In the previous blog (click here to read), I talked about faith and the importance of yoga, meditation, and devotion to experiencing the Divine. However, it is important to become aware of a couple of barriers that may be standing in your way:
It would be challenging to experience the Divine if one has limiting perceptions about themselves and their relationship with the Divine. The following is a list of different limiting believes around spirituality that many of us share:
Do you have any of these believes? Take some time to reflect on any believes you may have around spirituality that can hinder your experience of the Divine. During coaching sessions, I realized that the following were my own limiting perceptions:
It was easy for me to work on the first two by using techniques to change these believes at the subconscious level.
The third one, though, shattered my heart and was harsh to come to term with because I realized that my longing to experience the Divine originated from this feeling of separation from God.
During one of my meditations, an image of myself around 6 years of age flashed in my mind: I was sitting beside a window, playing with my doll, and daydreaming. I was sad, and I was lonely – I felt that I was forsaken by God. I recognized that feeling of loneliness that accompanied me my whole life. It was not the same as the fear of separation from loved ones; it was a deeper kind of loneliness. It is the one that propelled me to pursue spirituality because I needed that connection with the Spirit world. During my meditation, I was reminded of that feeling that I forgot and thought I overcame through my spiritual pursuits of Isha hatha yoga. But here it was again, along with the message that I needed to let go of that longing to be in union with God. For the next 2 days, I bawled. I felt that this longing defined me; it was who I was and all I had because it connected me somehow to God. But again, it was coming from a feeling of separation from God.
What I did is I worked on first overcoming the stress and sadness that this feeling generated. Then, I worked on changing my perceptions. I came up and programmed my subconscious with the following new perceptions (that felt right for me):
“I am ONE with God.”
“I am complete and perfect by myself.”
“This is it and I am It. Everything begins and ends with me.”
Besides limiting believes around spirituality, there is another barrier to experiencing the Divine and that is “spiritual bypassing.” This is a term coined by psychologist John Wellwood, which refers to using spirituality as a way of avoiding dealing with painful feelings or unhealed wounds.
To clarify this concept, below I discuss a “spiritual bypassing” from my own journey.
During my coaching sessions, I realized that I was giving my whole life to spirit, but I was not giving my whole spirit to life!
There was a sense of detachment – somehow not accepting this world as it is and wanting to transcend it. I believe one of the reasons for this was feeling lack of acceptance and belonging: Back in Lebanon (where I was born), I was raised as a Druze, which is a minority religion; I never felt accepted by or part of the other dominant religions (mainly Muslims and Christians). Then, when I came to the US, I was considered a foreigner. After 20 years in the US, now I am neither Lebanese nor American since I wasn’t born here. I believe I married a Christian/Catholic American because I wanted to “belong!” This is why “belonging” to a tribe of like-minded people or a lineage of medicine men and women in my shamanic studies always felt like home.
Thus, feeling lack of belonging and acceptance and separation from God propelled me to detach from this reality and wanting to transcend it through spirituality. Spirituality was my painkiller to numb and repress my feelings, which is obviously unhealthy and not the way to go!
Now some may argue that when we feel in pain, desperate or in turmoil, spirituality may be an escape, but also a way to heal. In my opinion, this may be true only because spirituality can bring awareness and clarity to the underlying causes of your struggles. When you become aware of them, you can face your problems and overcome them. In one of my previous blogs (Roadmap for Healing Your Shadows – click here to read), I talked about how my sadhana (spiritual practice of yoga) is peeling my karma like an onion, and, as a result, many of my shadows or demons surfaced, and I had to face them head-on. I believe it would be challenging to experience the Divine if you use spirituality as a way to repress or avoid your problems.
To go back to my “spiritual bypassing” example, it reminds me of the following concepts that I learned in Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering foundational course: I am 100% responsible, I get involved in any game (such as life!) by making its rules my rules, and I accept this moment as inevitable.
Now I understand that these concepts are inseparable. Somehow, I did not accept my reality, or, in other words, I did not accept that this moment is inevitable. Thus, I responded to it by creating separation and detachment. This means I did not accept the rules of the game of life as my rules. As a result, I was not totally involved in life or giving “my whole spirit to life.”
It is only in total acceptance of oneself and this moment that we can expand and transform. If we are not accepting of what is, we are enslaved to the past and cannot transform. If this moment is truly inevitable — and we see and live that — then the past has no hold over us. In other words, our karma is not binding. We are free to live fully.
Here, again, I worked on changing my subconscious perceptions to the following:
“I accept myself and others fully.”
“I feel at home, accepted and loved wherever I am.”
“What there is right now is all there is.”
“I give my whole life to spirit, and I give my whole spirit to life.”
I am grateful that I discerned these truths and barriers. My wish is for these realizations to help you and I transform, expand, and be blessed one day with an experience of the Divine!
With much love…
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