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11 Traps Sabotaging Your Spiritual Growth

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Mateo SolGuest Writer

“No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain.” – Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Spiritual growth is an experience we all go through once we have experienced the spiritual awakening process. As we begin to awaken to the truth of who we are, we develop a connection to our authentic essence, higher nature or Soul.

As we progressively advance on our paths, our spiritual essence begins to blossom like a luminous flower deep in our heart. And the more we clear away the dead, gnarled and overgrown beliefs, perspectives, and emotional baggage within us, the more clearly we feel our divine essence. When we maintain our inner garden, we feel more and more love, wisdom, peace, and wholeness as our True Nature is revealed slowly to us.

Yet, like any garden, our metaphorical inner landscapes can be consumed by weeds, plagues, and forms of pollution that strangle anything beautiful we have been nurturing. Sometimes, we even sabotage the growth occurring within us ourselves, without knowing it.

What is Spiritual Growth?

“This isn’t a journey about becoming something. This is about unbecoming who we are not.” – Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Spiritual growth is the process of awakening to your true nature, purpose, and potential. When you undergo spiritual growth you experience an expansion in awareness and insight, also known as higher consciousness. All spiritual growth has one objective: to help you embody your Soul, Higher Self or Atman. Once you are able to unite with your Soul, you will experience what is understood as enlightenment, “heaven,” Oneness or moksha.

The problem with the spiritual journey is that it is often laden with traps of many kinds. These traps are not physical, but they are instead mental and are often referred to as anti-awakening forces.

As we process life primarily through the mind, we also tend to approach spirituality with the mind. The issue with this is that spirituality cannot be contained by the limitations of thought. Once spirituality is captured within a thought, it ceases to maintain its true essence and instead becomes a constricting belief or dogma. In other words, spirituality loses its alive, ever-flowing essence once it is compartmentalized within the mind.

Think about it this way: have you ever felt immense awe and wonder in the presence of something beautiful and enchanting like a sunrise? The moment you stop immersing yourself in the feeling of the sunrise, and start taking a photo of it or describing it in a text message, is the moment you are no longer truly present with the sunrise. Instead, you are filtering it through your thoughts or through a lens of some kind. The same can be said with spirituality.

The more we use the mind to approach our Soul, the further our Soul feels. But the moment we drop our thoughts and allow ourselves to purely feel our Soul, suddenly we feel at home once again. Think of it like this: when you chase the sun on the horizon thinking you will reach it, you never will, because it is an illusion. But when you stop and feel the sun’s presence shining on your skin already, you will no longer chase anything.

It is difficult for us, as mind-oriented beings, to become conscious of our thoughts, as we have been conditioned to identify with them since a young age. But once we can observe our thoughts and how they tend to sabotage our happiness, we will experience true spiritual growth.

11 Traps that Sabotage Your Spiritual Growth

Below I want to share with you eleven of the most common traps that we fall into on the spiritual path. I have personally experienced these pitfalls many times, and they have resulted in a lot of pain and struggle. See how many of these traps you can identify with:

1. The trap of spiritual bypassing

Spiritual bypassing is the practice of using spirituality to avoid, suppress or escape from certain emotions or situations in life. Common types of spiritual bypassing include:

  • numbing one’s emotions through “spiritualized” repression and avoidance
  • unhealthy obsession and attachment to the positive (e.g. positive thinking) and adopting a passive-aggressive “nice” mask
  • debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow self
  • anger-phobia
  • weak personal boundaries
  • blind or excessively tolerant compassion (to the detriment of oneself and the other)
  • forcefully trying to “kill” the ego and condemning it as “bad/evil”
  • exaggerated detachment
  • getting stuck in theoretical spirituality and dogmatic beliefs about “truth”
  • denial of self-responsibility by placing it on another higher being (e.g. spirit guide, angel)
  • delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being
  • using spiritual practices to escape unpleasant emotions; for example, using meditation to dissociate from emotions, rather than transmute them

Read more about spiritual bypassing.

2. The trap of superiority

This manifests as the tendency to “look down” upon others who are not as “consciously advanced” or “awakened.” The trap of superiority can be seen as a subtle feeling of “being better” than others who aren’t “spiritual.” In more extreme cases, this trap can appear as the tendency to lash out at people who are still “asleep,” “blind” or “sheep” of society. This kind of reactive behavior can often be seen in people who have just “woken up” to the state of the world, yet have undergone minimal spiritual growth. We need to remember that everyone is doing the best they can at their level of consciousness. When the time comes, they will awaken too.

3. The trap of forcefully trying to wake others up

Once we have awoken out of the “matrix” it is common for us to desperately want our loved ones and fellow peers to awaken. We can see how much pain and delusion other people are in, and that riles up in us the intense desire to “show them the truth.” However, often our attempt to forcefully awaken people misfires quickly. Even though we have good intentions, our desire to “save” others causes them to backlash in ways that infuriate both them and us. The less responsive they are to our pushy attempts to “wake them up,” the more frustrated and alienated we become. Eventually, trying to force others to wake up ends up harming both ourselves and others. Not only that, but this trap generates a lot of anger and mis-understanding, which results in further ego ensnarement, sabotaging our spiritual growth. Let people wake up when they are ready.

4. The trap of wanting to help others

This trap is closely entwined with the previous trap except it is more geared towards giving others advice. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help others, as long as you respect their boundaries. But sometimes developing an expanded spiritual perspective gives the ego an opportunity to feel more “knowledgeable” than others still trapped in illusion. When unsolicited advice is given to others, the results can be disastrous (think anger, upset, offense etc.).

Wanting to help others can also be used as a way of escaping our need to help ourselves. Under the guise of being “spiritual” and compassionate, helping others can be just another form of spiritual bypassing.

