Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Human beings having a spiritual experience

Even if our primary interest is in spiritual transformation, we can’t separate out our unresolved relational trauma, attachment wounding, and narcissistic injury we may have experienced. There just isn’t a bright line separating these things. They intertwine in the body and mind and weave in and out of the cells of our nervous systems and hearts.

There isn’t something called spirituality over here, and then over there something called psychological and emotional healing.

I’m sure many of you have heard the saying that goes something like, “We’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.” And of course, it has that wise-sounding ring to it. But from a more alchemical point of view, or a perspective from the fields of wholeness, it’s pretty dualistic.

A more alchemical approach would be to simultaneously contain both of those statements and the contradictory energies they embody, hold the tension of those opposites and through facilitating a dialogue and relationship between them, allow a new, third thing to emerge which includes the truth of each.

The union of spirit and matter, solar and lunar, oneness and multiplicity, transcendent and descendent currents - each equally holy as an emanation of the Beloved into the world of time and space. Each an equally sacred and valid arrow in her quiver.

If we attend only to that part of us which is Pure Spirit or Pure Awareness, what inevitably happens is that aspects of our embodied humanity, pieces of soul, and the lost ones of psyche and soma are located into the shadow. From there, they color our perception, become evoked in others, enacted in the relational field, and somatized in the body as a variety of unwanted symptoms.

It can feel cleaner and clearer to stay in Spirit, to be sure, as if we’ve risen above the mess of it all and are in some untouchable and invulnerable state. We can use our present-moment awareness practices to come closer to ourselves and our unresolved wounding, or we can use these same beliefs and practices as a way to dissociate and split off from our embodied vulnerability, unfelt feelings, and undigested psychological material - all in the name of “being in the now.”

Because these lenses of perception are unconscious, meaning they’re operating outside of our conscious knowing, we aren’t able to see how they are affecting us. Instead, we just assume we’re perceiving reality “directly,” “as it is,” in some pure and unadulterated form. We stay in the present moment, but that present moment is alive with the ancestors and the ghosts of our unlived lives, the reality of implicit memory networks, and the entirety of our unmetabolized trauma and attachment wounding.

We stay lodged into the matrix of intergenerational trauma and trance, but aren’t aware of it.

If we fail to include in our inquiry the entirety of what we are – the shadow, the sore and hurt places, the betrayals, the unfelt grief, the disavowed rage, and a relationship with the orphans of psyche and soma - we won’t be able to live here fully, in a way that guided by wisdom and compassion.

If we don’t tend to the wounds around love there will always be a dis-integration within us, which will manifest as a dissociative split from our True Nature. And we won’t be able to access that natural joy, aliveness, openness, and warmth that are the qualities of that nature, the capacity to play, to create, and to fully be here, in a way that is deeply meaningful and beneficial, for ourselves and for others.

Photo by Kristendawn