One Spirit Coaching: An Introduction
The Reverend Peter E. Lanzillotta, Ph.D.
Business phone: 843-810-2808
“If the path before you is clear,
you’re probably on someone else’s.”
“Yesterday, I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi
“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked,
in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
Henry David Thoreau
LIFE AND ITS PROBLEMS:
Has your life lost its meaning? Would you like to find a way out that inspires you again? Do you feel lost, or do you feel as if there is little hope that you will find your heartfelt purpose? Do you want to define yourself as a spiritual person, but really do not know what that means? Would you like to find your key that unlocks and opens the door of your heart to love, forgiveness, and peace? Do you feel that God listens to you, or does it feel that when you call or pray, God is not home? All too often, our problems are hidden in plain sight… Yet, we do not know how or where to look! That’s where working with a Spiritual Life Coach comes in!
MY UNIQUE PROMISE:
As a progressive and inclusive former parish minister and as non-Roman, non traditional liberal priest for over 25 years, who has additional graduate level training as a spiritual director, and holds a doctorate in theology and spirituality, I know that I can guide you on the path to discovering your own answers.
As an interfaith theologian, someone who understands and practices the insights and wisdom of both East and West, I am uniquely qualified to be your spiritual guide. I can expertly accompany you through the process of asking soulful questions that process of asking yourself how best you can open yourself to those inquiries of the heart and mind. In your earnest search, and through your brave questioning, you can discover where your next steps in self discovery can be and what exploring the the many paths towards spiritual unfoldment could hold for you!
Through our collaborative dialogues, I will become your spiritual companion and your knowledgeable guide who will welcome the discussion of any questions that your earnest explorations might uncover. From my own questioning and my own life experiences and knowledge, I can encourage your personal search, provide you with valuable resources, and adeptly assist you in your search for your own soulful truths.
MY EXPERIENCES AND APPLICATIONS:
Over my decades of service, both within church life and as a guide to many sincere seekers, I have been given the opportunity and the privilege to accompany many people. In our dialogues and coaching sessions, I have been able to encourage and support their quest for their truthful and sometimes their unexpected but truly transformative answers.
Some people have sought me out because they are curious about spiritual ideas, paths, and techniques for greater inner development. Most often, however, people come to me when they are having difficulty searching for a more spiritual understanding or they contact me when they are seeking a deeper soulful and sustaining answer during a personal crisis.
Because I am no stranger to both the grit and the grace of these acute and sometimes prolonged struggles, my hard earned personal experiences have taught me that sometimes it takes perseverance and wisdom, peace and compassion for yourself (which on some days can be hard to find), so I know that my insights and my life lessons will assist you in dealing with your tests and trials.
Here is a brief sample of the kinds of situations I have successfully worked with and that my open minded and
non-dogmatic approach to spiritual coaching can address:
During Times of Loss, and Transition; Offering effective coping skills that can help you to reach a better understanding of how best to honor our grief and come to a greater appreciation of life; When you desire to find a way out from dependency, attachment, or addictions; Wanting to become a more spiritual partner and/or to find a transformational basis for your relationships; When you are in search of values and guidelines for living a clear, kind, and compassionate life; Wondering and searching for what you can do to regain a sense of peace, harmony, healing, and gratitude.
During each of these occurrences, I found that my more inclusive spiritual approach to coaching was an excellent complement to any more traditional pastoral and religious outreach you might have received.
I would have to say that bearing witness to how people can heal, how they can accept and integrate change, how they endure and can come to understand, and how they can deepen and spiritually mature have been a treasure chest of learning and blessing for me…
MY HEARTFELT OFFER:
All too often, we live in such a daily rush that we can easily ignore a spiritual problem until it has developed into more painful or troublesome physical and emotional symptoms such as: Chronic stress; self medicating activities like drinking or drugs; difficult relationship patterns or problems; anxieties and depressive moods; feeling at a loss with no where to turn, etc. … Sometimes the best answer is to seek out immediate professional help that could be an excellent way to learn how to quickly understand and adroitly manage any difficulties you are facing… Sometimes, what fosters the lasting change you seek, requires you to take a longer view. The complex nature of the healing and transformative work you will have to do will take time, and it will take you deeper… Discovering more of who you are, and what your path and purpose in this life truly includes!
While health care professionals are a valuable resource, most are not well acquainted with the timeless traditions of spiritual practice that are found in humankind’s great religious traditions, which have always been a rich repository of wisdom and offer us invaluable and powerful tools for our transformation.
(In fact, there are a lot of clergy who have not taken the opportunity to discern their own spiritual path, or who have not spent much time in meditation or introspection- learning the many gifts of mysticism and inner knowledge!)
As your spiritual life coach, I can give you the benefit of my 30 years of spiritual discovery; my journeys into the wisdom traditions of both East and West; and share with you the various aspects of the struggle to become authentically spiritual or what it means to become more readily attuned to the Spirit’s sources for transformation that will affect the quality of your daily life.
Increasingly, we have learned that a greater sense of wholeness can come from a deeper sense of personal awareness. It has been documented that new integrated spiritual perspectives will contribute to improvements in your health, your relationships, and how such integration can give you insights into the importance of love, forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion.
