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Spiritual Check-In: Recognizing Spiritual Disassocation

February 12, 2014

Thanks all of you so much for sharing and commenting on Energy and Action in the Year of the Horse. I’m glad it resonated, and what a great way to start off the Horse energy. I thought this month I would follow-up with more thoughts on something I mentioned in that post – spiritual disassociation. Energetically, this is a great year to identify and work through any of these tendencies.

By spiritual disassociation, I mean the tendency to use spirituality or spiritual practices as a way of disassociating from ourselves and reality, instead of for connecting more deeply, and more from the heart. In other words, spirituality as escapism. The question to really honestly ask ourselves from time to time is:

Does my spirituality, and do my spiritual experiences, feel like I am leaving myself, or coming home to myself?

In a world where we are over-stimulated and stressed, bombarded by so many different energies and demands, it is easy for our spiritual practice or beliefs to become a form of escape. Especially for energetic ‘sensitives’ (probably you if you are reading this blog!) who can blame us? If we have found a way to shelter ourselves, a ‘place’ in our mind we can go for a  break, a belief system that offers us comfort and security, isn’t that a good thing?

And the answer is yes, it often is! Certainly in the case of meditation, research has shown that practices of many different forms have measurable physical benefits. It lowers blood pressure, increases endorphins and theta brain waves, lowers stress hormones in our system, and has many other benefits. So that is all wonderful, and certainly helps us in our daily life.

But if our desire is to awaken to our true nature, our essence, Source, spirit, God/Goddess-realization as our very own being, then we don’t want to only escape. We don’t want to create another way to run from ourselves, or to disengage from the world and our real emotions and sensations. And it is very easy for meditation and other spiritual practices and beliefs to cross over into this territory over time. A ‘check-in’ around this is a great way to cut through any tendencies that have developed along these lines.

The question above is perhaps the most direct way to contemplate this. At some level of our being, we always know. Sometimes just asking the question will cut through. Here’s some others that I like to use:

Am I kinder in my daily life?

If we are feeling happy in meditation, but always irritated outside of it, something isn’t right. We may be getting attached to a state of energy that we have learned to generate in our meditation, and then are aggravated whenever we don’t feel this outside of meditation. What is the good of this really? Of course, sometimes we are just going through a sensitive time, and our meditation or spiritual contemplation may be the only time we aren’t subsumed by this. That’s OK, to a point. But it’s worth looking at what is really going on – at what emotions are arising outside of meditation, and taking a look at them. This is really the spiritual integration process that goes on our whole lives. If we are centered in our heart, if we default to kind (our natural state) we are OK.

Am I having a hard time connecting with my body or with accomplishing/manifesting goals?

This is a classic sign of root chakra disengagement or block, and is something most trauma survivors work through over many years in their healing process. But all of us are apt to experience phases of this, especially if we are engaged in chakra or kundalini-based practices and shifts. Sometimes it is a temporary phase (see my Kundalini series for more info on this), and some extra work on grounding will help us manage the transition. But sometimes we have begun to ‘check out’. If we are engaged in a long-term spiritual path, sometimes this is a sign that we have come up against some aspect of ourselves that we aren’t quite ready to face. Working gently – but persistently – will get us through. And of course, when it comes to goals, sometimes we just don’t get what we want – just because the world isn’t conforming to our vision board, doesn’t mean we are spiritually disassociated! We are talking about deeper and longer term patterns here.

Am I getting rigid, on or off, the meditation cushion?

When we get attached to certain spiritual practices, or to certain ‘states’ that they can bring us to, we can feel a rigidity developing within us – an aversion to anything that interferes, and a frustration when our practice doesn’t yield what we ‘want.’ Or this may show up off our meditation cushion, and we find ourselves frustrated with those who don’t share our beliefs, beginning to fall into a fixed view of the world and what is ‘right.’ We are resistant to opening, and have become attached to control instead. Our meditation or spiritual practice has become about creating or ‘getting to’ a certain place. There is no room then, for anything new to arise, or for the true essence of our awareness and spirit to show itself.

I think chakra and kundalini-based paths are especially prone to these tendencies (and these have been the mainstay of my path for 25 years.) This is partly because we can experience such amazing states of bliss once we have learned to shift and move energy through our chakras. But it’s important to remember (as all the classic texts warn us!) that the bliss is a byproduct, not the point, of practice and/or energy work. It means things have shifted and something has been released within us, and it means we have learned to let go at a certain level of our being, and allow the energy to move upward. But in and of itself, it doesn’t mean we are awake, or more self-aware, or more open, or more compassionate. We have to do that work ourselves, off the meditation cushion.

