After nearly forty years of teaching and counseling, I have heard and seen many variations of what troubles people and the best recommendations I could offer them. But, within all of this feedback and advice, there are clearly some consistent issues and solutions—some of which are distilled down to just five main points or lessons.
Lesson #1: People May not Always Love and Support Us But We Must learn to Love and Support Ourselves.
It’s true that people will not always love and support us but do we really need them to? No! Instead, we all need to learn to rely on our own internal sense of following spiritual inspiration AND enjoy (without attachment) any external support from those who do happen to appreciate us and our gifts.
Personal Example: It’s been nearly eight years since my move to Sedona, Arizona to become the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Sedona. This was a major transition for me in many ways—personally, geographically, and professionally. And one of the most important achievements was that we proved, once again, that the principles of “mastery” work on a larger scale-in a business/church and not just in one’s personal life. We even have numerous churches/centers calling on us to discover our “secret to success.” Besides the use of mastery principles, we owe our success to maintaining a high level of integrity and transparency—none of the things that often plague spiritual centers. Despite all of this, we’ve still experienced hate and jealousy from others, in ways that were quite shocking to me. But I recently heard a local political leader in the Sedona community sharing their personal experience of living and working in Sedona and heard him declare that this community seems filled with spiritual hypocrisy. He shared how, despite years of service in this community, he felt attacked and hurt by others. His words offered huge epiphanies for me. It helped me recognize that even in a “spiritual” town such as Sedona, there remains hypocrisy and jealousy—especially if people perceive our light shining too brightly. Knowing this, helped me gain a lot more perspective on my own experiences here. In the end, although it’s nice to have the love and support of others, what’s more important is that we remain aligned to the Truth of God and practice love and support of ourselves.
Lesson #2: Those Who Bear Light, Must be Willing to Burn.
The bigger we become—spiritually—the more we embody the greater thoughts/archetypes of God—becoming the gods and goddesses we were created to be. Of course this sounds like a lovely concept but with it comes the challenge of everyone around us (including partners and family) either waiting for us to slip OR expecting us to live up to their version of those higher archetypes.
Personal Example: For me, this was mostly easy because I enjoy living the highest spiritual life possible. But for others around me, this is not so easy. What happens for many of us is that others don’t quite know what’s happening when they meet us. They can feel something, something strong but they don’t know how to identify it and relate to it based on any previous experiences or paradigms. It feels totally new—even overwhelming. So what most human people do is one of three things: 1) They get triggered and repelled by us 2) They develop strong feelings (often romantic feelings) for us 3) They don’t know what to feel and so they sit back and watch us until they figure out which of the other two categories in which to place us.
The bad news is that NONE of these categories are real and authentic. They are still boxes that exist in the mind of the “beholder.” So even if they find a category, it’s still a box in which we will be placed for the greater comfort of their ego. It’s like listening to a scientist who constantly tries to rationalize the miraculous. Some people (in an effort to avoid their feelings) have actually told me that due to some negative “past life” that they perceive to have had with me, they can no longer be a student of mine—which essentially means that they are choosing to allow a “feeling” or “story” of their past to control them in the present. And the reason people do this is because they are so terrified at the idea of truly accepting the goodness and power of others (or of themselves). They have not yet healed their past wounds and find it difficult to be in the presence of someone who emulates their fear of either love or loss. Such people prefer instead to place us in a box so they can remain “safe” and limited and not accept that today they actually met a god/goddess and in so doing, it reminds them of their own destiny and potential. To solve this awkward scenario, most of us “play small” in order to make others feel more comfortable being around us. This, however, is actually not a solution. Instead, it keeps the illusions of humanity alive. The only real solution is for us to own our divinity and live it in every way possible but without flaunting it in a way that unnecessarily intimidates others.
Lesson #3: Our Spirituality is Greatly Determined by Our Transparency.
As we all know by now, the rate of our spiritual development is far more in relation to who we are, instead of what we know. And who we are is greatly determined by our ability to be transparent.
Personal Example: I’ve often taught that “we can be confident that we’ll know we are becoming one with God when we can stand before the Light of God and cast no shadow.” One way that we can get to this point is to have no shames, no secrets, no hidden places in our soul or psyche. A Course in Miracles shares this idea by saying that there should be no places inside of us in which we would keep out the Holy Spirit. I am enjoying this process of shining light to and from my soul and learning to cast no shadow. Some may like me for it and some may not. But I can do no different and I can be no different. This is the state we all must/will reach, if not today, then tomorrow. But why wait? We must all take a regular inventory of our inner self and share with God and with “safe others” (perhaps a counselor) the parts that are most difficult to share—doing so in the right place and time. Eventually, there are less and less parts of our limited self, standing in the way of our God-Self to shine its Light.
Lesson #4: It’s Important to Recognize When We are Sabotaging God’s Plan for a Better Life and Then Choose Differently.
God is only capable of holding a vision for a better life for us, and nothing less. All else to the contrary is simply us getting in the way. And one of our greatest lessons in life is to figure out when we are getting in the way of our highest good. Then we must make all the necessary changes for the better, which often includes finding balance or a “middle-ground.”
Personal Example: Most people that share a similar life and career as mine have a goal—SUCCESS! They want to become famous and have best-selling books. And now, it’s popular to get into New Age films. One of the major reasons I’ve rejected films and most forms of interviews, is that usually projects such as these are founded in commercialism, more so than being a vehicle to connect people with God, and besides, I don’t want my message to be tangled up with some of the specific teachers behind some of these projects. Furthermore, a lot of these films are excessively intellectual, which doesn’t resonate with my work. So, am I just sabotaging my highest good by not indulging in the usual trappings of this line of work or am I simply honoring my integrity? I feel that I am doing the latter, being true to myself. Nevertheless, since it does not serve my work to keep it too sheltered, I am doing my best to find balance by bridging these differences (dualities) and have begun sharing my work through some of these mediums, but without losing the integrity of my work/message. Is there a way you might do the same?
Lesson #5: There is a Time to Stay and a Time to Walk Away.
We all have times when a situation is so difficult it tempts us to walk away. Sometimes, walking away is the best thing and other times it marks the failure of a test. The trick is in knowing when it’s the right time to do one or the other.
Personal Example: I have found that one of the best methods for making this decision is as follows: When the “pay-offs” are greater than the “turn-offs” (in any given situation), then it’s probably worth staying—as long as the situation continues to improve. But if the turn-offs are greater than the pay-offs, then it might be time to walk away. Another great reminder that may help us through such decisions is to “Change what we can; accept what we cannot; and do our best to know the difference.”
Although the number of lessons learned along the spiritual path are too numerous to cover here, this summary of five of the most essential lessons should prove beneficial to anyone on the spiritual path, but only if such lessons are integrated and applied. Do not underestimate the power of these lessons. They can save years of learning life’s lessons the “hard way” simply by recognizing the simple common denominators behind most of our challenges, followed by implementing solutions that are clear and effective—thus leading us to learning life’s lessons the “easy way.”