YOUR REASON TO ACT:
While it is true that we live our lives according to clock time and calendars, there is another form of time that is recorded in our souls. It is a timetable generally unknown in the outside world except when it is triggered by crisis, or by a chance encounter. It is a quality of time that can be better understood when we can listen to the guidance we can receive from our inner urges or learn from how we are dissatisfied with the feeling of emptiness in modern life.
People who pursue greater spiritual meaning to life’s various challenges and experiences come to understand that there is also God’s time (Kairos) which comes to us in unexpected, often gracious and spontaneous ways. Everyone I know has had those times… Those flashes of insight, those special dreams, those events that shake and shape us in ways unimaginable…)
(I discuss this concept further in my book, Spirit, Time, and The Future… published by Outskirts Press 2011)
I ask: Who do you go to when these acts of God, these times of unsettling or transformative grace occur? Who, in your circle of friends and family, can truly assist you in coming to your own understanding, or to a deeper appreciation of those moments that are filled with mystery, magic, and meaning?
Because of my accumulated life experiences, and my deep appreciation for the wellsprings of wisdom and discovery that are to be found in those times and places, I know that I can be your coach and your soulful guide…
Initial Call/Consultation is free: A sliding scale for phone calls and for personal appointments will be based on income…
Over my many years in ministry, I have often heard people take about their health… When they are speaking in positive terms, they will declare enthusiastically to me, ” I have just gone for my annual check up, and everything is fine!” I will affirm their positive feelings, and show my support for how well they are taking care of their health…
However, because this common tendency that gets repeated often, it began to make me think about all the other kinds of check ups people need to give themselves on a regular basis: A mental health checkup? An emotional health check up? A financial check up? A relationship check up? A family and friends check up? Maybe even a spiritual life check up?
As an advocate for regular self-care, knowing full well that we live our lives in and through many dimensions of wellness and concern, I would declare that taking the time to do self inventory in any or all of these various ways, would be beneficial, revealing, and instructive for us all!
Most of us, if we are at all mindful, take a little time around New Years and making our resolutions, or maybe we pause during our birthday week to look back over our year or look retrospectively at our lives. Courageously, we can begin to ask ourselves some probing questions about how our lives have turned out so far, or what new ways that promote change or growth are we now willing to consider? We inquire about any changes in our central motives for our lives, our reasons and choices, and our feelings about how well we have lived, and what ways could it have been better, healthier, more balanced or acted with more clarity.
One of the self inventory questions that I will regularly ask myself is the one first presented to me by the clinical psychologist and Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield. In his writings, he said that the essence or the essentials of life can be found if we ask ourselves two questions: “How well have I lived?” “How openly have I loved?”
As a spiritual seeker who has studied the great spiritual traditions of the world, I appreciate the many inspiring sources the world religions can off to us in helping us to answer the questions of meaning and purpose in our lives. As my career proceeded from being a psychotherapist, to an inclusive parish minister and liberal priest, to my present work as an interfaith theologian, I have asked myself these kinds of questions, and have benefited greatly from the insights and the challenges that came to me.
Now, as I have extended my definition of ministry and advocacy beyond the confines of offering spiritual direction to become an interfaith spiritual life coach, I am welcoming people to the process of taking a spiritual check up, and working with them to see how their spiritual and religious ideas are working for them.
Currently, I am accepting new clients who wish to explore their life journey with me, and through our sessions, we will work collaboratively to discover the answers that will promote greater understanding, an expanded sense of wellness and wholeness, and a larger view of harmony and happiness, in their lives.
You can contact me at: 843-732-2994 or 843-810-2808
The Reverend Peter Edward Lanzillotta, Ph.D. is a transplanted New Englander. A native of a small town near Plymouth Rock in the greater Boston area of Massachusetts. He received his early academic training at Boston University, Roger Williams University, Suffolk University, and Andover-Newton Theological School. Later he earned a certificate in Spiritual Formation at the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC.. In 1995, he completed his doctorate in Theology and Spirituality at Greenwich University, School of Theology in London, England.
Peter is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister who remains individually active in the areas of formative spirituality, interfaith dialogue, and social justice concerns.
Peter may be unique within liberal religious circles because he holds a second ordination as an Independent Catholic priest. As part of his personal quest for deeper meaning, and as a result of experiences in spiritual formation and his doctoral research, Peter received additional training and education and since 1998, he has been affiliated with the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict.
Trained as a theologian, he prefers an interfaith or inclusive approach to religion and to spirituality. Having experience in liberal Protestant churches and independent Catholic parishes, he seeks to find unifying values in both Eastern and Western thought. One of his mentors, Matthew Fox, founder of the modern understanding of Creation Spirituality, sees the new definition of ministry as being “post-denominational theologians” or as being “priests of the new paradigm”.
As a householder, Peter enjoys organic gardening, learning how to cook healthfully, tennis, Tai Chi, and he has valiantly tried to learn how to dance better! As a self-described “Renaissance man”, Peter sees himself as an Italian “Fiddler on the Roof”–one who is trying to keep his balance, who is learning to enjoy life’s insecurities, and seeking the grace and wisdom it takes to dance through each day’s challenges.