5. The trap of wanting to revolutionize the world

Once we wake up to the lies and corruption present in our current societal structure, many of us want to desperately change society. We fall into the trap of thinking that freedom, honesty, and justice can be created by changing the external systemAs a result, we buy into the “us versus them” and “divide and conquer” mentality that is a product of the ego’s tunnel vision. We don’t realize that we’re actually fuelling the corrupt system which depends on anger and chaos to thrive and survive. Instead of understanding that all true change comes from an internal revolution, we get caught up in the pursuit of external revolution which is fragile and transient.

6. The trap of meaninglessness

Once we experience divine and transcendent states of being in which we become One with all, we can fall into the trap of spiritual nihilism after the experience passes. In other words, once we realize, from the perspective of the Universe, that nothing we do ultimately matters because all is passing, we can fall into a depressive mindset. Using truths such as “All is an illusion,” the person who falls for this trap tends to filter life through the mind. By mentally clinging to these truths, they become beliefs that the ego uses as an excuse to paradoxically feel separate from existence.

7. The trap of avoiding everyday responsibilities

Some people get so infatuated with the spiritual path that they avoid dealing with ordinary, everyday affairs. This form of escapism can lead to leeching off others, not paying bills, evading taxes, obsessing with “living off the grid,” etc. When avoiding everyday responsibilities is worn as a badge of being consciously elevated or “more spiritual” this too is a form of egotism in disguise. Avoiding ordinary responsibilities which are not perceived as being “spiritual enough” can also be a form of distraction that the ego uses to limit spiritual growth. The more concerned and obsessed you are with living an outwardly “spiritual” looking life, the more distanced from your inner work you become. Sometimes we need to feed the sharks to keep the calm and live balanced lives.

Remember the old Zen saying: “Before Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” We need to be humble and recognize that ordinary daily life is the perfect place to spiritually grow and mature.

8. The trap of self-victimization

Soon after we experience a spiritual awakening and wake up to the insanity of the world, it is common for us to get stuck in self-victimization. We may start to perceive the world as a “prison” and other people as the “captives” or even “capturers.” The shock of awakening may send us spiralling into anxiety and paranoia. Inevitably, we may start feeling like victims resulting in us blaming other people and the higher powers for how we feel. The spiritual trap of self-victimization can be seen a lot on social media which often tends to become a pity party for spiritual fledglings. At the end of the day, we need to see that it is actually our thoughts that cause us to suffer, not other people or situations. Once we can take self-responsibility for our perspectives and beliefs, we can become empowered once again.

9. The trap of the Saviour Complex

This trap is related to the previously mentioned trap of wanting to help others. The Saviour Complex is adopted by people who feel a sense of superiority to the rest of humanity. Their sense of being “different” and more “spiritually elevated” can make them feel as though they are destined to fix the world. The Saviour Complex can most often be seen within the “light worker/Starseed/healer” circles who tend to put themselves up on pedestals, believing it is their cosmic duty to “save the planet.” This perception aligns with the belief that there is something “wrong” with reality and that other people are “broken” and need to be fixed (which is an ego perspective). This perception also reinforces the ego’s sense of “specialness” and self-importance.

The Saviour Complex can go one step further and evolve into a Martyr Complex. Martyrs believe they must “bear the burdens” of others. Obviously, this is an extremely unhealthy way of living which is based on Christian conditioning (think of the story of Jesus). By “carrying” other people’s pain, Martyrs bypass taking responsibility for their own happiness and enable other people’s immature behavior.

Read more about the Martyr Complex.

10. The trap of attachment

After experiencing profound and expansive mystical experiences which often come after significant spiritual growth, it is common for us to attach to the experience. It can be painful to come down from these experiences and return back to usual, unenlightened reality. We can also attach to our “stories” and beliefs about spirituality. Because the mind tries to make sense of this transcendent experience, it will often latch onto various ideas as a form of control. But the more we attach to our beliefs, stories, desires, and mental interpretations, the more we suffer. We forget that everything passes, even transcendent experiences. Enlightenment isn’t a destination, it is a complete surrender; a fundamental shift in the way we approach life.

Attachment is perhaps the most common trap that sabotages our spiritual growth. On one hand, attachment to ideas helps us to grow, but ultimately, those ideas that we are unwilling to let go of end up stagnating our growth. When ideas become protection blankets rather than catalysts for our growth, there is a big problem. We need to realize that freedom cannot be experienced through the mind. Freedom is felt when we can be liberated from attachment to our thoughts.

11. The trap of relying on external answers

As we progress through our spiritual paths it is normal, and beneficial, for us to seek out external support. Reading books, attending workshops and seminars, going to retreats, practicing holistic techniques, and getting a personal guru all help us experience spiritual growth. However, after a while, it is common for us to become too dependent on external answers for our freedom and happiness. This pitfall can be seen in many spiritual seekers’ obsession and glorification of their gurus (in other words, projecting and disowning their divinity onto another).

Eventually, as we become accustomed to constantly searching outside of ourselves for answers, we forget the presence of our own Souls. We forget that our ultimate source of guidance and wisdom comes from within us, and instead, we keep chasing things outside of ourselves that we believe will “enlighten” us.

We need to stop, pause, and reflect on our spiritual journeys. Are we seeking out first-hand experience or second-hand experience given to us by others? Don’t forget to look within for your answers as well because it is by connecting with your Soul that you will ultimately experience freedom.

Final Thoughts

In order to see through and extricate ourselves from these traps, we need to be radically honest with ourselves. We need to be willing to see that we have indeed gone astray and have fed into the ego. We will also immensely benefit from exploring our Shadow Selves and exploring our mistaken beliefs.

Don’t worry if you have fallen into any of these traps. We all become ensnared by the ego. It can be particularly difficult for us to see clearly when the ego “spiritualizes” certain beliefs and ideas. The more open, humble, and honest you are, the more you will be able to see through these tricks and liberate yourself.

Finally, don’t be afraid of the dark. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. Everything, no matter how painful, is a learning opportunity. At the end of the day, your Soul is everything you have been searching for.

