the Human Element
What does it mean to be spiritual? What is spirituality? Is it a passing fad, or is it something more? Where does spirituality end and spiritual-trend begin?
These are just some of the questions I think we have all pondered on, especially at the beginning of our path. Before we get too far though, I want to do something for you before I get lost and caught up in prose.
If you at any point in time, determine this is not who you are, I give you ABSOLUTE PERMISSION without needing to justify yourself to anyone, to go in another direction. To try many directions. I give you permission to not adhere to any rules of religion, spirituality as you discover it, or even your own internal programming. You have permission and the power to change your mind, whenever you want to, about the things important to you and pretty much everything. So please, never let yourself be trapped by expectations or rules that you have been told to adhere to but go against your soul. It’s absolutely okay to not be a very spiritual person. To not be at all. To be true atheist, to be agnostic, to be anything that you want to be.
It’s not easy to be authentic. Before we can be truly authentic, we often have to try other people’s proverbial shoes on to see what feels good, what feels right. It’s normal for our essence, personality, and conscious beliefs to be made up of bits and pieces of all things and people and ideas that sparked something inside of you of importance.
So, now that we can relax a little more about what this will require of you, let’s get started. I want to talk about the many variances of spirituality in society as we see and know it today; from toxic spirituality, to trendy spirituality, and all the variations in between and beyond. I write this to help you establish your own perspective by helping reflect many others.
I want to start with the ugliest part of spirituality: toxic spirituality. We tend to think of this coming from mainly cults, but that’s neither true of all cults nor true of where we see toxic spirituality most these days. As most of us are absorbed with some form of social media in some aspect or another, it seems these days the majority of toxic spirituality is housed there. Of course, these are just the new main platforms of a very old problem. There has been no religion safe from false idols and toxic spiritualists.
While I won’t give energy to the most infamous people known for this, I do want to talk about what it looks like. It is most often very much fear based. You see a great deal of this in mainstream religions as well as the more agnostic views that are prevailing today. A lot of the message they deliver is rooted from fear. If you don’t do this, you won’t ascend. If you don’t bend the knee, you won’t make it past the gates. To the point many religions even go so far as to say you never deserved to be born at all. It is a propaganda built on a foundation designed to propel you into self loathing; you’re not worthy, you’re a sinner, not good enough, repent repent repent!
But why? Why is your self loathing important to the toxic spiritualist? I believe if we simplify that, they feel if they are the ones casting the stones then at least they won’t be hit by the stones. It’s not very realistic when I could catch the stone they’ve tossed or pick it up even after being pelted with it, but that seems to be the core logic anyway.
I believe there are many core human programs that we are all born with and automatically trust fall into that are actually quite disabling. One is our self worth. Because this is so prevalent it’s a great and obvious weakness for spiritual predators to use against you. It puts them in control, it weakens you, it aids their ultimate agenda whatever that may be.
Sometimes the toxic spiritualist is an individual of no actual importance at all. These are often social media gurus, or perhaps just a spiritual superialist, a word I just made up but is absolutely fitting and I think you’ll know just who I mean. I bet there are a few people who even pop to mind. The ones who look the part, talk the part, but are really just self inflated [email protected]$$es who care about no one else but themselves. It doesn’t take too long for them to show their true colors, yet to my amazement this rarely loses them any merit in the social media empires.
This is really leading into the spiritual trend setters. Because let’s be honest, spirituality has been a fashion statement for centuries now, in one form or another. Today they are seen with various amounts of trendy vibing tattoos, expensive eco-savvy cool clothes, and lots of accessories from tarot cards to a thousand and one crystal bead bracelets, and let’s not forget the braids and dreadlocks.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this aesthetic! Let’s be clear. It is cliché because we really do love it! And ya know, that’s okay! Wear your elephant pants and tie dye, my friends! Maybe this is just surface level spiritualism, maybe it’s just a pleasurable joyful aesthetic. If you love these clothes, this look, those dreads, honey, wear it with PRIDE. And if you want to wear jeans and a hoodie the next day with your hair in a messy bun, that’s okay, too.