Peter brings his more emotional and open-hearted approach to the interfaith and inclusive ministry in a way that honors and preserves the past while enthusiastically embracing change. His view of life is that one risks in order to transform, and that one learns to embrace paradox so that all the opportunities for growth, awareness and understanding that the future holds will not pass him by!
Weddings & Remembrances
Over the past thirty years, Peter has performed a large number of weddings and remembrances. Each service has its own unique opportunities, challenges, requirements and rewards., In each case, he brings his open-minded and open-hearted approach to what is being asked of him.
The birth or adoption of any child is a life changing event. It can become a memorable experience of affirmation and blessing that welcomes that child into our human experience, and that surrounds the child with love and acceptance. He sees a christening or a dedication as the celebration for the unfolding of the human spirit that will embrace their identity as a planetary citizen, and as a creative contributor to the betterment of our world…
Remembrances: Memorials & Funerals
While he is willing to accept and perform the traditional services, Peter prefers to design services of remembrance so that it becomes a celebration of that person’s life, and an affirmation of the virtues and values that person had shown to others, and instilled in her/his family. We are made immortal by the gift of memory… and as long as memory survives, we can recall those who have died with reverence and gratitude. Peter often designs memorial services to reflect the personal beliefs of the deceased and will invite the music, poetry, and readings that reflect on that person’s outlook on life. As a part of each memorial, he welcomes those family members and friends who would like to share a brief personal story, and who would offer a last statement of grief and gratitude, sadness and thanksgiving that expresses the importance and impact of that person on their lives…
Memorial and funerals are designed to take place in funeral homes or churches, at back yard gatherings, or on the beach, etc… Simply put, wherever it would be fitting and meaningful for the family and friends to gather… . Peter would also offer a brief interment service if that was the wish of the surviving family…
Spiritual Life Coaching & Interfaith Spiritual Direction
For the last thirty years, Peter has been involved in assisting people to find their own best answers; First, as a psychotherapist whose primary experience was in marriage and family issues, and in drug and alcohol concerns. Second; through my years of liberal ministry.and since 1989, I pursued and completed training as an interfaith spiritual director, and have completed my certification as a life coach last Fall.
Looking back, my approach has always contained a pastoral quality about it. My concern for the whole person is also a continuing theme as the well being of the person as mind/body/spirit acting as an interdependent unity has been foremost. I feel that I was an informal pioneer in these modalities and outlooks before the “New Age” emphasis became more socially popular or before it was more prevalent in our cultural awareness.
My understanding of a more philosophical and spiritual basis for coaching and for spiritual direction is that they are distinctly different from psychotherapy, and not to be considered as a replacement or as a substitute for deeper levels of therapeutic or professional advice. The emphasis is on encouraging a client to find their own best answers to their soulful questions. Peter will be glad to refer anyone to the appropriate professionals based on their situation they describe, or the need they might have for in depth investigations or medication.
When assessing my coaching and spiritual direction experiences, I seek to address the hunger for meaning, or purpose and this involves a more complete regard for the whole person that includes an active and aware spiritual identity. From the perspective of the great wisdom and faith traditions, East and West, I draw my resources and share them to inform my clients of how the timeless traditions can and often do directly impact on their problems and their perceptions of their life and its challenges.
Spiritual formation or spiritual direction is the over-all term used for the person who has been trained to assist others along their religious journey, or their spiritual search. Its process involves the individual in finding and exploring those values, principles and ideals that are most meaningful and powerful in your life. One of the goals is to help the individual to see how holding those ideals and values has an important impact on the depth and direction of their lives.
Spiritual Life Coaching and Interfaith Spiritual Direction are similar to the counseling process of dialogue and discussion, yet, it involves the recognition that there is a trialogue from which meaning and insight comes to us… That third dimension, the workings and gleanings of the Spirit, is a dimension we all possess, yet it often has to be summoned, awakened, enlivened within us.
You Are What You Seek
from Richard Rohr’s daily Meditations: False Self/True Self
On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you. —John 14:20
“That day” is usually a long time in coming for most of us. We hold on to the illusion of a separate self as long as we can. Yet this process of transformation has been the enduring invitation of every great religion in history. Divine—and thus universal—union is the core message and goal of all healthy religion.
The spiritual wisdom of divine union is first beautifully expressed in writing in the Vedas (the oldest source of Hinduism, at least three thousand years old). One of its “grand pronouncements” is Tat Tvam Asi in Sanskrit. This condensed wisdom might be translated in any of these ways:
YOU are That!
You ARE what you seek!
THOU art That! THAT you are!
You are IT!
The meaning of this saying is that the True Self—in its original, pure, primordial state—is wholly or partially identifiable or even identical with God, the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena. That which you long for, you also are. In fact, that is where the longing comes from.
Longing for God and longing for our True Self are the same longing. The mystics would say it is God who is even doing the longing in us and through us (as the Divine Indwelling or the Holy Spirit). God implanted a natural affinity and allurement between God’s Self and all of God’s creatures. The limited and the Limitless would otherwise be incapable of union; the finite and the Infinite could never be reconciled into one. There must be a point of similarity!