Recommended Articles by Mateo Sol
About the Author

Mateo Sol is a prominent psycho-spiritual teacher whose work has influenced the lives of thousands of people worldwide. Born into a family with a history of drug addiction, schizophrenia, and mental illness, Mateo Sol was taught about the plight of the human condition from a young age. As a spiritual guide and teacher, Sol’s mission is to help others experience freedom, wholeness, and peace in any stage of life.

See more of his work at www.lonerwolf.com.

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Consciousness

The Golden Age Paradigm Of Abundance

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abundance
Photo Credit: Pexels

Joshua Eagle, Guest Writer

Today, an epidemic of materialism and ego/identity illusion has spread like wildfire amongst all cultures in which capitalism has reached. It is interesting to note that when European imperialists first landed on the continent of North America and started taking “possession” of the Native lands, these native peoples looked at their fellow Earthly beings as having a mental illness of which was ever consuming to both the individual as well as the planet.

Yet what shocked the Natives most was not the notion that these new continental arrivals thought they could take possession of Earthly lands, rather it was that there clearly was no end to the satiation of the imperialists’ material conquests.

Capitalism & Possession

In looking at the structure of capitalism and taking possession we find interesting synchronicities arising from their multiple perspective definitions. While capitalism or the ‘ism’ or science of using money/capital as power is the primary definition taught. A less recognized definition is that what capitalism is at its very nature is the science of exploitation. For in order for capitalism to work, someone must always be exploited so that another can have an over abundance, as opposed to all parties having an equal abundance.

Yet in tracing the emergence of the term “possession” we find far deeper roots than the cars, jewellery and gadgets we refer to them as today. The word “possession” in fact was first used to describe  the act of a negative entity or spirit gaining control over another’s consciousness, or in other words, taking possession of them. In the events where this negative entity or demonic possession took place in indigenous cultures, specific entheogenic plants and shamanic rituals were carried out upon the possessed person to cure them of their mental illness.

Defining Freedom

Unlike the current system of capitalism in place today which revolves around a class system hierarchy of super-rich, rich, middle class, poor and homeless, the indigenous cultures which thrived on our planet for more than 98% of Earth’s known existence operated under a much different system of communalism. In this system, every member of the tribe or community was looked at as equal and all participated in hunting, gathering and celebrations.

While many look at this way of life as savage and even frightening, what is rarely ever recognized is the discovery made by anthropologist Weston A. Price, who concluded that the average work week for indigenous people to maintain their food and shelter was only 11 hours per week. This is a stark contrast to our current 40-hour work week, in which the majority still struggle to even get by on the wage they are paid. Yet if this is the case, and people are actually working more than ever in today’s “free” nations, then one must stop to ask the question, just what exactly does the word “freedom” mean?

Universal Abundance

As we have now entered into a new Golden Age foretold by ancient astronomy and countless civilizations of the past, the time has come for those of us who care about the fate of this planet and our own species to embody a new paradigm. Whereas the old paradigm existed on a dualistic balancing scale, proclaiming that for one to win another must lose; the new paradigm which must be embodied is that of a win/win mentality.

In this universality based consciousness, there is an understanding that a loss for one is a loss for all and that if one causes harm or exploitation to another, the universal scales of karma work to counterbalance this disharmonious action in its own mysterious and synchronistic ways. To truly become one’s highest self, one need not look externally for outward possessions, or achievements of egoic and societal status, but rather we must work to cultivate self-love through truly doing what we love in life and merging this love with our fellow brothers and sisters of this universe.

Abundance is not something that should be fought for, but rather, it  is an inherent natural right. What only needs to be changed is the word’s current definition. To  past generations entrenched in the chains of materialism, abundance was only viewed in terms of external possessions. The time has come for those who have incarnated in our present Golden Age, to take on a higher perspective and understanding that we are all connected on a physical, metaphysical, spiritual and electromagnetic level — and to help another is to help oneself.

Reference
Recommended Articles by Joshua Eagle
About the Author

detoxification, weight loss, mind ascension and longevity. After a decade of studying health through various modalities he received formal training from the Institute for Intergrative Nutrition as well as The Body Mind Institute where he studied under various Naturopaths, Nutritionists and healers of various holistic health systems.

He is also the author of the book Mind Nutrition: Timeless Secrets to Enhance Your Brain Daily, a guide to timeless natural health strategies, foods, herbs and exercises for improving one’s mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level.

Mind Nutrition

Joshua Eagle’s book Mind Nutrition: Timeless Secrets to Enhance Your Brain Daily is a step-by-step guide to timeless natural health strategies, foods, herbs and exercises for improving one’s mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level. It is designed for anyone looking to dive deeper into the field of holistic health and nutrition with a specific focus on the brain and its vast array of unlimited growth potential, including techniques for gaining: expanded states of intelligence, increased learning capacity and cognitive abilities, greater attention, focus, and clarity, self-actualization, and acceleration of the brain’s cellular, neuronal and synaptic operating system.

Mind Nutrition is available here on Amazon.

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Consciousness

Spiritual Journey: 5 Steps To Discover Your Soul’s Path

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Spiritual Journey: 5 Steps To Discover Your Soul’s Path
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Mateo SolGuest Writer

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?” – Rumi (The Essential Rumi)

Most people in the modern world have resigned themselves to a cliched existence, indulging in endless distractions. They go through life with a minimal or pseudo-faith and avoid grasping the emptiness of their lives. They are endlessly haunted by the shallowness of their relationships, neurotic issues, and inescapable loneliness.

And yet there’s so much more to us as a species than what we really know. You and I carry the most mysterious and magnificent qualities within us imaginable, yet we unknowingly guard and protect the great gift that is our Souls from the world.

It’s so easy for us to feel meaningless when we perceive ourselves as mere cogs in society’s machine.

The truth is that we are much more than slaves of 9 to 5 jobs. We are capable of creating deeply meaningful, mystical, and fulfilling lives. We are capable of finding our true calling and personal destiny.

For centuries the indigenous people throughout the world have known that to fully explore the depths of the Soul we must venture into a spiritual journey of the unknown darkness within ourselves.

