I have ideas about God. They are not God. I have ideas about spirituality. They are not spirituality. This is of course common sense, but I didn’t realize how enamored I had become with my ideas about my spiritual nature. I noticed recently I was seeking to live up to my ideas rather than simply experiencing what is. My ideas about spirituality were grandiose and extraordinary; however, I now see that my experience of my spiritual nature is often simple and ordinary. I kept dismissing this effortless wellbeing looking for the fireworks. I have experienced the mind blowing force of my true nature coursing through me like a river and felt the bliss of the dissolution of my individual self, and I thought, “This is spirituality”. I put it in a box, defined it, and looked for the next peak experience.
How crafty my ego is to co-opt these experiences and decide they are something to strive for. Rather than seeing the bells and whistles as window dressing, I thought they were the main event. So much so that I am surprised I haven’t engaged in the sacred ceremony of ayahuasca, but I am squeamish about throwing up so I don’t think that is for me. Loss of control in general is not my thing.
I see more clearly that in my seeking the spiritual high, I missed out on the daily spiritual peace. I had this realization while speaking with one of my mentor’s Elsie Spittle. I said, “It is like I have been having dinner with Jesus every night and dismissing him as Joe Blow, while looking for Jesus out there, somewhere, every day.” I am not a Christian, but this was the metaphor that came to mind. I saw how my desire for more, better, special had infiltrated my spiritual life and created blinders so I missed what is real while chasing after the illusion. I was ignoring some of the ways my spiritual nature speaks to me because they were outside of my idea of it.
This has revealed itself to me lately in the current political climate when I am feeling called to speak out and act from a profound place of love inside of myself. However, the feeling does not match the sanitized idea I had of what spirituality is. It does not fit into my box of transcendental experiences. Instead it feels like the force of the universe compelling me to take action in the world. It reminds me of the urge to bear down I felt during labor. It was like an energy had taken over me, and I was compelled to push. This didn’t not happen during my first labor, but with our second daughter we got to the hospital late. I was rushed into a labor room, and had just put on my robe when I got the urge to bear down. My husband was so shocked he literally rushed and put his hands underneath me because he thought I was going to push our daughter out onto the floor.
I understand the conviction of the liberation theologians and their connecting christian theology with social activism to address social injustice and human rights issues. I am seeing that my rules of being a “good girl” and what spirituality looks like are way too small a box for me to fit into. I have been trying to fit my spirituality into a “good girl” box, and it is not that. It is a love that is real, raw, authentic, and genuine. It will take the form it chooses to take in the moment.
I had no idea that the watered down version I concocted of my true nature was just another ego facade. The power of God in me is not one thing. Love does not look one way. The intelligence behind life will express through me in ways that might surprise me and not fit my preconceived notion of what it should look like.
My true surrender is in letting go and allowing myself to be used independent of what my good ideas look like. Whether that be in the mundane activities of my daily life or in larger actions that emerge. I am embracing the essence of who I am and clearing out my preconceptions of love and God so I can rest more in the ordinary knowing of the oneness of who I am and the oneness of who we all are.
May you too listen to your deepest calling and be surprised by the truth of you expressing into the world. What a beautiful mosaic of expression that will be when we let love, rather than our good ideas, lead.
Rohini Ross is a psychotherapist, a leadership consultant, and an executive coach. Rohini facilitates personalized three-day retreats to help individuals, couples, and professionals connect more fully with their true nature and experience greater levels of wellbeing, resiliency, and success. You can find out more about Rohini’s work on her website, rohiniross.com.