Religion has only one absolute job description: to make one out of two and one out of many. For Christians, this is “the Christ Mystery” whereby we believe God overcame the gap from God’s side. St. Augustine called it “prevenient grace,” meaning that grace exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done or can do, “or grace would not be grace at all” (see Romans 11:6 and Ephesians 2:8-10). The initiative is always from God’s side. The deepest human need and longing is to overcome this separateness, the distance from what seems “over there” and “beyond me,” namely, a transcendent God/Reality/Universe. God overcomes the gap in Christ and in every experience that we allow to be graced. I have come to believe that the essence of an authentic God experience is the utter gratuity of it and the new gratuitous freedom it creates in the receiver.
God is saying in all incarnations that “I am not totally Other; in fact I am the transcendent within everything here.” Pause and think about that. “I have planted some of myself in all things which forever long for reunion.” If God is perceived as absolute otherness, it eventually creates absolute alienation, which is most of Western civilization today. Add to that any notion of God as petty, angry, or torturing, and the mystical journey comes to a standstill. So God created similarity and compassion, which become visible in the human Jesus to overcome this tragic gap—in a way that we could see, touch, and understand (1 John 1:1). God-in-you seeks and loves God beyond, like an implanted homing device. It works!
Gateway to Silence:
God in me loves God in everything.
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 95, 98-100.
Mindful Walking – firstname.lastname@example.org – Gmail
The Discernment Prayer by Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so. But I believe that my desire to please you does, in fact, please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always thought I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
St. Teresa of Avila’s Bookmark
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing; God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things. Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.
Prayer by St. Francis de Sales
Do not look forward to the trials and crosses of this life and fear. Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them. He has guided and guarded you this far in life. Do you but hold fast to His hand, and he will lead you safely through all trials. Whenever you cannot stand, he will carry you lovingly in his arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Eternal Father who cares for you today will take good care of you tomorrow and every day of your life. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you the unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all useless thoughts, vain dreads, and anxious imaginations.
Note: for those of you unfamilair with the “second” St. Francis, he was the founder of spiritual friendship or spiritul direction practices. He live near Geneva, Switzerlandwas best known through his letters of advice to those who would pose difficult life situations or challenging spiritual situations…
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
A Life of Prayer by Rainer Maria Rilke
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
How to Have a Successful Life without Money or Fame
posted April 13, 2016
Ask the wealthy–money and fame doesn’t always equate to happiness. The reason is simple, if you’re not happy with yourself, and can not appreciate the simplest things in life, joy will escape you. I know people who have more than most, some who’ve had money and access since birth, but they are miserable.
They’re nasty to others, selfish, bitter, and some have no people skills. They wonder why they can’t find love, or can’t seem to find happiness. No matter what you have, eventually it is not enough—the road then becomes very lonely. You can’t escape you and you can’t wrap arms around fame. We do need to have needs met and experience achievement—it s necessary. This is not about the essentials, and living a Hollywood dream life seen on television.
It comes down to simple joys, and building a foundation of happiness. Wealthy people struggle just the same with relationships the American Psychological Association found. They worry about schools– kids being independent, or being treated badly by others since they were born into money. They also were concerned if their children would be truly loved by others, not for their money, or what they could do for them.
“They worried that if their children have enough money and don’t have to worry about covering the mortgage, what will motivate them? How will they lead meaningful lives? This is where the money might get in the way and make things confusing, not necessarily better, ” APA cited.
“Very few said they hoped their children made a lot of money, and not many said they were going to give all the money to charity and let their kids fend for themselves. They were, however, really interested in helping their children figure out how they could live a meaningful life.”
Author Maya Angelou shared to make an effort to make people feel good. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
People who give are happier! It gets your mind off yourself, and allows you to serve others who may be less fortunate than you. You don’t need money to do this, but you may have the time. Did you know that giving releases oxytocin? This is a feeling of happiness and joy. There is more to this giving thing.
Elite Daily reporter John Haltiwanger reported it is also a survival instinct. “Generosity is, in part, a survival instinct. Even the simple act of sharing food or shelter with another person is an example of humanity’s intrinsic generosity. If we were an overwhelmingly selfish species, we would’ve gone extinct a long time ago.”
The Mayo Clinic reported 10 percent of people base happiness on external circumstances. Change that around. Get out and be grateful. Counting your blessings will re-frame your thoughts into a better direction—more positive one. Being thankful is healthy, and once you get started there is a momentum. Make this a habit that can stick as a good attitude can make life entirely better. Being thankful will give you a peace of mind, help with depression, and could help loneliness. Also, gratitude can boost the immune system. Injustice is a part of life. We need to accept that we can’t control everything in the world or in our lives.
Adapting to this is imperative to happiness and joy. It takes practice, but like anything else you can be happy in negative circumstances. We don’t like to surrender when life is spiraling out of control. Psychology Today explained to
“Your ability to control your own mind is diminished by seeking to control others and the circumstances. Indeed, a critical element in developing mental control is a willingness to accept whatever outcomes you are dealt. If you cannot fully accept your outcomes–including, for example, the presence of a toxic boss, or poor health–you will not be able to interpret these outcomes in a positive light, and hence, you cannot be happy.”