In many ancient cultures they had Elders and Shamans to encourage and oversee these journeys toward a deeper spiritual existence. Sadly, these days in our own culture, we have lost such sacred rites and rituals. Instead, orthodox religion has replaced living spirituality with a theoretical god, dismissing, and outlawing personal experimentation and union with the Divine.

In this article, my aim is to help you start your spiritual journey. To do that, it’s important that you understand the three parts of the spiritual journey, and also the stages to creating a sacred and personal practice.

The Ancient Hero’s Journey

People have felt a pull toward something greater than themselves since the beginning of time.

Ancient cultures had many stories that served to illustrate the journey to fulfilling one’s destiny and experiencing Wholeness or Enlightenment. These journeys mythologist Joseph Campbell described as the “Calls to Adventure.”

A call to adventure is something we all experience at least once in life. When we embark on this adventure, we begin the process of gaining self-understanding and reclaiming our precious Soul gifts.

The archetype of the hero discovering his/her true spiritual nature goes back thousands of years. The Greek’s told the story of Orpheus who descended into the underworld to rescue his bride Eurydice from Hades. The Nordic people had their hero-warrior Beowulf, and the Sumerians wrote of Inanna who battled her sister in the dark world. Throughout history, there have been so many stories of individuals who have struggled through hardship to find themselves. But of what importance are they to our path?

Essentially, these heroes symbolize our spiritual journeys: of leaving everything familiar behind, entering the unknown, encountering countless unconscious monsters, and finally returning back home with a sense of renewed fulfilment and wisdom.

The 3 Worlds of the Spiritual Journey

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.” – Rumi 

At some point in life we all experience the “call to adventure.” Often our journeys start when we experience sudden spiritual awakenings or the dark night of the soul. Often without wanting to, we are cast onto the path of Soul expansion.

Like you, I have wandered these paths and have at times wound up lost and confused. For this reason, I find it useful to map out the spiritual journey in a way that helps the human mind know where it is, and where it will go next.

My Andean ancestry speaks of three worlds that we can experience in life: the Upper World (Hanaq Pacha), the Middle World (Kay Pacha), and the Lower World (Ukhu Pacha).

In many traditions and mythologies, these three worlds correspond to the different realms of Self.

The Upper World is the home of Spirit, the Underworld the home of Souls, and the Middle World is the home of the physical body and human ego.

Different practices and techniques are used in each of the three realms to help us spiritually mature and rediscover joy, peace, and wholeness.

Below I’ll explore each of these realms with you:

Middle World
Purpose: Personality development

In our everyday lives, we function within the middle world. The middle world is responsible for our ego development, and yet many people on the spiritual path ignore this vital element of inner growth. Without developing a healthy personality, our spiritual growth reaches a dead end.

In life, we all begin within the middle world, or physical realm. As children and teenagers we go through various years of personality change and growth. Finally, as adults, we all have developed unique personalities. Yet many of us fail to continue our self-development, getting lost in corporate jobs and the pursuit of money, status, and fame.

The goal of the middle world path is to develop a healthy personality or ego. Tasks involved in this process include the exploration of core emotional wounds, self-love, and the cultivation of authenticity. A healthy adult ego will be able to love freely, be vulnerable, express creativity, and display empathy towards others.

We cannot develop a healthy personality by using techniques from the Upper or Under World such as meditation or shadow work. Instead, we must use techniques that pertain to ego development and healing such as assertiveness training, non-violent communication techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy, NLP, and other psychological avenues of self-development.

Under World
Purpose: Soul discovery

Our Soul is the vital, mysterious, and wild core of our individual selves. It is the unique essence within each of us that goes deeper than our personalities.

Think of your Soul as a stream that is connected to the ocean of Spirit. Our Souls contain our destiny, purpose, gifts, and the ultimate significance of our individual lives. To access these deep layers and qualities we must descend into the Under World of our unconscious minds.

Unfortunately, for thousands of years our culture has “protected” us from the hardships and dangers of the descent into the Soul. This has been done through the establishment of comfortable, predictable, and clockwork lives that revolve around material pleasures and shallow values. In fact, thanks to religious thought, the descent into our Under Worlds has been condemned as “evil” and wayward. Only Shamanic cultures and a few Western mystical schools like Hermeticism and Alchemy have dedicated themselves to exploring the Under World.

The descent into the Under World has been so feared and avoided because it is a perilous journey. There is a reason why Christianity referred to this place as “hell.” Within our Under Worlds lie our repressed thoughts, feelings, desires, traumas, and denied gifts. Often when we descend, or inscend, into ourselves, we come across many demons, ghastly creatures, and other parts of our Shadow Selves that we’ve been unconsciously hiding from.

Yet despite the fact that the Under World journey can be such a harrowing and haunting experience, it is ultimately a powerful odyssey. Only by descending into our personal Under Worlds can we truly embrace our true life calling, talents, gifts, and deepest values.

Under World, or soul work techniques, include practices that allow us to access altered states of consciousness. These may include crafts such as lucid dreaming, drumming, shadow work, shamanic trances, vision quests, etc.

Upper World
Purpose: Uniting with Spirit

The Upper World journey, or that of the ascent, is what we often refer to as Self-Realization.

There comes a moment in our journey between the middle world and the underworld in which a perfect balance is formed, allowing us to move up into the Upper World. For example, it’s much harder to “Spiritually Awaken” to the Upper World when our unconscious minds are plagued with deep childhood traumas (that stem from the underworld), trust issues (underworld problem), and poor self-esteem (middle world problem).

We enter the path of ascent up into the Upper World when we learn to surrender our ego identification (known as ego death) and Soul identification. Ultimately, we not only intellectually understand that everything is One, but we experience this truth at a core level. At this point, we are free from the illusion of having a separate self. This has also been commonly referred to as the state of complete self-realization or Enlightenment.

This permanent shift of consciousness is about merging with the Infinite, Divine, Eternal, and Absolute. Techniques used to taste this state of being are often found in the mystical schools of Zen, Kundalini, Taoism, Sufism, and disciplines such as meditation and yoga.

