Growing in Spiritual Awareness: Three Misconceptions
Updated: Mar 22
This post describes three common misconceptions about growing in spiritual awareness that apply to all types of spiritual paths including: formal religion, ancient traditions, and new-age thought.
It happens through a specific practice or religion
While the sign on the trailhead may give you some peace that you are going in the right direction, the path you take along the way makes all the difference. Every route you take with the goal of increasing your spiritual awareness, will have paths that are loving and life-giving, and others that take you in the opposite direction. For example, you can be in a yoga class feeling deep peace and connecting with your body and breath, or you can be competing with your classmates and mentally berating yourself for being so inflexible! You can attend a Christian church and become more compassionate and humble, or you can interpret the messages in ways that lead to fear and judgment.
So whatever route you take to increase your spiritual awareness, do not sleep walk! Keep your eyes and ears open. Remember that the Creative Force is always loving, connecting, empowering and expanding. Align yourself with those messages, and bypass the others.
It is about experiencing love, peace, and connection
Many people join spiritual gatherings because they feel love, peace, hope, and joy in these situations, and a connection with like-minded people. And even though these experiences can inspire us, a deeper journey is also possible.
To embody this peaceful state, it often requires a re-tuning of the body and mind. This process has been given many names such as: healing, personal, self or spiritual transformation, and even progressive enlightenment. Quite simply, you are made of love and light, and the key is to gradually recognize and release the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors you have inherited, picked up, and developed that block you from this experience. This road is more than a feel-good trek, and sometimes it's difficult and rocky. But as you do the work, you will perceive and experience more peace, love, and joy in your regular life. For help with this part of the journey, I encourage you to check out my book, Healing with Awareness.
It is a way to get what we want
In modern day times (especially in America) growing in spiritual awareness has been touted as a way to enhance our health and wealth, and a way to manifest our desires for possessions, relationships, opportunities, etc. This idea has some truth to it. As our spiritual awareness grows, the way we perceive and experience ourselves and our lives can change in positive ways, and when we extricate ourselves from limiting beliefs and behaviors, we are more free to create. It has also been postulated that as we release resistance, the frequency of our vibration increases which attracts people and situations that are on our new wavelength.
But now consider that with this perspective Jesus and Buddha would be considered colossal failures! Buddha gave up his noble position and fortune to pursue enlightenment, and Jesus left his job as a carpenter to roam around and preach. Legend has it that Buddha sat still without eating or drinking for 49 days, and Jesus was eventually tortured and murdered. Throughout history, many saints and activists have faced social, financial, and health challenges and even death. So it's pretty clear that growing in spiritual awareness is more than a way to ensure our human stability or survival.
Growing in awareness does not remove the challenges in life; it changes how we experience them. As our awareness expands, we shrink less in fear; we stay more present; we learn from our experiences, and we feel more peace, joy, love and gratitude in our regular lives.