There is so so so much hate that gets tossed around at aesthetic spiritualism. Sure, some lovely lady told you about minimalism and it sounds trendy. Maybe your parents are straight laced af and a part of you loves the dresses your mom made you wear, or maybe you hated it. Maybe you love all fashion. Maybe, just maybe, the only time fashion ever matters is when it is impacting how you feel and want to feel. When I want to feel like a badass developer, I wear my sleek boots, best jeans, button up, and suede jacket. When I want to be a high priestess, I wear my gold stars and black dresses. When I want to be a woo woo peace loving hippie, I wear my hippie dresses. When I want to paint, I wear whatever the hell I am wearing and ruin it in spite of myself.
What I am getting at is, the spiritual aesthetic, maybe whoever is embracing this is only embracing it at a surface level, but that’s okay, and also none of your freaking business. Who cares where they are at on their spiritual journey, or what their clothes mean to them or how they make them feel. It’s just not your problem. Your problem is how your clothes make you feel. Want to wear your wedding dress to remember how special that day felt? Girl, go get it on!
The hate around spiritual aesthetics isn’t actually about materialism, it’s not about a false identity. It seems though that it is always holding the bar too high for anyone else to reach. Saying that whatever their reasoning just isn’t good enough, like it were anyone’s business in the first place.
So you aesthetic spiritualists, you gothic goddesses, wear it proud. Feel good in your own skin and your own clothes, with or without makeup. Rules are for control freaks. Real spirituality is more about breaking free of the chains of society and our own misguided programming than it is any deity here or there.
A lot of the anger that comes from those judging the spiritually aesthetic is an internal rage, misplaced and improperly sorted and leaking out at those that shine a spotlight on our own internal wounds. Sometimes this comes from a place of lack, feeling like they could never afford those clothes, or feeling like no one would respect them in those clothes. This is often our own programming, feeling envy over someone seemingly more empowered than you are.
So what is the purpose of all those crystals, the palo santo and sage? Do they do anything? Many will argue the physical properties of every gemstone, holding its own unique vibration and thus calling in its own special brand of power. Perhaps there is a deeper truth to that, but if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? One could also say it is the act of acknowledgment of that item’s power that empowers the user with the aligned benefits. Perhaps it’s more complicated than either, and is in fact both and even much more than that. The question remains; does the crystal itself help you immensely enough to promote a notable and direct change? Usually, no.
Without going deeper into what we most often call the ‘shadow self’ it’s unlikely a crystal is going to fix the discontent in your life. A beautiful bracelet might in fact help us feel good, but it won’t resolve the issues and lessons life has in store for us. It won’t spare you the pain of loss or trauma.
Does this mean the crystals don’t work, or that we need more to make a more notable impact? They do work, but it is a spiritual bandaid, which can even turn into spiritual bypassing. Raising your vibration is important for healing, important for your energy and wellbeing, but it does not bypass the grueling task of healing deeply embedded emotional and ancestral wounds.
One could say, the deepest spirituality we can really hope to obtain is a deeper relationship with ourselves. To be comfortable alone with ourselves, to feel whole and joyful despite the perceived harshness of the Universe’s life lessons. Perhaps the real goal of spirituality is to know thyself, rather than to perceive what we know about what is outside of us.
So if you have dove into this seemingly peaceful Peace Love and Joy spirituality for the sake of feeling better about life, you may very well be taking a step in the right direction. If you’re expecting some infrequent meditation with your favorite incense to heal your inner child and extinguish your misery, you might be sorely disappointed.
Much of what we conceive as spirituality today is much about defining what is beyond us, while we struggle and fight against what is meant for just us. Perception is the only differentiator between feeling tormented by life and feeling like everything is set against you versus seeing everything as an opportunity to grow and become a better, kinder, more patient version of our ideal self.
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Happy healing and all my love,