So let me tell you about the book I'm (slowly) writing. I won't share the title quite yet, but it's a sort of how-to be all spiritual and personal growth-y and shit. If you have missed the previous 1200 posts I've made on this page, let's just say that I'm into that kind of stuff.
It's funny, because in my early research as to competing books and e-courses and whatnot, I've come across a lot of stuff that focused the pursuit of spirituality on burning incense and doing ceremonies. Don't get me wrong, I love those things and think they have their place in spirituality. But they are not spirituality.
To define what I think spirituality is, I use a comparison to religion. I see religion as what you learn about God* from scripture and what religious leaders tell you about him. And I see spirituality as what you learn about God from forging a personal relationship with him.
That takes more than a smudge stick and moon phase. It takes all kinds of uncomfortable things like forgiveness. Letting go. Trust. Personal responsibility. Compassion. In many ways, the path of spirituality mirrors a path of spiritual growth. Your knowledge and understanding of God/Allah/Buddha/Universe/Source will always be limited until you understand, exhibit and embrace the things they represent.
Until you love fully, without condition, and open your heart to the "worst" and "least" of humanity, then God's love is just a concept you *think* you know. You don't know the surrender and trust—the courage—it takes to open your heart in such a way. You don't understand how far one's grace must reach or deep one's grace can go. And you know nothing of the peace and blessings that come from releasing all fears and loving at that level...from a place of oneness with all things. Until you learn to live life through God's eyes, his voice will be reaching you through a filter of fear, ego and separation.
Of course, we'll never fully reach the end of any of our spiritual lessons. Or if there's one that we're particularly good at, like maybe compassion, we won't be as amazing at all of them. And I believe that no matter how far you go in your quest to become a living, breathing compassion machine, there's always going to be something that challenges the size of your heart. That said, in the pursuit of these lessons you'll get glimpses of reality through the eyes and heart of God. And you will begin to know him in ways no scripture can teach.
So far I've written much of the introduction to the book, including my full story of how I went from being an atheist to someone who won't shut up about this stuff...haha. And I'm about 90% through the first chapter on self-awareness, something I consider the absolute bedrock of everyone's spiritual path. How can you truly forgive another if you can't honestly access the part of you that needs forgiveness and understands personal responsibility? How can you have integrity if you can't see your actions (and their repercussions) from a place of objectivity and honesty?
I struggle from time to time wondering if a book like this is needed, and if I'm the person to write it. But then I look and see there really isn't much written on the topics I'm addressing....not under one cover at least. And I see what things like ego issues and a lack of self-awareness can do in the hands of the wrong people. I look around me and observe myself and others fearing and holding on instead of trusting and letting go. And I get emails and comments from people who I have helped through my writing somewhere along the way. So maybe a book like this is needed and maybe I am the one to write it.
It's hard for me to believe I'm needed or that I'm the answer to anything important. I will probably write a whole series of blogs about that when I have the courage and will to go there...haha. But I'm beginning to believe it's true. And, frankly, this is my plan for my later 50s through the end of my life, so if I don't make it happen, I'm kind of screwed. Fortunately, I have at least one well-connected angel-on-earth who is willing and eager to help me bring it to fruition.
There has never been a better time to move toward God—or if you don't believe in any version of God, toward the concept of love—than now. If I can help people get through their stuck places or misunderstandings (forgiveness, for example, is widely misunderstood, imo) then I'm using this wonderful passion for writing and spirituality to its highest good. I hope you'll all join me on that journey.
*I struggled over this word for a long time. So I'll say this. My belief and perspective is that everything that most everyone considers to be their higher power is the same energy or entity seen through many different eyes and by many different names. The one that resonates more closely with me is "the Universe". The word that resonates more closely with human beings in general is "God". Feel free to substitute your word for "God" as you read along.