually liberate them more.
Let’s move away from Christianity and into more alternative beliefs.
Maybe you’re interested in deeper spiritual concepts that are associated with the New Age movement or other, similar forms of alternative spirituality. Maybe you’re interested in astrology, meditation, connecting with the ‘higher self’ or spiritual guides, or using crystals to heal the mind, body and spirit.
Even if you don’t want to be, you might be generalized and considered a ‘new ager’ – not just by society, but by other people who share a similar perspective. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because we want to connect with like-minded people and share what we’ve learned about life and spiritual evolution, but it can have its drawbacks too. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but they’re still worth mentioning.
The main problem that could arise is that like-minded spiritual seekers could expect you to share the exact same beliefs as them and live your life in a similar way as them. They might be surprised to learn that you practice your spirituality differently or you have a different personal philosophy, and if they’re too convinced of their own perspective, they could take the same route as radical religious people and condemn you.
I’m not saying every spiritual person is like this, but nobody’s perfect and even if we think we’re ‘enlightened’, chances are that we still have some flaws we don’t realize at the surface.
One of those flaws is the tendency to reject people who don’t think the same way, which is exactly what religion does. The rejection of free-thinkers is one of many reasons people rebel against religion, so why would we want to do the same thing with our spirituality? We’d be repeating the same mistakes religion has made, and unfortunately, some people repeat them daily.
Religious people aren’t the only ones capable of condemnation, and open-minded spiritual seekers run the risk of falling into the same traps. It all comes from being rooted too deeply in the ego and too convinced of our philosophy, and we have to accept that other people interpret God and their higher consciousness differently. Not everyone will believe the same things or behave the same way, but if they’re committed to the spiritual path, they will find their way back home.
Spirituality can be liberating or confining depending on how we practice it, and it comes down to how much we want to let other people influence us. Do we want to conform to what other people tell us to do, or do we want to find our own way through the confusion? I don’t know how liberating it is to follow a guru’s every word, but opening up to our higher consciousness and letting it become the guru will cut out the middle man and liberate us more in the process.
It’s easy to listen to what someone else says, because we’ve been rooted in that robotic, obedient part of the mind for a long time. It’s a lot harder to break that mental spell and open ourselves to the intuition, but in my opinion, this is the best way to go. It requires us to rely on ourselves instead of an external figure, which can be terrifying for the ego but freeing for the spirit, and by the end of it all, we’ll be glad we found our way by gaining so many unique experiences.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to a guru or seek some advice along the enlightenment path, and gurus have helped a lot of people open up to themselves and get through the blockages that independent spiritual seekers have to face alone. They definitely have their place in the spiritual journey, but what’s important is how much we rely on them for what we can only find within and how much we’re willing to follow a path they lay out for us, as opposed to one we create.
Let’s say you believe in the use of psychedelics as a path into your higher consciousness, and you also consult a local guru now and again. Spiritual psychedelic use obviously isn’t for everyone, but like having a guru, it helps a lot of people and it’s one of those things we have to have a different perspective on before we can judge.
Let’s say your guru learns of your psychedelic use and condemns you for it, telling you that you’re blocking yourself from enlightenment and you’ll doom yourself to eternal suffering. If they’re self-righteous enough, they could even refuse to help you until you ‘get clean’. How would this make you feel about this teacher or their spiritual path?
We can flip it around and revisit our scenario from earlier. Let’s say a fellow seeker criticizes you because you do or don’t believe in psychedelic use for spiritual purposes. How would you feel about that lack of respect for another viewpoint?
Nobody wants to be condemned for thinking differently, and even if two people share the same perspective on nearly everything that has to do with spirituality, their views will probably differ in one or two key areas. It’s up to them how they handle that disagreement, and if they want to be functioning spiritual adults, they could simply agree to disagree.
We can reverse the trend of spiritually rooted intolerance, but we have to do it as individuals. As hard as it can be, I think we need to respect people of all faiths because only then can we come together to change our broken world. The world’s so broken in the first place because we’ve been too divided to do anything about it, and before people can come together, we’ll all need to make a change. Not just religious people, not just spiritual seekers, and not just scientific minds – all of us.
The most important part of this change will be to practice our spirituality in whatever way we see fit, and when we embrace this uninhibited spiritual freedom, we probably won’t want to judge or condemn other people anymore. We’ll finally understand that spirituality is ours to define as individuals, and while everyone needs to come together to transform our world, we don’t have to conform to the same mindset.
Our tolerance for others will grow as we take on new experiences and break out of our spiritual confinement, and all the while, we’ll know that we have the love of our creator by our side. We’re never left alone on this crazy journey, and depending on how you think, you could say we have legions of guides and helpers at our disposal.
The spiritual journey will become a lot more interesting when we try new things and give others the space to do the same, and we’ll do it all with love in our hearts, knowledge in our minds and vibrancy in our spirits. Our knowledge may differ from person to person, but our love remains the same.
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I’m a twenty-two year old spiritual writer, blogger and channel for the creative expression of the inner universe, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, articles I’ve written, and more. Its purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material about the fall of the planetary elite and a new paradigm of unity and spirituality.
I’ve contributed to a few different spiritual websites including The Master Shift, Waking Times, Golden Age of Gaia, Wake Up World and Expanded Consciousness. I can also be found on Facebook (Wes Annac and The Culture of Awareness) and Twitter, and I write a paid weekly newsletter that you can subscribe to for $11.11 a month here.