I am a spiritual being having a human experience… ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
When I heard this for the first time it resonated at soul level. Spirituality encompasses all of who I am, everyone and thing around me- from the blade of grass to the person giving a glance. The face of God(dess) is in everyone and embodies every “thing.” I see the face of God everywhere- the sunset, the bride, the newborn, the addict- even in the mounds of trash all over the world- I see God weeping at our waste and the impact on Mother Earth. I have always been spiritual. At a point along my journey, my spirituality became more palpable- when I no longer felt afraid of my intuition- the sixth sense/third ear I was gifted with. When I embraced those gifts, I was spiritually reborn.
Spirituality vs Religion
Spirituality has such depth and breadth and is unencumbered from specific beliefs and is inclusive. Religion is focused on a specific set of beliefs and is often boundaried by rules. When I think of religion, I envision a community of like-minded people who gather together in commonalities and not as many differences.
I have come to believe that many paths lead us toward our whole selves. When I heard the song, “Age of Aquarius” in my youth, it resonated though I didn’t quite understand it as I do now. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius- moving out of a place of religious order, authority and “rules” and moving into an age that embodies the idea that we are all Ascended Masters which goes along with the concept that the face of God(dess)/Master is in each of us- entertaining [each other as] angels unawares…
Probably the most influential mystic in my life was St. John Chrysostom. Every Sunday, from the time I could read, I would hold the liturgy book and read in English the prayers that the Priest would say quietly (almost inaudibly) in Greek. This was a powerful imprint on me and I found the entire church service very mystical (but ultimately too bound by rules for me to stay…).
Of course, Jesus was an influential mystic. I remember at some point in my youth reading Jesus’ words in red in the King James version and thinking what a pure message of love that was. That has carried through as I continue to embrace the stories of Jesus and his kind, compassionate and teachable moments.
Over 20 years ago I read 4 books that “stuck” and grew me- each in different ways.
- Man’s Search for Meaning– Victor Frankl (required reading in grad school)
- Wounded Healer – Henry Nouwen (recommended reading by my pastor)
- Seat of the Soul– Gary Zukov (recommended by a pixie friend as she knew I was still in the intuitive closet)
- Banished Knowledge– Alice Miller (recommended by my therapist)
The first book helped me examine my own purpose and gave me a greater understanding of existentialism. The second book allowed me to appreciate my own wounds as foundational to the teaching and healing work I would do with others. The third book expanded my understanding of a Higher Power past the confines of my Christian faith and to embrace the concept of souls and past lives. The fourth book helped me heal my inner child and now my inner child is part of my higher self instead of being tucked away in pain.
Recently I have been inspired by the stories and writings of St. Bernadette Soubirous and Sojourner Truth. They both showed up as Spirit Guides so I was nudged to study them deeper than my surface knowledge at the time. I am currently intrigued by the writings of Rumi and the mythological Ascended Master, St. Germain.
I feel called to revisit Carl Jung and the teachings of Caroline Myss. I also feel I should be more informed about Abraham-Hicks and Elizabeth Clare Prophet as they keep showing up in conversations with students. My goal with much of what might be considered New Age or New Thought is to find the grounding message that resonates with me and informs my work as a teacher, mentor and spiritual guide. My soul loves to learn. How about yours?