The value of the chakra and all energy-based practices and work is that it shifts things around in our subtle body, and by extension, our psyche. It pushes things to the surface of our consiousness, and brings up latent karmas, that we may not have been able to see before. Very often this manifests in our daily lives, and so it is through dealing well with it there that we really grow. In this way our spiritual practice/energy work and daily life work hand in hand. The former isn’t an escape from the latter.

I know I will be working with this myself this year, and as always, your own sharings are always welcome!

And as a final reminder, the next round of my Energy Healing for Sexual Abuse and Trauma teleseminar begins February 23rd. Also, join me on Energy Awareness radio this afternoon at 3PST/6 ET (or by recording later) when I talk with T. Love about the feminine energy body and self-care. And oh yea, happy LOVE day Friday:-)

16 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2014 7:54 pm

    thank u so much I love your blog, its so so helpful xxx

  2. February 12, 2014 10:19 pm

    So interesting Lisa. I have been reading your kundalini series over at the other site. I can see how this could happen. And when you spoke of kindness it made me think of that Dalai Lama quote ‘my religion is kindness.’ That is the point really, isn’t it. This really cuts thru all that.

  3. February 12, 2014 10:27 pm

    createuniquer – great, so glad it struck a chord.

  4. February 12, 2014 10:29 pm

    JH, yes I love that quote also because it really cuts through all of the things we often attach to spirituality, and to the idea of enlightenment especially. It’s so easy to get caught up in grandiose ideas about it. But what really is the point if it’s not making us kinder in the world? Isn’t that what everyone needs right now? Of course there is more to it than that – sometimes we need to fight for dharma or truth, so it’s not about forcing butterflies and rainbows either. But kindness is a pretty good ‘check-in’ measurement in any case I think!

  5. February 13, 2014 2:14 am

    I agree. I was asked today who I would recommend as a spiritual teacher and I answered the Dalai Lama, because his message is always one of love, kindness and compassion for all. Thanks for the great post.

  6. Pema permalink
    February 13, 2014 3:01 am

    Wow, I love this post :) I think we were kinda on a similar wavelength…

    http://wondermommas.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/and-now-a-few-words-on-spiritual-bypassing/

  7. February 13, 2014 11:23 am

    Thank you. I love your blog.. this was exactly what i needed to read today…

  8. Anonymous permalink
    February 13, 2014 11:53 am

    Thank you for this post. it made sense to me and just by reading it, I see a lot I can work on.

  9. February 13, 2014 4:04 pm

    Hi Becca, yes and it’s really amazing to think of the impact he has had on spirituality worldwide. In addition to his own teachings on Buddhism, he has participated in so many interfaith dialogues, and also been heavily involved in scientific and medical research about the benefits of meditation.

  10. February 13, 2014 4:04 pm

    Pema – must be the grounding horse energy!

  11. February 13, 2014 4:10 pm

    Great Tiff, I think it’s in the Zeitgeist right now to work on this, I have been reading many similar posts and thoughts…XO

  12. February 13, 2014 4:10 pm

    Anon, thank you and happy ‘cutting through’.

  13. February 13, 2014 6:50 pm

    I knew the answer to the first question in this post before I even finished reading it! I hate to admit it, but I’ve definitely used spirituality as an escape. However, I think I can use the phrase “coming home to myself” as something of a guide in the next year to check in with my motivations and focus on what I should be focusing on. It’s a nice simple phrase too (and a good visual), so should be easy to remember when I’m looking for guidance. Thanks!

  14. February 14, 2014 4:12 am

    That’s great Amanda, I feel like so many people have been seeing through these kinds of patterns lately – they can build up slowly and subtly. But we can cut through them quickly once we seen them. I came to this phrase ‘come home to myself’ thanks to Joy Holland over at – she did an entire series last month on ‘home’ and this is how I related to it. I also like the phrase ‘recognizing our original face’…

  15. Anonymous permalink
    February 20, 2014 3:35 am

    however, don’t you have to leave to come home? Maybe not.

  16. February 20, 2014 4:20 pm

    Hi Anon, I think this is a really good point. We do have to leave to come home, or at least to recognize home within ourselves. So I do see the spiritual path as a kind of spiral – moving away and then back towards ourselves, inward and outward, until at some point there’s no division between the two. So perhaps what drove this post is a sense that this year energetically is a good time for coming back home, for grounding and centering in the heart, as opposed to moving ‘outward’ into intense experiences. There’s a place for both on the spiritual journey, I definitely believe that and it has been the foundation for my own path. But right now there’s a kind of ‘dizzyness’ that I sense in a lot of people – a clamoring for big experiences and insights, and that’s really what I was addressing…

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