People will write off even the clearest, most loving person in the world when he opposes their belief system. They will invalidate him, negate him, obliterate him, prove that he's wrong, he's a fraud, he's dangerous to society, so that they can protect what they really believe is important. They'd rather be right than free. -- Byron Katie
Ever hear any of these statements in relation to an author, a teacher or a minister? Or perhaps, even had these kind of statements leveled right in your direction?
I’m always a bit amused when I hear a person say these kind of things about someone.
Even more amused when it’s said to me.
What does it mean to be “spiritual”? And, what is the benefit of defining such a thing? Isn’t that what religion has done for years?
What happens when you go outside the boundaries of dogma? Excommunication and exclusion at best—persecution, discrimination, stake burned or attacked in crusades, at worst.
I once posted about eating bacon on my Facebook page. An occult author (who rarely interacted with me), replied “As a spiritual person, I can’t believe you eat meat and participate in the torture of pigs who…” Her post went on for several lines.
I thought she was joking at first. But then I realized, “OMG. She really believes this. She MEANS this!”
Suddenly, in her eyes, I was “unspiritual” for eating meat.
Sorry, I didn’t get that memo from the Divine.
Then there’s my favorite: spiritual people act nice and sugary to others. (Unless, of course, they get offended, irked or pissed. Then, the gloves come off, and what’s inside comes out. Except, these ones call their reactions “righteous anger” or “holy indignation”…which is, apparently, perfectly acceptable.)
Apparently, I didn’t get that memo, either.
Nor did Jesus (read his words to the Pharisees, the “religious” people of the day), Gurdjieff and other Rude Awakeners.
Enlightenment and spiritual awakening rarely occur in the House of Nice or the House of Appropriate. (Uncle Al, anyone? How about Timothy Leary?)
Why? Because human tendency slouches towards inertia. People enjoy complacency. Millions numb themselves with TV shows, online games, socializing, alcohol, drugs, food and relationships. We don’t want to feel any discomfort, especially in the west—physically, emotionally or spiritually.
The beauty of the Trickster archetype, the Cosmic Rude Awakener, lies in its ability to pierce the veil, to lift the fog, to sound a clarion call. This energy manifests in myth as trickster gods like Hermes, Blue Jay, Coyote, Loki, Raven and so on, as well as in literature and film (Brer Rabbit, The Joker, The Riddler, Star Trek’s Q, come to mind).
The gift of the Trickster? Cracking our clueless veneer, our blind obeisance, our unquestioned beliefs, our fickle loyalties and our capricious “likes” or “loves”—and making us see, know and experience directly…for perhaps the very first time in our lives.
How can such beings be “unspiritual”, especially if they are the very catalyst to shake us, stir us and enliven us—to crack the shell of delusion and slumber, allowing the juicy center of our Being to manifest? To help us discover self-defined reality, truth and meaning?
Unmoving bodies of water get stagnant. There is no life in them (think Dead Sea). But moving, churning water—with an inlet and outlet, multiple channels running through the terrain? Teeming with life.
It’s been said “better the devil that you know than the devil you don’t”.
What devil do you know? What devil do you not?
So what are your thoughts, readers? What is “spiritual”? Why? Really think about this and test it against universal wisdom teachings, life experience and your personal truth. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Also, have you ever been deemed "unspiritual" or even "evil"? Care to share your story here?
Before I go, here are but a few things that people have declared “unspiritual”, “ungodly” or “demonic” over the years. Gives this post some perspective, doesn’t it?
• Short hair
• Long hair
• Bare arms
• Bare face
• Pants on a female
• Praying to spirits
• Honoring nature
• Absenteeism from church
• Not reading holy scriptures
• Lack of prayer
• Female ministers
• Eating meat
• Eating shrimp
• Wearing clothes of different colors or materials
• Making sacrifices
• Not making sacrifices
• Watching movies
• Associating with “unspiritual”, “unclean” or "shunned" people
I'll leave you with a little example of Jesus the badass:
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
Woe to you, blind guides, who say, “Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.”. . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. . . . Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? (Matthew 23:13-33)
-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)