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; he who loses faith, loses all.”
Something to really think about.
Have You Meditated Too Much?
It may be hard to believe but it is actually possible to meditate too much.
posted December 21, 2012
I started to meditate regularly when I was 24 years of age and have continued to do so for the past 28 years, virtually on a daily basis.
Like most people I used to believe that meditation is an excellent way to calm my mind and get back to peace and happiness in the midst of an otherwise hectic life-style. I also thought that the more you meditate the better it is for you.
While this belief is true to some extent, I have come to learn about another aspect of meditation that is much more challenging and is much less often talked about.
Basically, meditation is a gradual and controlled way to open up our unconscious mind and deal with all our unresolved issues that may be stored there. These issues encompass every trauma, ego slight and emotional hurt that we have experienced throughout our entire life and it also contains all unresolved issues from our former lives as well. All these problems will be gradually released into our consciousness throughout daily meditation, where we can deal with this material.
Here is an example about how this works: If we remember an emotionally painful situation during meditation that we had forgotten about, we can then send love to the person who has hurt us, which will resolve the issue. Or, if we feel shame about an incident, where we ourselves have hurt someone else, we need to send love to ourselves as well.
However, when too much of this unresolved material arises or if we are not taught how to deal with it, this can all become a bit overwhelming. We may get very confused, particularly when memories of past lives occur that we cannot understand. Our usual response to this scenario is to try to repress these uncomfortable memories and get back to our old sense of self. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. If we try to suppress this material we may get very uncomfortable physical symptoms like shaking, tingling or pain. This dynamic is called kundalini syndrome.
The kundalini syndrome develops when we meditate too much and are unable to deal with the strange, frightening and confusing sensations and perceptions arising from our unconscious mind.
While all this may sound frightening, it is good to be forewarned about it so as not to make the typical mistake of meditating even more. If you feel strange sensations while meditating it is best to reduce your mediation practice or even stop for a while. This will make it possible to work through all the material that has been released from your unconscious mind in a steady and controlled way.
taraspringett.com/kundalini/kundalini-symptoms or refer to Tara Springett’s book The Five-Minute Miracle. Tara holds an M.A. in Education and is a fully qualified and licensed psychotherapist and counsellor who has specialised in treating kundalini syndrome. Tara has worked as a counsellor since 1988. Tara has been a dedicated Buddhist practitioner since 1986. In 1997 she received encouragement from her Buddhist teachers to teach meditation. Tara is the author of several self-help books. She has been featured in numerous publications and has appeared on various radio and television shows in Europe and the United States. Her website is: www.taraspringett.com.
How to Achieve Spiritual Fitness
When the year turns over, we reach a birthday, or mark a moment of life transition, most people take it as a cue to reflect on what they could do better or differently. For many of us, thoughts immediately turn to physical fitness. But what about spiritual fitness? These 10 steps will start your journey.
posted January 13, 2010
Jonathan Ellerby, Ph.D., is the Spiritual Program Director for the internationally acclaimed Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona and the author of Return to the Sacred and Your Spiritual Personality.
Tip 1: Make a Commitment: No Junk Moods
Make a commitment and a concentrated effort to reduce the people, places, and things that drain your energy or entrap you in negative moods. Less violence in what you watch, less gossip and complaining in what you hear, and less chaos in where you go will help you to stay balanced and connected to your essence.
Tip 2: Lift Someone’s Spirit Every Day
Life can be difficult, that is certain. Helping to make someone else’s day a little better or easier will always help to brighten your day and feed your soul. Lifting people’s spirits can be as simple as a generous show of gratitude, a compliment to a person who has helped you, holding a door open for a busy person, or offering encouragement to someone in need. Helping others in small ways will eventually pay back in a big way.
Tip 3: Know Your Spiritual Personality
As you seek practices, philosophies, and people to help you explore your spiritual side, don’t forget that we all have a spiritual personality. Just as we don’t all love the same types of sports, ice cream, music, or clothing styles, we won’t all like the same spiritual practices. To begin to understand your spiritual personality, write a list of the activities that bring you a sense of peace, connection, or joy. Look for themes in your answers and find a practice that is similar. Remember: the best spiritual practice is the one that works for you.
Tip 4: Pick a Daily Practice: Break the 24-Hour Cycle
If you want true and lasting spiritual fitness, you should pick a simple activity that helps you to return to a place of calm and reflection that you can do every day, at least once a day. A five minute breathing exercise, prayers in the morning, meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, or a ten-minute visualization are all examples of simple and effective ways to reconnect you to what matters most. It’s important to do your practice daily so that you can interrupt the cycles of stress, distraction, and business that we all fall into each day.
Tip 5: Pick a Weekly Practice: Break the 7-Day Cycle
A deep sense of spiritual wellbeing and inner strength comes from exercising your soul. A daily practice is essential for maintenance, but a more involved weekly practice will bring you depth. Your weekly practice typically could involve a group to help shape your context, keep your focus, and provide feedback.
Church, synagogue, meditation groups, singing in a choir, yoga, tai chi, a contemplative walk in nature, are good possible examples of a weekly practice.