Note: Unfortunately many people in the spiritual community believe that spiritual ascension is all that is needed to experience peace and wholeness. As a result, the middle world and underworld paths have been cast aside as if they don’t matter. However, only focusing on your “higher chakras,” cultivating positivity and Oneness with Spirit, creates lopsided individuals. When the darker and more down-to-earth elements of self-growth are ignored, the result is imbalanced and unhealthy individuals.

How to Start Your Spiritual Journey (5 Steps)

Everyone’s spiritual journey is unique, ever-changing, and ongoing. There is no single point at which we stop this inner transformation. In fact, the whole mistaken idea of reaching a state of “perfection” really only equals death and stagnation. And what happens when things stop growing and flowing? They become lethargic, break down, rot, and disintegrate.

While the demands for constant growth and evolution may be difficult to handle at times, they are necessary for us to find our life purpose and fulfil our destiny on this planet. If you wish to live a deep, meaningful, rich, rewarding, and loving life that is full of heart and Soul, beginning your spiritual journey is not only important but crucial.

Understandably, you might feel a bit intimidated and lost, not knowing where to start. As someone who has dedicated a large portion of their life to the spiritual journey, as well as guiding others through theirs, here are my tips:

1. Figure out the purpose/aim of your journey

Think carefully about why you want to begin walking the spiritual path. Do you have a specific goal, purpose, or intention in mind? Do you want to find something or avoid something? (Or perhaps both.) Perhaps you would like to achieve or experience something?

There are a myriad of reasons why people enter the spiritual journey, and there is no right or wrong answer. For example, some people want to experience enlightenment, connect with their spirit guides, develop their spiritual gifts, find their life’s purpose, taste truth/freedom, be free of an old trauma or addiction, and so on.

Keep in mind that your purpose/aim will likely shift and change as you progress through your spiritual path – this is completely normal. Your path and needs are unique to you, so embrace them.

2. Pay attention to philosophies, tools, or practices that intrigue you

Once you’ve figured out why you want to explore the spiritual path and discover your destiny, simply pay attention. Notice what spiritual fields, ideas, philosophies, and practices pique your interest. The spiritual journey doesn’t have to be something dry, monotone, and repetitive (unless you want it to be). This is a quest that ideally involves play, joy, and passion. In fact, you will likely get the most out of your spiritual path if you approach it from this heart-cantered place. Neuroscience has proven that we learn the most when we’re having fun – so find your bliss. Walk a path with heart. This is the path you’re meant to be on.

3. Go deep-diving

One of the main issues that often arises on the spiritual path is a certain kind of spiritual materialism or spiritual window-shopping.

Jumping from practice to practice can be useful at the beginning (to become familiar with the territory). But if we get into the addictive habit of finding the “next and best” spiritual practice, tool, workshop, etc. we are doing ourselves a great disservice. We are not only approaching spirituality with a materialistic mindset, but we’re also avoiding the fundamental purpose of the spiritual path: to deeply transform and evolve.

Once you have done some dabbling here and there (this might involve watching youtube videos, readings books, attending workshops, etc.), it’s time to slow down and commit to something. Don’t worry if you discover later down the road that the path you’re on is not for you, you can always change route. What’s important is that you slow down and commit to something, to begin with – this is the only way to extract the nutrients, deep essential truths, and embodied wisdom.

So tune into yourself and figure out what sets your Soul on fire. What speaks to you on a profound level? What has benefited you the most? Begin to circle around that topic, practice, or path and dedicate your full attention to it. (And if there are a handful of paths, that’s okay too, stick with them.)

4. Record what you’ve learned and experienced

We hear a lot of pretty sounding words and mystical ideas on the spiritual path. But all of them mean little if we don’t actively find ways of absorbing them into our being.

One of the simplest ways of recording what you’ve learned and experienced is simply through the act of journaling. Have a special journal or diary that you dedicate to writing down your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and discoveries. You don’t need to be a good writer (or even good at spelling/grammar) to do this – forget about that! What matters is that you have a solid record that you can refer back to throughout your journey.

There are also other ways of recording what you’ve learned/experienced such as creating pieces of art or composing music. Find whatever creative outlet suits you the most. That might even include creating a vlog where you go into your daily experience (and you can keep this private or share it with others).

5. Integrate and embody your spirituality

It’s easy to go spiritual window shopping and jump onto whatever new and exciting bandwagon emerges. But it takes much more strength of character, sincerity, and courage to actively integrate and embody what you’ve learned.

To integrate means to absorb something into your being; to make it a living and breathing part of you. To embody means to be an expression of what you have learned: to be the change you’re looking for, to infuse your life with the essence of what you’ve discovered.

There are numerous ways to integrate and embody your spirituality, but remember that this is an organic process that takes time. You cannot rush or force integration/embodiment – it is the natural product of Soulful maturation and spiritual ripening.

There are, however, ways to initiate the integration/embodiment part of your journey. Some of these practices include:

Anything that helps you to slow down, be introspective, and go inwards, while encouraging present moment awareness, will help you to integrate and embody what you experience.

Instead of being a magical sounding idea, you will actively live and express qualities such as loving kindness, presence, and wisdom. But first, you need to be sincere and dedicated to this path.

Note:

In my honest opinion, no spiritual journey is balanced (or healthy) without some level of psychological healing. We need to focus not just on ascending to the Upper World, but also working with the Middle and Under World. See the following articles for more guidance:

The Spiritual Journey is a Valley, Not a Mountain

Contrary to popular depiction, the spiritual journey of fulfilling your destiny isn’t like climbing a mountain.

We rarely start at the bottom and climb to the top. Instead, for most of us the spiritual journey is like hiking through a series of beautiful, but perilous range of valleys.

Our spiritual journeys alternate between periods of descending and ascending. In one period of our lives we may cultivate our connection with Spirit, while in other parts we may descend to the Soul to heal core wounds, or the middle world to develop self-care.

