Is the choice of being spiritual so right you’ve caught yourself up in judgment about how others need to get more spiritual? Here’s how to make sure your awareness, the key to every happiness, remains in the forefront of your mind and how to stay spiritual without getting in the way of your own evolution.
“I’m spiritual, not religious,” I see as an answer to one of the Facebook questions posted in my soulful business group. Many of us in there label ourselves that way. I think most of us who do would agree labels are part of what we’re trying to get away from as spiritual beings and that there’s no right way to be, serve, practice, or believe. But the moment we identify with being “spiritual” is the moment we lean in toward that being the right way to be and look at people who believe differently as those who need to get more aware or be more spiritual.
Awareness is the key to this dilemma, and to every health and happiness that you desire for yourself and everyone else you love… for the rest of time. Awareness, of everything, along with loving curiosity, non-judgement, and acceptance, are the keys to living with peace. The awareness and presence you practice and show up with, in your daily moments, is the basis for happiness, no matter who you are or what you believe in.
Awareness is everything.
“Without awareness, there is no choice.” John F. Barnes
Believe me, you want a choice when it comes to living your life. That’s called freedom. Without awareness – noticing the thoughts, feelings, sensations, emotions and behaviors – you don’t have a choice and reaction is what happens. Identifying with the feelings and emotions instead of watching and allowing them is what creates resistance, reaction, and suffering.
When being spiritual gets in the way of our awareness we’re identifying with it too much. We aren’t spiritual. We are the thing that’s aware, noticing how we are being. I first learned about this kind of awareness in Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth. He helps us know the thing that’s aware. The presence that’s drinking in life. Awareness like this creates a healthy space for what we feel, allowing us to respond rather than react; allowing us to listen to our intuition and inner healer and make decisions based on what feels aligned with our soul.
If being spiritual is getting in the way of your evolution most likely you’ll find yourself smack dab in the middle of judging people who aren’t spiritual. Notice your thoughts. Recognize the feelings and emotions. Make space for them by allowing them to exist. Come at them with gentle and genuine curiosity and don’t attach or identify with them.
In Tara Brach’s course, Awakening the Fearless Heart, she helps us understand how to use our awareness and presence to be with emotions like shame and fear. When these strong emotions are present it’s common to get in our own way. The awareness shuts down in the face of fear and we become identified, sucked in and paralyzed. Bringing ourselves back to the body and back to a natural presence is how we make the shift.
Being spiritual, if you are aware, is powerful. But so is being Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. It’s more about the awareness than the beliefs. More about the practice than the traditions. More about the openness and heart-centered attitude than the importance or rightness of the doctrine.
Here are a few ways you can make sure your spirituality isn’t getting in the way of your awareness:
- Practice coming back to the body and its sensations often – especially when you’re wanting to analyze something or judge it. Deep breathing is a powerful and quick way to do this.
- When strong feeling or emotion is present, try naming it, and then allowing it, and then not identifying with it. Just feel. Feeling is healing.
- If being spiritual has become the “right” way to be, take a step back and contemplate that. Your judgment is clouding your awareness.
- Keep an open, loving, kind presence and show up in your moments like that, curious about what you think and feel. Pick curiosity any time you feel triggered.
- Practice self-compassion always. This journey isn’t for sissies. Be aware of your self-talk and adjust it. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your child, with love, kindness, and compassion.
- Awareness is a more important way of being. So rather than identify with any one right way to think or believe, practice being aware of everything and watch yourself grow and evolve in ways you never thought possible.
Dr. Phil always asks, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” I choose happy, and it’s by practicing the important skill of awareness that I get that choice.
Don’t let your spirituality get in the way of your awareness by letting that be the only right choice.