Tip 6: Be a Sensible Seeker: Ask the Right Questions
Remember that when you seek spiritual teachers, texts, and community, it’s important to be a conscious consumer. It’s important to look for credentials, to be sure it feels like a fit, and to look deeper than what the marketing and advertising is telling you. Here are five critical questions to keep in mind – if you experience any of these things, it’s likely time to step back, or step away completely.
Do you feel that your or other people’s sense of integrity is being violated?
Do you feel the financial cost exceeds the value offered?
Do you feel more dependent than empowered?
Do you see behaviour that you’d otherwise consider abuse if it happened elsewhere (sexual, emotional, physical, etc.)?
Do you feel the teacher or program has become more important than the goal of growth, personal awakening or your own direct connection to a Higher Power?
Tip 7: Find a Teacher
On one hand, finding a good self-help or spiritual teacher is getting harder all the time. As it gets easier for people to self-appoint and self-promote, it becomes hrder to figure out whom to listen to, or what teacher to get involved with on a personal or spiritual level
On the other hand, not having a teacher or a trusted guide of some kind can lead to disaster or misdirection. Try to incorporate a teacher, mentor, or guide in your life, at least on an occasional basis, and use these four questions to help you research your choice:
Do they have a mentor or mentors in a recognized tradition or community that trained and prepared them for their work? Will they openly share their history of training and study with specific details?
Are they a part of or endorsed by a community that you consider credible and recognizes their work and stands behind their reputation? This should not be their own organization (it could be a larger group such as a hospital, a university, a resort, a religious community, a training association, or a professional association).
Do they demonstrate the 4H’s of a good spiritual teacher– Honesty, Humility, Heart-centeredness, Humor?
Tip 8: Find Your Fellows
It’s a simple but powerful lesson: keep the company of like-minded and similarly intentioned people, and your goal will be easier to achieve. This doesn’t mean we should judge or reject those who are not like us, it simply means that spiritual growth is assisted by community, support, and the momentum of others headed in the same direction.
Tip 9: Know When to Move On
Whether you are struggling with a teacher, a practice, or a community, one of the biggest challenges is to stay committed and present even when you feel like checking out. Sometimes our greatest breakthroughs come after we have found the courage to learn a little more and trust the process. In other cases, the greatest lesson is to honor your limits, your needs, and your truth. Staying too long in something that doesn’t serve you can be harmful, even dangerous. If you aren’t able to tell the difference between the good reasons for staying and the good reasons for going, find a few friends or trusted guides to explore your feelings with. If you are honest and your counsel is reasonable, you’ll quickly find your answer.
Tip 10: Live B.I.G. (with Blessing, Intention and Gratitude)
At the heart of all spiritual growth and meaningful practice is the role of your attitude and intent. The attitude you bring to your life, yourself, and your spiritual path will be reflected in what it returns to you. Amongst the many important attitudes are what I think of as “the big three.”
Anchor your life, your choices, your attitude, and your practice in the big three and you will find that all the inner strength and love you seek. You can remember these three by their acronym: BIG. Just remember to live BIG:
Blessing – bring a mindset of blessing to each struggle and situation you encounter. This means both to look for the blessing in each situation and to bless what you struggle with – if it doesn’t change the situation, it will change you.
Intention – attention follows focus and if you are clear in what you intend to be or create you will be more likely to find it, or attract it. Intention also gives you a reference point for your decisions, rather that react, consider your intention, then make your choice.
Gratitude – take time as often as you can to feel gratitude for whatever goodness there is in your life. Sometimes it may be for simple things and other times profound, but feeling thankful will help you to look for the best in situations and bring out a sense of peace and contentment in you.
Why Are We Together? Reasons for Relationships
We all want fresh, clean slates upon which to build our relationships — foundations that don’t carry the wounds from our past. But it’s not that easy.
We’re attracted to people who trigger our wounds because we need to work through them.
When you confront the wounds that surface in relationships, you have the opportunity to discover the truth of who you are. You get to see what you’re really made of. Pain viewed through this perspective becomes a gift. It’s a catalyst for your growth.
In this article, I’ll talk about how to work through this frustrating process so you can finally find peace, connection and fulfillment in love.
Let’s start at the beginning. As children, we internalize the energy that surrounds us. Our family dynamics naturally create an “energy imprint” within us, which is really just a belief system about relationships.
Because we create our realities internally, this imprint influences the relationships we create as adults, attracting partners who evoke the same kind of pain we experienced when we were young.
If you felt unseen or unheard in relationships in the past, you’ll be prone to attract partners who evoke that feeling as an adult. If you felt like you didn’t have the space to be yourself when you were young, you’ll create relationships where you feel smothered.
It’s important to acknowledge that no one had perfect parents or a perfect childhood. We all have wounds. While it’s normal and appropriate to grieve them, if you get stuck there (“I didn’t get what I wanted!”) it’s impossible to create a new reality.
You can transcend any hurt, disappointment or recurring pattern if you’re willing to learn the lesson it’s trying to teach you. This transformative process involves the following steps.
