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Philosophy

Tools of The Spirit

How We Grow Spiritually

Within the past few decades, there has been an explosion of books, videos, speakers and research articles surrounding every aspect of what we know as the broad umbrella of “metaphysics”. Science is now backing up the benefits of what yogis, mystics, shamans and other spiritual teachers have been saying for centuries. The “spiritual path” as people call it, is becoming mainstream and I believe this to be a very good thing. 

However, something I have also noticed is an increase in spiritual superiority, or a term I think is more fun to say, hippie-crit. Zach Alexander calls it spiritual bypassing and some other individuals like Teal Swan have also discussed this occurrence. What it comes down to is individuals using their spiritual connection or metaphysical knowledge to promote basic egoic needs for reputation, superiority and exhalation over others. 

I am writing this article to share some of my spiritual philosphoies. If you choose to adopt them, or maybe you already practice them, then it should be by your own reflection on what I have to say. My opinions and thoughts are purely to help others reflect on their own. 

I also want to make clear I am not trying to knock anyone or anything. I think the fact people are becoming more engaged with spirit is a generally good thing and everyone starts their journey from a different place. However, I want my readers to be conscious, and consider the difference between applying metaphysics and practicing spiritual principles.

Let’s dive into it.

It is my belief that metaphysics is like a tool and spirituality is like the tool user. A knife can be used to prepare a meal for your family but it can also be used to harm another individual. The knife is objective in its purpose and function. Ultimately, it is the person using the knife who decides how it is going to be used. 

When we engage with any facet of metaphysics, whether it be kundalini yoga, no-mind meditation, magick or any of the other hundred forms, we are learning to use the “tools” of spiritual development. By learning to use the tools we also learn about ourselves and one would hope we become more conscious about how thoughts and behaviors. However, our Ego is always adapting. This is why it is a lifelong journey.

I think just having minimal engagement with these things can be very beneficial and because of that, I see a lot of people stop shortly after getting started. Maybe they continue the practices they already have like doing yoga three times a week, but that offers diminishing returns of depth or expansion. Just like in school, you don’t finish Algebra One then take Algebra One next year to make sure you really know the quadratic equation. No, you go on to Algebra Two and expand your knowledge of the study while still going back and using what you already learned.

enlightenment
Image by Okan Caliskan

Spiritual growth is the same way.

All too frequently I see people use their knowledge of the tools as a means of spiritual superiority. It becomes a scapegoat for saying “I am better than you because….” and what was a tool for Spirit becomes a tool for Ego. A lot of times, people don’t even know they are doing it. It often is shown in the energy someone has, how they carry themselves, the way they talk. Not everyone notices these things, but I believe those of us who are attuned to subtle energies can likely think of a time they noticed this. 

This is not to say these qualities aren’t human. We all want to be respected by our peers and regardless of where we are on the path, the truth is everyone falls back into old behaviors. There is even a story in the bible of Jesus throwing tables and kicking people out of the temple (Matthew 21:12-13), but we can’t do anything about the behavior without reflection and admission.

For me the process looks like this. I first need to reflect on which behaviors may have caused harm to others, physical, mental, emotional or other. Then I reflect on how I would rather have acted in that situation. Finally, I need to admit myself I am still human and it might be awhile before I walk on water. I can’t speak for how anyone else grows spiritually. I can only share what has worked for me to bring me peace of mind and connectedness. 

For me, the essence of spirituality comes down to how we treat others. The people I get along with are blessings. The people that make me want to pull my hair out are the lessons. Patience and tolerance with others is a huge part of my spiritual growth. I could levitate six inches off the ground meditating in the mountains but what good does that do me if I am shouting and swearing at others as soon as I’m stuck in 5 o’clock traffic?

I believe every person has to figure out for themselves how they wish to live their lives. It is more than okay to admit I have behaviors or principles I don’t want to change. I believe coming conscious of those is what gives someone stability and direction in their own life. If I do that then at least I’m not acting from someone else’s influence. 

I hope this article has provided you with some veins of thought or ideas to reflect on in your own life. As the late Ram Dass says, “We’re all just walking each other home”. If you found the article helpful make sure to like and share it with others. Also make sure to connect with me on social media to get updates on new content.

May your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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