JUDGMENT IS BAD (wow, that was a judgment !) (The anti-judgment mantra)
Wisdom: Judgment has been a divisive and destructive force, often wielded as a weapon against those deemed different. It separates us, it undermines us, it perpetuates a dualistic framework of perception that fractures rather than heals. It is one of the primary roots of the poisonous tree. It is essential that we become conscious of our own judgmental tendencies and seek a more compassionate approach. Compassion is a much healthier and more productive path, one that enheartens humanity and brings us into connection with each other.
Perils: In its extreme forms, the anti-judgment mantra can actually perpetuate the dualistic madness it seeks to avoid by nullifying one’s freedom of thought and expression. It becomes a spiritual bypass mechanism, one where individuals repress valid and fair-minded perceptions because they fear that they are being “judgmental” toward others. When this happens, the individual becomes split between an unactualized inner knowing and an adaptation to an externally influenced “idea” of appropriate behavior. The anti-judgment mantra often works to the benefit of those who are seeking to repress freedom of expression and deflect personal responsibility for their own actions.
Grounded Perspective: To make a distinction between arbitrary, malicious judgment and grounded, intuition honouring, meaning-based discernment. The former destroys, the latter honors our intuition and supports our efforts to create a healthier reality. Not everything fits with who we are, or who we are becoming. The important thing is to enhearten our processes of discernment so that we are both honouring our own right to choose and emanating from a compassionate source spring. In other words, to do the least harm when we are making distinctions between what resonates and what doesn’t.
DESIRE/ATTACHMENT IS THE ENEMY OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Wisdom: For those of us who are so lost in our desires/attachments that we cannot stop getting in our own way, there is value in this extreme perspective. To be sure, there are times when well-boundaried detachment is necessary: when we need to be reminded of something beyond our localized lens, when we need a peek into a vaster reality, when we need to distinguish between that which serves us and that which derails us. Some of us need to detach from our desires in an extreme fashion in order to recognize/heal our pain bodies and come back to centre. This is particularly true for those with addictive patterns, and those unable to break destructive relational cycles.
Perils: When not implemented in a balanced manner, this perspective dissociates us from the heart of spiritual life- our felt experience. One of the rancid prongs of the spiritual bypass movement, the anti-attachment mantra becomes a technique for self-avoidance that can go too far, inviting seekers to define spirituality in heady, disembodied terms. Radical detachers often end up manifesting as automatons, seemingly calm and reasonable but not integrated in their humanness, a bubbling cauldron of repressed and unresolved feelings and memories.
Grounded Perspective: Selective attachment is the middle way. In the context of Soulshaping, ‘selective attachment’ is the process of sifting everything through an essential filter, connecting only to those experiences and relationships that support true-path. If something fits, we bring it on. If it doesn’t, we stay away. We embrace the idea that certain desires and attachments are healthy and soul-affirming under the right circumstances: How will we learn our lessons if we do not get involved? What is wrong with pleasure as a path? And we embrace the idea that non-attachment is the right path at other times: Why stay connected in the heart of unbearable suffering? Is separation not essential to individuation? Although we embrace the value of detachment practices as essential to the journey, the grounded perspective recognizes that to live in perpetual detachment is to miss the moment altogether. It is to trip out of the body that carries the karmic seeds for our transformation. It is to leave earth before our time. At some point, we need to come back down into our bodies and our personal identifications and work with what lives inside of us. Not identifying ourselves as our stuff, but identifying our stuff as a key to our transformation.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF SPIRITUAL LIFE IS (something called) ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’
Wisdom: Healthily characterized and construed, the quest for enlightenment is a noble path, reminding us that we have access to a wondrous and vast consciousness.
Perils: Although enlightenment has been broadly defined in the spiritual literature, it is often interpreted as a kind of pure consciousness; a 'heightened' and purified state of being that is detached from our everyday concerns. In its own way, this interpretation can actually invite us away from the karmic field of expansion itself- our daily life. On my journey, I have been exposed to all manner of definition- enlightenment as seen through the eyes of the head-tripper (mind as path), the bliss-seeker (en’light’enment= fleeing the pain-body, pleasure as path), the radical detacher (bypass as path), the all-knowing guru. Unfortunately, the head-tripper has removed the heart from the equation, the bliss-seeker mistakes the delights of self-avoidance for wholeness, the radical detacher has left the planet, and the all-knowing guru is usually too egoically bloated to taste from the tree of enlightenment. Its fruits only fall on those who have the good sense to know how little they know.
Grounded Perspective: A more grounded and balanced perspective would invite all aspects of the human experience into the equation. I prefer the term “Enrealment”, fundamental to my understanding of Soulshaping as path. Enrealment is the quest for a more inclusive consciousness, one that makes no distinction between our spiritual and earthly lives. It is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable. Instead of tripping out of our earthly experience to find God, we find God everywhere – shadow and light, subtle and gross realms, grocery list and unity consciousness. Through this lens, spirituality is just another word for reality. The more authentically connected we are to all elements of reality, the more spiritual our experience. Be Real Now. Entirety as path..
Jeff Brown, Author of Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation (www.soulshaping.com)