1. Turn your attention back to yourself.
When your emotions are triggered in a relationship, often a wound from your past is coming to the surface so you can become aware of it and heal it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person didn’t do something wrong, or that you don’t have a right to be upset. It just means that that is secondary information.
The primary information is that you feel powerless, unloved, unknown, or trapped — whatever your trigger is! And you wouldn’t be in that situation if you hadn’t created it.
Our realities are based on our beliefs from the past. Only when you take personal responsibility for this, can you shift the faulty belief system and move into a more rewarding reality.
Blame, on the other hand, keeps us stuck because it focuses our attention on the other person. So, to turn your attention back to yourself when you feel hurt. If you do, you can overcome any trigger you face.
In other words, this is the door to freedom. It’s your choice to walk through it.
2. Ask yourself why it might be happening.
The way to heal wounds (and to ensure you don’t repeat them) is to bravely ask yourself how you got there in the first place. In other words, what belief (or imprint) is creating this experience for you?
What belief about myself or relationships is making this situation appear?
When we look deep enough, we learn that most of our hurt comes from a belief (or fear) of being separated from love.
If you are separated from love within yourself you’ll be separated from love with another person. It always comes down to that: When we hurt, we feel disconnected from love.
By asking why you feel hurt, you can uncover the place that feels separated from love. It may come in the form of a sense of unworthiness, but the root is this fear of disconnection. The next step is how you transform that.
3. Discover the truth of who you are.
All you have to do when you encounter the part that feels disconnected from love is be with it. Bring your presence, awareness, and compassion to that space within you.
Don’t push the experience into the corner, even though it hurts. Don’t try to make it go away. Sit with it (as you would with a child who was hurting) and a peculiar thing will happen: You’ll feel loved.
You’ll feel loved because you are love. It’s the ultimate truth of who you are.
Discovering the experience of love in your wounds is the biggest gift a person could ever receive. The only way you can receive it is if you’re brave enough to look at your wounds.
This process is intense and it will change your life. If you’re ready to overcome painful patterns in relationships, then gather your courage and take a look at what they’re trying to show you. A whole new reality in love is waiting for you on the other side.
How to Know if You’re Spiritually Bypassing
By Jonathan Toniolo on Wednesday May 18th, 2016
Can Spirituality Damage your Growth?
I first heard about spiritual bypassing on one of my favorite podcasts, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour. For those of you that haven’t had the privilege of hearing Duncan orate, it’s kind of like listening to a raspy hybrid of Alan Watts and Jim Breuer — wise enough to capture your attention, with a certain stoned goofiness that keeps it all playful.
Duncan talks about spirituality in nearly all of his interviews — most guests will happily indulge him in doing so. Naturally, spirituality is a big reason why people tune in to the podcast. So it took me by surprise when he mentioned that spirituality, as a set of ideas and practices, could actually be self–sabotaging.
Spiritual bypassing, a term coined in the early 1980s by psychologist John Welwood, refers to the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with uncomfortable feelings, unresolved wounds, and fundamental emotional and psychological needs. The concept was developed in the spirit of Chögyam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, which was one of the first attempts to name this spiritual distortion.
According to teacher and author Robert Augustus Masters, spiritual bypassing causes us to withdraw from ourselves and others, hiding behind a kind of spiritual veil of metaphysical beliefs and practices. He says it “not only distances us from our pain and difficult personal issues, but also from our own authentic spirituality, stranding us in a metaphysical limbo… a zone of exaggerated gentleness, niceness, and superficiality.”
We hide behind a kind of spiritual veil of metaphysical beliefs and practices.
We hide behind a kind of spiritual veil of metaphysical beliefs and practices.
My Own Bypassing
In Masters’ groundbreaking book, Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us From What Really Matters, he writes:
“Aspects of spiritual bypassing include exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, overemphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development (cognitive intelligence often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence), debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow side, devaluation of the personal relative to the? spiritual, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being.”
Before listening to Duncan wax lyrical about this, I never imagined there could be such subtle and complex consequences of pursuing spiritual matters. And thinking that I, a cautious and sincere spiritual seeker, could be suffering such consequences seemed equally absurd. But after reading the detailed description of symptoms, I knew it applied to my situation. I realised that at a certain point in early adulthood, I had perverted spirituality into a defense mechanism — a mechanism that enabled me to disavow any negative quality or behavior in myself.
I recall a few specific patterns taking place:
Whenever I became anxious, I would immediately reach for the nearest Eckhart Tolle or Alan Watts text on my bookshelf. Instead of sitting with the anxiety and checking in to see if it was coming from an innocuous source, I would quickly find refuge in spiritual philosophy.
I would strive to maintain the appearance of someone who is constantly at peace with oneself, even though inside I may have felt like the weight of the world was crushing down on my soul. This kind of faux spirituality had a complete stranglehold on my speech and behavior and caused intense cognitive dissonance.
Whenever I had done something hurtful or wrong to another person, I would rarely take responsibility for it. I deflected that responsibility by saying things like “that person just needs to grow spiritually” or “it’s just an illusion anyways” — all in a naïve tone reminiscent of the time I thought I was a bonafide professor of quantum physics.