Finally, it is very possible and also quite common to get hung up in these valleys. Many of us become lost, distracted, and even forget why we were trying to get to the top of the mountain in the first place. (See our article on traps of spiritual growth for more guidance.) However, with guidance, willpower, and persistence, we can make our way through.

In the end, you will find that the spiritual journey is like a mystical marriage between the ego, the Soul, and the Spirit. One cannot exist without the other.

Are you on a spiritual journey?

Recommended Articles by Mateo Sol
About the Author

Mateo Sol is a prominent psycho-spiritual teacher whose work has influenced the lives of thousands of people worldwide. Born into a family with a history of drug addiction, schizophrenia, and mental illness, Mateo Sol was taught about the plight of the human condition from a young age. As a spiritual guide and teacher, Sol’s mission is to help others experience freedom, wholeness, and peace in any stage of life.

See more of his work at www.lonerwolf.com.

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3 Powerful Tools For Pineal Gland Activation

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Cyrus A. Parsa, Courtesy of Decade3d, Dreamstime

Joshua Eagle, Guest Writer

Of all of the countless foods, exercises and techniques used to help awaken and activate the pineal gland, perhaps none exist with as much power to take you to the highest levels of human consciousness than the following 3 tools. Since there are no quick fixes or shortcuts to activating and strengthening the pineal gland, the following techniques mentioned require self-discipline, dedication and a burning desire for ascended health and consciousness.

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a sacred tea made from the vine of the Ayahuasca plant mixed with the leaves of the Chakruna bush. In the Amazon, Ayahuasca is considered the pinnacle healing medicine of the rainforests entire medical system, containing the ability to heal people on a physiological, energetic, emotional and spiritual level, from various ailments of different types.

In terms of the brain, the unique tryptamines and organic phytochemicals contained in the Ayahuasca tea works to gradually clean out every synaptic chain and neuronal cell in the brain, while simultaneously activating and stimulating the brains pituitary, hypothalamus and pineal gland to their higher functioning states. Being that various synthetic chemicals and toxins such as fluoride and heavy metals tend to get lodged in the brain’s fatty tissue and disrupt it’s electromagnetic and energetic functioning, the tea of Ayahuasca is of particular use to most people in our modern times, if just solely to help cleanse the brain and body of the 44,000+ manmade chemicals introduced into our environment since the industrial revolution.

One of the main modes in which Ayahuasca works to clean out the pineal gland and brain is through the act of methylation. Methylation problems in the body are associated with pesticides and chemicals being sprayed into our environment which the body is unable to recognize and metabolize. Methyl-donors in our body, which work to identify toxins and route them out for elimination, can become depleted when one’s body encounters too much toxicity for the liver to handle. It is in these circumstances where plants containing an abundance of methyl-donors are particularly helpful. The top three foods containing methyl-donors in order are:

  • Ayahuasca
  • Beets
  • Goji Berries

The specific methylating compound in Ayahuasca which works to jump-start this detoxification process is frequently referred to as DMT or di-methyl-tryptamine. The DMT molecule – which is found present in every single living animal and plant – only becomes bioavailable when it is combined with an MAO-inhibitor plant that prevents it from being too rapidly metabolized by the body. In the case of Ayahuasca, the Chakruna leaf is the DMT containing plant and the Ayahuasca contains the MAO-inhibiting properties which allows for the DMT to become bioavailable.

Meditation

Meditation is the art of mastering the mind through the development and strengthening of one’s awareness. Being that the subconscious mind is constantly dumping thoughts at random into the conscious mind and can hijack one’s consciousness and attention, it is critical that one develop their capacity to master their mind so that they can steer it in the direction they truly want.

As the barriers between the subconscious and conscious mind are gradually dissolved through the act of meditation, one progressively gains more and more of a leash over their consciousness, which in turn enables them to direct their will power more precisely into what they truly aim to accomplish with their life.

Being that our mind/brain is constantly in action in both our waking lives and dreaming lives, it is an organ of the body that is typically deprived of enough time to be rested and rejuvenated. In meditation, one seeks to relax the mind through putting one’s awareness and intention on stillness. In this state one allows themselves to stop their thoughts and worries and just be at peace for the meditations duration. If and when thoughts arise during meditation, it is the meditator’s mission to not engage in the thought, but to view it from a third person perspective without identifying with it.

Through the practice of this act, one gains more mastery over the subconscious mind and as well as a better perspective on their own undesirable mental programs that may be running like a feedback loop. As one progresses in meditation and the mind acquires more and more stillness, tension in the mind from over-active thinking is reduced and the grey matter of the brain becomes more soft and flexible. In turn the pineal gland which sits in the center of the right and left hemispheres of the brain is enabled to function with greater energetic receptivity and transmutation.

Fasting

What do Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Socrates all have in common? Answer: They all engaged in the practice of fasting. In turn it may be no surprise that one of the best time tested ways to improve mental clarity and rejuvenate the brain, body and soul is through partaking in a fast.

Digestive systems are constantly being bombarded by the food we eat throughout the day, and as a result are often playing a never ending game of catch-up to eliminate old food and digest new food. In this state of constant digestion our bodies are never given a chance to rest and detoxify properly. When a fast is finally undertaken, a massive weight is taken off of the body which frees up large amounts of energy. This new energy is used to produce Human Growth Hormone which stimulates the production of new brain cells and neurons.

A study out of Intermountain Medical Center showed that people who partook in a 24 hour fast had between a 1300% to 2000% increase in Human Growth Hormone as a result. The biggest brain benefit from fasting however may be provided as a result of the detoxification that occurs during a fast. Since the body no longer has to work to eliminate new toxins, it is permitted to backtrack and clean up older stored toxins that have compiled in the brain and body throughout the course of a person’s life. As a fast progresses the body is enabled to consume everything that is not essential to its proper functioning. This includes bacteria, viruses, fibroid tumours, accumulated waste such as chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, fluoride and other toxins are allowed to be further eliminated from the body as a result.

One who is new to fasting can begin by skipping a meal during the day. From there one can move onto juice fasting and/or spring water fasting. People suffering from disease or those on medication should always consult a healthcare professional before partaking in a fast.

