Spirituality vs. Religion: Go Your Own Way

I realize that, in general, this topic has been done to death.  “I’m spiritual, not religious” has been adopted by the nouveau-spiritual as a handy catch phrase usually implying that 1. their spirituality is better than your religion and 2. they’ve somehow fast-tracked their way to enlightenment through the latest pseudo-enlightened gimmick.

Now I suppose that I could be accused of falling into that category of nouveau-spiritual.  Raised as a Presbyterian, I followed Christianity blindly and without any real depth of understanding.  I didn’t understand Original Sin, or why Jesus had to die for my sins – Original or otherwise – and I didn’t believe in miracles (so, no virgin birth, no burning bushes, no spontaneous healing or prophetic angels).  The one exception to this was the Second Coming.  I was terrified that, even if everything else was completely unbelievable, Satan and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were as real a threat as anything. And I clung to this fear long after I gave up on the believability/credibility of the rest.

Eventually I reasoned that all of it was hogwash.  But this does illustrate an important point: blind faith without real understanding leads to frightening misrepresentation of the otherwise beautiful and sacred.  I realized (like I presume so many who have become disenfranchised with mainstream religion) that there was a gap that religion did fill (even my fractured understanding of religion).  It allowed for a certain order within the Universe.  And, perhaps more dangerously,  it allowed me to externalize everything and engage in existentialist thought patterns.  After all, without the devil to blame for my sins (or original sin, for that matter), my actions became my own.  And I was entirely too naive to handle that.

In the film “How to know God,” Deepak Chopra states quite eloquently that modern culture has strip-mined religion.  I’d like to think that some current forms of spiritualism engage in this same practice.  I say this because I’ve lived this.  When I jumped out of the arms of Christianity I free-fell into the abyss of dime-a-dozen profits, fly-by-night orders, capitalist cults and some crazy woman masquerading around as the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine, I jumped into an externalization of my own spirituality.  And when all that didn’t work, I started doing drugs.  So I know that finding one’s own path can be a frightening process.  And it can be dangerous if you seek to follow a kind of spiritualism that seeks to keep all things external and denies personal accountability.  Just as an example, as well meaning as phenomena like “The Secret” start out, modern culture and consumerism have morphed them into the latest fad, feeding on wide-eyed defectors of traditional religion who wander from seminar to seminar looking for answers.

Fellow defectors, there are no answers in these seminars.  I promise you – I’ve looked.  And, you should know that there are no answers to your questions outside of yourself.  Yes, you are entitled to guidance in the form of teachers, and you will come across them in many ways.  But take care not to blindly follow.  Your path is your own. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you that they have all of the answers.  You are entitled to guidance, and trusting someone to show you the way is a sacred process.  When one soul leads another along a spiritual journey, it is a soul contract.  You will know the right teacher because he or she will feel like, well, they’ll feel like home, really.  The relationship will not be superficial or one-sided.  Yes, even as you are the student, you are also the teacher as soulful collaboration benefits all souls involved.

Whether you choose to remain devoutly Catholic or choose to swan dive into the realm of quantum spiritualism, you must do it for YOU.  It doesn’t really matter whether you are “spiritual” or “religious” or some combination of the two.  The only thing that does matter, is that the path you choose is your own and for the sake of yourself alone.

Love and light.

Coming Out of the (Psychic) Closet

So after a couple of months of working steady as a part-time psychic, I decided to come out.  This is not unlike the “coming out” that has long been a right of passage (or terror) that the LGBT community has had to endure.  In both cases it involves timing, faith in your loved ones and, occasionally, cocktails.

You have to understand, that even though I had seen and sensed this new psychic “thing” coming a long way off, no one else had.  In fact, given all of my recent professional accomplishments and accolades, believing that I was all of a sudden talking to dead people and disincarnate beings was going to be hard for many people to take.  So, naturally, I felt that the best course of action to keep friends and colleagues on a strict need-to-know basis.  I came to this conclusion, in part, because I had already tried breaking the news to a few of my closest friends – with mildly disastrous results.  Their reactions ranged from stunned stares to “we are definitely not drunk enough for this.”  I really can’t blame my lovely left-brained friends.  At least they didn’t run away screaming.

It wasn’t long after I made the “need-to-know” rule that suddenly it seemed everyone needed to know.   One afternoon I found myself alone with one of my colleagues when I began hearing messages for her.  Very clear, very loud, very pointed messages.  I had to tell her.

Not even twenty minutes later, my mom called asking me if I knew a good psychic.  I thought she was joking.

Thirty minutes later, an old friend emailed me regaling his bizarre experience with a palm reader in Manhattan.  The first line of his email read, “I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, but….”

Clearly the Universe was having a laugh at my expense.  My Intention, I  thought, had been clear: only tell those who needed to know.  To me, this meant “only tell people who would be open to the idea of their friend/colleague/family member being a psychic.”  I thought I would know best to “pre-screen” all those who needed to know.  I was afraid of the judgment, the ridicule, and being cast off into the same category as Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Friend’s Hotline. (I know that I get on 1-900 psychics a lot, and sure some them are gifted, but many are not.  And now, these hotlines have made it into the common lexicon as something not to be trusted.  So, naturally, I like to keep my distance.)  By me calling the shots, it meant I could hold the don’t-need-to-knows at a safe distance and remain (somewhat) comfortable with my new talents.

But no matter what I thought I said to the Universe, no matter what I thought my initial intention was, it was obvious that was not what the Universe heard.  To the Universe, “need-to-know” meant, “tell the people who need to hear message and need guidance.”  Well, that was 180 degrees different then what I had originally meant.

So this brings me to my point.  Lightworkers (psychics, mediums, healers, intuitives, etc.) can not hide their light and can not hide their true selves.  It might be your preference to keep certain gifts from certain people, but those who need you will find you.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Yes, I know that’s a Bible verse, but its some of the best advice I can give here.  Don’t hide your light under a bushel, so to speak.  And why you want to?  Being your authentic self is far better and take far less energy than parading around disguised as someone else.