The process of realising when you’re to blame in any given situation is no easy task. But spiritual bypassing enables one to ignore that difficult process altogether. It led me to believe I was always right because I was more “enlightened” than all the ignorant sheeples who just couldn’t see the damn light. But the harsh truth of this spiritual arrogance is that I was ignoring the pain I caused in others because I was ignoring a similar pain in myself.
I strived to maintain the appearance of someone who is constantly at peace with oneself.I strived to maintain the appearance of someone who is constantly at peace with oneself.
Reinforcements From Our Culture
“Part of the reason for [spiritual bypassing] is that we tend not to have very much tolerance, either personally or collectively, for facing, entering, and working through our pain, strongly preferring pain-numbing “solutions,” regardless of how much suffering such “remedies” may catalyze. Because this preference has so deeply and thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it has become all but normalized, spiritual bypassing fits almost seamlessly into our collective habit of turning away from what is painful, as a kind of higher analgesic with seemingly minimal side effects. It is a spiritualized strategy not only for avoiding pain but also for legitimizing such avoidance, in ways ranging from the blatantly obvious to the extremely ?subtle.
The subtlety of recognition seems to be the root of why this affliction is so widespread and under-diagnosed. Psychologist Ingrid Mathieu also notes this subtlety in her article Beware of Spiritual Bypass:
“Although the defense looks a lot prettier than other defenses, it serves the same purpose. Spiritual bypass shields us from truth, it disconnects us from our feelings, and helps us avoid the big picture. It is more about checking out than checking in — and the difference is so subtle that we usually don’t even know we are doing it.”
Part of the reason for spiritual bypassing is that we tend not to have very much tolerance for pain.We tend not to have very much tolerance for pain.
Considering our culture generally shuns negative emotions, it’s no surprise many of us respond to those emotions with repression. Prominent manifestations of repression, such as alcoholism and drug addiction, are forms of relief whose conspicuous quality makes them easier to identify and intervene.
Spiritual bypassing, while seemingly more benign, is much more difficult to notice because it’s guised in the appearance of wholeness and wisdom. It’s much harder to recognise our repression when we’re chanting “Om Shanti” on a regular basis or repeating positive affirmations that “everything is okay” or “all is love.”
Yoga, meditation, psychedelics, prayer, affirmations, deeply engaging with the present moment, etc. are all incredibly powerful spiritual tools if used appropriately. But sometimes, and if we’re not careful, those things can end up masking deeper issues lingering both inside and outside of us.
Spiritual Bypassing is a manifestation of repression, as is alcoholism and drug addiction.Spiritual Bypassing is a manifestation of repression, as is alcoholism and drug addiction.
To me, spiritual bypassing is fundamentally about taking a so-called absolute truth — such as “everything is okay” — and using it to ignore or deny relative truths — such as the grief we feel when we lose a loved one, or the shame that arises when we fail at something important. On the personal and interpersonal level, sometimes everything isn’t okay. And that’s okay.
That may seem trite, but in the context of spiritual bypassing, it’s a platitude that I feel requires frequent repetition. Before we can heal our pain, we have to be honest about it and accept it — which is ideally what spirituality should help realize. As Masters suggests, this is certainly easier said than done and requires a level of vulnerability which most of us are uncomfortable with.
Nonetheless, if we grant validity to the many claims that spirituality is shaping the evolution of humanity, it seems wise to confront the intricacies of our own bypassing sooner rather than later. Doing so could not only prevent years of developmental stagnation, but also help implement new angles of self-awareness that our world so desperately needs. Acknowledgment and acceptance were the first major steps for me, and I sense a deeper spirituality is following in their wake.
A little tongue in cheek humor about religion and life….
Guidelines for the Religiously Dysfunctional
1) As I let go of my guilt, I can more easily get in touch with my inner sociopath.
2) I know that I can channel my imagination into ever greater opportunities… for paranoia and suspicion.
3) I willingly accept responsibility for my actions, except for the ones that I feel are somebody’s else’s fault.
4) I do not choose to deceive myself, punish or compromise myself unless I want to keep my job!
5) I have to remember, in some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
6) Having control over myself is almost as good as being able to control others.
7) My intution is so strong it almost makes up for my astonishing lack of good judgment!
8) I have learned to honor my personality flaws- without them, I would have no personality at all!
9) I now know that I need not suffer in silence- I get attention when I whimper and moan!
10) when someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is good… In fact, it much cheaper than a lawsuit, however nowhere near as satisfying!
11) The first step towards self improvement is to be able to say nice things about myself.
Second is to do nice things. The third is to find someone who will buy nice things for me.
12) As I learn to trust the universe, I will no longer feel that it is necessary to carry a gun.
14) I have learned to be at one with my duality.
15) I will honor all facets of my being, regardless of state and federal laws.
16) Just for today, I will not sit in my living room in my underwear; instead, I will move my TV and computer into my bedroom.
17) Becoming aware of my primary character faults leads me naturally to blaming my parents.
18) The key to a successful relationship, is learning how to make it look like I am giving as much as I am taking!
19) I have learned to accept making mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.
20) Before I will criticize anyone, I will walk a mile in his shoes… The, If he is angry with me, he will be barefoot and a mile away!