References
Recommended Articles by Joshua Eagle
About the Author

detoxification, weight loss, mind ascension and longevity. After a decade of studying health through various modalities he received formal training from the Institute for Intergrative Nutrition as well as The Body Mind Institute where he studied under various Naturopaths, Nutritionists and healers of various holistic health systems.

He is also the author of the book Mind Nutrition: Timeless Secrets to Enhance Your Brain Daily, a guide to timeless natural health strategies, foods, herbs and exercises for improving one’s mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level.

Mind Nutrition

Joshua Eagle’s book Mind Nutrition: Timeless Secrets to Enhance Your Brain Daily is a step-by-step guide to timeless natural health strategies, foods, herbs and exercises for improving one’s mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level. It is designed for anyone looking to dive deeper into the field of holistic health and nutrition with a specific focus on the brain and its vast array of unlimited growth potential, including techniques for gaining: expanded states of intelligence, increased learning capacity and cognitive abilities, greater attention, focus, and clarity, self-actualization, and acceleration of the brain’s cellular, neuronal and synaptic operating system.

Mind Nutrition is available here on Amazon.

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A Little Green Revolution: The Rainbow Warriors Will Heal The Earth Mother

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Rainbow Warriors 2020
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Ethan Indigo SmithGuest Writer

“When the Earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come onto the Earth of many colours, creeds and classes, and by their actions and deeds shall make the Earth green again. They shall be known as the warriors of the rainbow.” – Hopi

The Native Americans saw the European newcomers as being spiritually afflicted. There were probably many descriptions for the craze, but one that survived is Wendigo. A Wendigo is a legendary Algonquin monster. A human infected with the Wendigo devours the proverbial or actual flesh/life force of other people, places and things with insatiable hunger.

Wendigo psychosis is similar to the Hopi description of Two-Hearts. The expression is similar to two-faced, but goes beyond it. A Two-Hearts will speak one way with you and another way about you. Two-Hearts masquerade like they are kind, when all the while they’re the ones holding people in binds. A real unhindered human being leads self with his heart and the mind follows. Two-Hearts allow the heart of another to control them, usually the imaginary, empty heart of an institution. They then speak and act for another entity and have two hearts to feed.

Ten thousand years of developmental permaculture and living in spiritual unison with Mother Earth doesn’t just happen. In fact the Hopi founded their home in the harsh Arizona desert as part of a plan; there they would all have to cooperate because of the harsh desert environment. The American Indian tribes have many stories about how conditions had to be just hard enough so they did not grow soft, fat and weak essentially and so that they maintained strong brotherhood.

The Rule of The Seven Generations

Native Americans lived according to the Rule of The Seven Generations and foretold the Prophecy of the Seven Generations as a warning to the gold crazed Europeans. The Rule of The Seven Generations is to consider the impact of one’s actions for seven generations in the future.

The gold hungry adventurers arrived and called Turtle Island (name for North America) ‘The New World’ partly because it was so well taken care of and partly to reinforce the idea that it was open for the taking.

On seeing mining, forestry and trophy hunting, the people of Turtle Island predicted negative outcomes seven generations after the Europeans takeover. Known as The Prophecy of the Seven Generations, it’s said birds would fall from the sky, the air would burn the eyes of men and fish would perish in undrinkable water.

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”Iroquois Maxim

Another specific warning shared by many different peoples from Chile to Alaska; digging up the guts of Earth Mother will unearth great tragedy. About seven generations ago, mining for gold and precious metals was the main illustrated danger. Such mining reinforced crazed genocide and today about half the rivers in the U.S.A. are toxic to life – just like foretold in The Prophecy of The Seventh Generation – mainly due to digging up Earth Mother.

“If we dig precious things from the land we will perish.” – Hopi Prophecy

We are in the time of the seventh generation. Today we face total environmental degradation and destruction and today is the time of the NWO.

The Time of the NWO

NWO is used as the abbreviation for the New World Order. But what is new about the New World Order? The world is the same now as at any other time. The overall concept and design is basically the same, only now more technologically reinforced, more centralized and globalized. The institutional structures behind the dogmatic political trickery are basically the same and the bureaucracies are about equally rigid, favouring institutions over individuals by just about how much people will tolerate.

The order of The New World Order, society today, is basically the same as it ever was; oligarchical and pyramidal. The newness of the New World Order is not the order, but the world, the polluted, environmentally degraded netherworld of ever increasing toxicity and radioactivity spun by digging up and burning up the guts of Earth Mother.

The only thing new or transformed about the world is our environment, our water, our air, our entirety. It is newly depleted, polluted and has been everywhere marginalized and sporadically made totally toxic and permanently uninhabitable; Hanford, Chernobyl and Fukushima are a few of the more well-known locales ruined and permanently releasing poison. All the elements of the world have been permeated with the toxins of our collective creation, from cannibalizing the guts of The Earth Mother like a couple billion Wendigos.

The Five Claws of the Wendigo

The toxins humanity has unleashed upon the world can be categorized into five sources of destruction, the five claws of the Wendigo.

The first source of death and destruction, perhaps the one most demanding of our immediate attention, is global nuclear experimentation; this includes the recent utilization of “depleted” uranium as ammunition, the hundreds of power generation experiments across the planet and the thousands of detonations of the past which produced radioactive particles that still ride the wind, freckle the soil and spark your bones.

The second contributor to global environmental destruction is the extraction and burning of fossil fuels; oil, natural gas and coal included. The nuclear era began the day the first nuke went off in New Mexico, the petrolithic era began the day Diesel died. Rudolph Diesel designed his Diesel engine to be fuelled with locally sourced biofuels or earthly sourced petroleum if locally available so as to power locals, not to build up globalization.

Diesel died at sea under mysterious circumstances.

