I’m convinced my mind wants me dead.
And I’m not going to let it win.
That’s why I work hard through self-reflection and spirituality.
I have a hard time claiming the word ‘spiritual’. In a sense, I feel like it’s the exact opposite of the meaning of the word itself to state that I am spiritual. Nonetheless, because of my self-destructive mind, I strive to live spiritually to the best of my ability at any given lucid moment.
I know inside that I can’t just rest on my laurels and allow my mind to take over. I wouldn’t last long.
I need to connect to Spirit.
I believe that everyone on the planet could benefit from introspection and looking inward to find their higher selves. I also believe that inevitably the entire civilization is headed to a mass consciousness of needing to connect to life in this deepest form—or we will all perish at our own hands.
Almost all traditions of all times (that I’ve studied) have always said that the collective shift toward the spiritual (higher-self-development) is inevitable and certain. I believe, though, that the individual urgency to get there can vary among people.
For instance, as a drug addict and alcoholic, I was faced with a quick and brutal death if I kept on as I was, and I was strongly nudged (spiritually kicked in the ass!) in the direction of self-development. I believe that people who are addicts and alcoholics can’t stay ‘horizontal’—so to speak—and we either coast downhill or trudge uphill. What this means is that when our addictions have taken over, there comes a time when we either give up and spiral down toward suffering and death or we choose the path of the spiritual warrior and we constantly strive to purify our minds and souls. I know—it sounds intense. But so is shooting meth and smoking crack and living in the streets.
I think ‘normies’ (non-addicts) can live horizontally and mosey through life with a little more relative ease. I believe the lessons still come and the transformation will occur for them, but with less urgency. For example, perhaps someone receives enough recognition in their work to inflate their ego to the brink of self-destruction, and then, they too, would have to make the choice between spiritual growth or an ego-driven demise.
And maybe some people are perhaps simply born with an innate leaning toward a spiritual way of life. I don’t know. I don’t know anything. These are simply my beliefs.
If you look at what some lineages call karma or reincarnation, and you place this template on a scenario where someone dies before this higher-self-development transformation occurs in their life, the lessons will then continue in the next life.
Too deep? Too bad.
You don’t have to believe any of this to get the general gist of what I’m writing about. You just have to live selfishly long enough until you implode and start to look for another way to live.
Noticing your ego doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Alternately, it means you’re already waking up spiritually. The more ego you can face and discard, the more room you bring for truth, humility and happiness in your life. And the truth (authenticity)—and living from it—will ALWAYS set you free. Think about the freedom in not having to remember a web of lies, or trying to remember how you told the story to whom, or having to maintain an image. Imagine the freedom to be yourself—not even thinking about how you will be received because you know you’ll be met with real, unconditional love by those who are your true partners.
I know I’m only one among millions who chooses to take (and continues choosing to take) this kind of journey, and I also know I don’t do it even close to perfectly (BECAUSE THERE’S NO SUCH THING), but, as someone who hit bottom earlier in life, I know it’s the journey I HAVE to take. I have to trudge uphill. It’s constant work. Hard work. It’s work that I don’t want to do—that I’m not willing to do—until life beats me into a state of reasonableness. Once I’m defeated by my old life, however, and I attempt to climb out of it, the levelling of my pride begins to sting less. The more I seek to uncover and be my authentic self—the better life becomes. Because it’s REAL.
As far as I’m concerned, the journey toward my spirit is the only journey that has meaning. Everything that I believe I need (and everything that I truly do need) will be provided through continuing on this path. My relationships can’t survive if I’m not myself. People will eventually get tired of dating an ‘image’. If I keep trying to be what I’m not in order to impress others and stroke my ego, I may end up having a lot of people like me for a little while, but I’ll be unhappy because when I have no integrity I don’t like myself.
I had a very bad day, one cold and rainy Monday, not long ago. I mean I had a REALLY BAD mental day. The voices that were asking me who I think I am to believe that I’m going anywhere, can write a book, will ever have anyone love me, or will ever get myself out of debt—those voices were strong and loud and pummeling me to the breaking point.
I’m no longer in the habit of blotting out those voices by drinking, snorting cocaine, eating pizzas or obsessively checking apps, so I had to fight back.
How did I do that?
I definitely didn’t pretend to be ok. I spoke of it. I met some like-minded friends and I told on myself. And I prayed for a change of perception.
DON’T QUIT READING BECAUSE I SAID I PRAYED!
I didn’t pray to a god per se—I’m not much of a ‘god’ person, mostly because of what the word meant to me growing up gay in a society that told me religion couldn’t be for me. And truth be told, religion isn’t for me. In fact, I believe all unselfish prayer is merely a connection to our highest selves and a concentrated statement of willingness to change and be better.
Unselfish prayer is a statement claiming the path of the spiritual warrior.
A lot of people believe in a specific god they are praying to, and I think that’s also wonderful. How nice to know someone’s listening and in your corner.
Seeing as prayer for me is a concentrated effort to connect to my highest self and a statement of my willingness to move through turmoil to a better perception, it requires demonstration by a follow-up of affirmative action. In the Twelve Step tradition, we call this Step 3 (look it up!)
Once I’ve decided to commit to the path of the spiritual warrior, I can’t just say it, I have to BE it. This means I have to pray more, meditate, reflect on my own shortcomings and be willing to let them go, connect with like-minded people and not engage in any activity that is counter-productive to me coming out of my funk. Funk is a soft word to describe near-suicidal thinking.
Trust me though, when I commit to this and DO it, I make it through another day, and things change for the better. And I’m once again reminded that ‘this too shall pass.’ Very often these periods are followed by an increase in serenity and peace of mind.
You can’t change the world with just a quick prayer on one bad day. But you can change yourself with repeated effort to move in the direction of personal (spiritual) growth—whatever that means to you. And when you do, it inspires others to do the same—one spiritual warrior at a time—and then you will actually change the world.