When I was 23, I came home from work one night, walked into my bedroom, and for a split second the entire material world fell away. All there was, was light and an experience of what I would call glory. I didn't have a body, but I could see the light pouring in on itself. The light was the whole, and I maintained a sense of what was "me" while being integrated in that whole.
I had never done any psychedelic drugs - I still haven't. I wasn't on any type of medication, and I did not meditate or practice yoga at that time of my life. The experience came at a random moment for no apparent reason.
More than twenty years later, my personal belief continues to be that we are all a part of that light on some level. I acknowledge that the human capacity for ignorance, cruelty, greed, violence and denial make this belief difficult to defend in rational arguments. However, for all its messiness and pitfalls, I continue to believe that pursuing our connection with the divine and maturing in our spiritual beliefs is part of the counterbalance to humanity's destructive tendencies.
When I was younger, I spent many years trying to find The Truth in a specific context and, ideally, to have that type of peak experience with the light again. I went on a pilgrimage to South America, did yoga retreats at ashrams in India, meditated in Buddhist monasteries in Asia, worked with different types of spiritual healers, and got a masters in divinity at a Christian theological college. From these explorations I settled into daily practices of yoga, meditation and prayer, with different emphases and intensity at different times in my life.
I have experienced in myself and observed in others how different traditions and approaches to spiritual practice can both foster and stifle individual growth and development. Being able to discern what is valuable (even if painful) and what is harmful (even if pleasurable) is part of my definition of wisdom. It is in short supply in this world, and it is not easy to cultivate.
Too often the way religion and spiritual practice is presented is a one-size-fits-all approach, and if something doesn't resonate or seem true to you, the fault is your own. Your ego is in the way. Sometimes that is true. Our egos can get in the way of engaging with painful developmental growth. However, teachers and clergy can also be committed to preserving a limited understanding of a tradition at the expense of effectively guiding individuals in a genuine growth process.
Maybe you've been hurt by a religious tradition, or you feel conflicted or confused about your relationship with spirituality. Maybe you’re curious about the spiritual aspect of the human experience but aren’t sure how to approach it. Working with a coach who has been around the block on the spiritual path can help.
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