The third contributor to global environmental destruction is the tendency to resource our goods from digging up and cannibalizing Mother Earth. Mining leaves land ruined permanently and spreads toxins far and wide. The related plasticization of packaging and products has resulted in the throwaway society that poisons land and sea. Plastics are petroleum products, all of which are replaceable with less toxic alternatives obtainable through agricultural sources, particularly the conveniently illegal crop of hemp. Plastics are just another petroleum product of the petrolithic era, but plastic by itself, littered about like mined carbon, is as destructive to life as it is offensive to look at. The plasticization of our waters, rivers and oceans alike, permanently poisons, just as mining for minerals does.

The fourth major contribution to the netherworld oligarchy is the planetary war state. Nuclear experimentation as a whole could simply fall into this category, if it were not so insidiously destructive on its own. The conundrum of nuclear experimentation, spawned from war, reflects the haunting problems of the planetary war state. The war state takes, steals and kills. It makes all in the present poorer, destroys the environment and leaves death and horror equivalent to nightmares of karma demons for future generations. War poisons the present and the foreseeable future. The war state takes directly and kills people, and indirectly removes potential and quality of life those who would want peace.

The fifth claw of the Wendigo world, the fifth purveyor of the netherworld is corporate controlled factory farming/food production. The very essence of our growing children and our sustenance has been transformed into a pay by the pound business, where nutrition is meaningless. Bayer/Monsanto and DuPont among others have genetically modified our food – the fruits of Mother Earth – so they can withstand toxic pesticides which kill pests and any creatures that go near the stuff while its growing. Toxic pesticides and fertilizers end up in the food chain and water sources. Corporations also raise animals in overcrowded conditions resulting in hazards for the animals, the surrounding environment and belittled quality food.

The five claws of the Wendigo world are controlled by an ill-informed and ill-minded collective. Each problem is rooted in selfish and misdirected thinking. Each of these problems on its own is horrendous and each related, and can be traced to our collective state of mind. The destructive claws are the result of our real problem; ourselves.

Interrelated Systems of the Wendigo

The extraction, refinement and distribution of dangerous fuels, both petrolithic and nuclear, is the primary polluter of the world’s air, water and whole regions, and likely the main producers of carcinogens which spurred if not initiated the cancer era. Most plastic is a petroleum product combined with chemicals. All energy and all plastic could be sourced from agriculture, in cooperation with the Earth Mother instead of working against her. All our agricultural processes could be fashioned in a way that is cooperative with all the Earth Mother’s creatures; the creatures labelled as pests that ultimately the very soil is dependent on and integrated with.

However such systems would not be oligarchical in formation and would not profit the controlling few. There are always natural, viable choices beneficial to all life, however these are labelled as alternative because they would benefit everything instead of paying an elite few.

Perhaps war is ultimately the worst destroyer of the Earth Mother and society. War is the great expander of environmental entropy and societal stagnancy, leaving ruin no matter the weapon used. It causes destruction and leaves people unmotivated and incapable to build the environment. Whether it is a war on terror or a war on drugs, or war for Kuwait or war for anything, all war is detrimental to the whole planet and all war limits the quality life of all individuals. All war harms and hinders future generations.

The fast food diet, the live-to-eat mentality as opposed to the eat-to-live character, is destroying the planet and increasing the culture of separation. We eat food of unknown origin from plastic containers and throw them out without knowing where they’ll go. Such uncaring consumption without consideration of what is involved in raising a plant or an animal is destroying the world. It’s parasitic. Conventional monoculture and genetic modification – based on allowing a plant to survive being dosed out on petrochemicals – could have biological impacts on humanity and the ecosystem that will be comparable to horror movies.

These systems are all interrelated like fingers of a Wendigo claw. The most stark and main commonality; they are oligarchical to the Nth degree, to the Netherworld degree. All these systems benefit a very few people and cost entirety. These operations are so deadly they cost everyone alive and future generations, yet unborn will have to pay the environmental costs, basically forever equating the netherworld oligarchy of environmental destruction to the Nth degree.

The Rainbow Warriors

The Wendigo claw can only be confronted with an open human hand. Only by sharing and caring with an open hand and open and mind is the Wendigo defeated.

A rainbow is made up from clarity and also is a reflection of every color. A rainbow represents no thing and all things at the same time. In order to be clear, one must first shed any Two-Heartedness so as to stop feeding the Wendigo. When one resides in one’s own heart, without impulses to speak for and eat for a second heart of an institution, further clarity from institutional mediation is possible. A rainbow warrior is of no thing. A rainbow warrior represents no institution. And at the same a rainbow warrior represents all things. A rainbow warrior stands up for every individual. Instead of a wielding a sword, the rainbow warrior has a clear heart and open hands accompanied with a clear message that all people can understand; such as “the Wendigo world failed, let’s come together to heal Earth Mother”.

“When I was ten years of age I looked at the land and the rivers, the sky above, and the animals around me and could not fail to realize that they were made by some great power. I was so anxious to understand this power that I questioned the trees and the bushes. It seemed as though the flowers were staring at me, and I wanted to ask them “Who made you?” I looked at the moss-covered stones; some of them seemed to have the features of a man, but they could not answer me.

“Then I had a dream, and in my dream one of these small round stones appeared to me and told me that the maker of all was Wakan Tanka, and that in order to honour Him I must honour His works in nature. The stone said that, by my search, I had shown myself worthy of supernatural help. It said that if I were curing a sick person I might ask its assistance, and that all the forces of nature would help me work a cure.”Tatanka-ohitika, Brave Buffalo.

The Little Green Book of Revolution

The Little Green Book of Revolution  is an inspirational book based on ideas of peaceful revolution, historical activism and caring for the Earth like Native Americans.

A pro-individual and anti-institutional look at the history of peaceful proactive revolution; it explores the environmental destruction inherent to our present energy distribution systems and offers ideas to counter the oligarchical institutions of the failing ‘New World Order’.

The Little Green Book of Revolution is available here on Amazon.

Recommended Articles by Ethan Indigo Smith
About the Author

Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humour.

Ethan’s Publications Include

For more information, visit Ethan on Facebook and check out Ethan’s author page on Amazon.

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