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Guidance on the Quest: Eleven Themes of a Therapist’s Spiritual Journey

As human beings, we are all on a spiritual journey. Or, some may say that we are spiritual beings on a human journey. I like this shift in perspective. It helps to broaden my perspective and tune into something greater.

A spiritual journey is a very individual and intimate quest to consciously deepen our insights about life. Some of us decided to go on a spiritual journey in order to ask profound questions, heal and transform our realities, or make meaning. The journey can help us walk the high road to better understand our passions or purpose for being here and follow our bliss.

I like to think that my spiritual journey started when I was born, and that every moment in my life was / is divinely orchestrated and happened / happens for a reason. I also think that my soul has been on a very long journey, through many lifetimes. So, in truth, the journey is infinite. There is no beginning nor ending.

Moreover, in the past two years, things have really accelerated for me. Perhaps it’s the Aquarian age, perhaps my soul chose when to awaken, perhaps it is beyond my knowing and that is OK. What is clear is that I began my process of awakening and remembering who I really am: An infinite being of Love and Light.  I share what I have experienced and know to be true at this time in my life. That perhaps we come to these realizations and awakenings at certain times for certain reasons, and this is the time to share.

These 11 themes are what I have observed to be markers of guidance on the quest. May they help you in some way, providing a message, deepening a knowing, opening a new realm of perspective and/ or blessing your way. It is important to note that all of these themes are infused with Love and Light, two energies that I could write pages on (perhaps another post) which is why I have chosen to not directly include them in the list. Everything is Love. Everything is from the perspective of Light.

1. Gratitude

Thank you. I am grateful…

A gratitude practice has been the single most transformative aspect of my life. When I focus on what I have, I am transported from a place of lack into the fields of abundance. I then attract more of this positive energy and receive more than I could have imagined. Studies show that it doesn’t even matter if you have anything to be thankful for, just the act of searching for aspects in your life for which you are grateful triggers a chemical reaction in your brain and you have the exact same emotional response. It is as if all your dreams came true in this moment. A simple practice of daily gratitude will begin to create waves of changes. Begin anywhere. You’d be surprised how the process unfolds.

2. Presence / Surrender

Here and now, now here.

Now is all we have. Have you ever heard the expression that time is an illusion? Ekhart Tolle says that the past and future only exists in our minds. Our body is only held in the present. Our breath is experienced in this moment. Even as I type these words, and as you read these words, it can only be in this moment, right now. I notice the air moving in and out of my lungs and my heart beating. I notice the chair I am sitting on. In tapping into these senses, I am brought into my body and my mind focuses on the now.

3. Balance / Harmony

As above so below, inside and out, light and shadow, yin and yang…

With age, I have found that it is not about getting rid of anything that holds us back, but to acknowledge it as a part of a whole, to notice how it serves me in my journey. For what I resist persists and what I embrace dissolves. Alan Watts, a Zen philosopher speaks about this in his teachings. As a philosopher, he asks many questions. One of them is along the lines of ‘how can we know light without the darkness?’ We must have both sides of the coin in order to know the contrasting experience. When we integrate these polarities, we find a sense of harmony within. Nothing is cast away anymore, but everything inside our hearts and minds is welcomed and loved.

4. Intention

Intention is powerful prayer.

When we are learning, our brain creates new neural pathways into different areas of functioning and processing. When we set an intention, this triggers a specific neural pathway to set us up for success. For example, if I were to walk across the street, I could: 1. Choose to not be present with my feet hitting the ground or look up at the street signs, et cetera, OR 2. I could have the intention of noticing my pelvis when I walk and breathing deep in my belly, saying to myself ‘May I be safe and happy with every step I take’. See how powerful that shift is? Matt Kahn takes this into his teachings, focusing on the well being of all. When we practice the power of intention, we obtain keys to doors to which we didn’t know we had access. We plant sacred seeds in the soil of our heart’s desires. We trust and let go of any need for control or attachment to a certain outcome.

5. Energy

“Energy is everything.”

The origins of this quote is unknown, some say it was a  frizzy haired bloke named Albert Einstein, nevertheless it still rings true. Science shows us that everything is made up of energy. It is the building block of all matter. The same energy that composes your body is the same one that composes the bricks of the house you live in, your car, your phone, animals, trees and so forth. It is all the same source, in different forms. What’s more is that it is constantly flowing and changing form all the time. This is universal law. It is everywhere, and it can neither be created nor destroyed. There is a place where all things begin, a location of pure energy that simply IS. Imagine how much mastery we can have over our life, when we can study and master our own energetic fields. This is why I do Kundalini yoga as a part of my spiritual practice.

6. Compassion

Compassion is not the relationship between the healer and wounded, it is a relationship between equals.

Pema Chodron, a Tibetan Buddhist nun, teaches much of this nature. She was one of my first spiritual teachers on my journey, when her writings in When Things Fall Apart served as medicine for my broken heart. As teachings go, we must extend compassion to ourselves first before giving to others. I have certainly found this to be helpful in the inner child healing I have done, noticing an incongruence between where I have been and where I want to go. Compassion is noticing this gap and witnessing it with loving-kindness.

7. Forgiveness

Let go or be dragged.

Forgiveness is an in-depth process of peeling back the layers of guilt and shame from our past. It is important to note that forgiveness is not about saying that what happened is OK, it is about setting both you and the other person who wronged you, free. It is about releasing anything we are holding onto that blocks us from our highest potential. It always begins with ourselves; to show kindness to the person we will spend the most time with in this life. It is to look in the mirror and be the biggest cheerleader, confidant, and courageous master. It is to look deep inside your heart to find both the ache and pain. It is to know that peace is possible with others and the world is when we make peace with ourselves, as Nich Kahn would say.

8. Truth

The truth shall set you free.

In my years of working with people and in my own spiritual journey, honesty is essential. It first takes acknowledgement in our level of honesty with ourselves. Our truth is what we feel in our guts to be real. For me, when I know something is true, it is usually a sensation of both my heart and mind merging, to meet in my belly. At our essence, we are all one. So, in some regards, we share a greater truth. And we each have individual truths, in order to contribute to the world in our unique ways. One of the biggest teachings of Jesus, was that truth will always be known and revealed in time. Which is rooted in our next theme…

9. Trust

Trust. Trust in love.

The illuminating musician Darpan compared the process of a butterfly emerging to a beautiful example of trust. The first time a butterfly spreads her wings; she has no idea she can fly. She simply opens and lifts off. We must trust ourselves in this way. Sometimes risks in life take the utmost trust in ourselves, in our resources, in our universe and in Divine will. If it feels like your life situation is in a dark place, or full of hardships right now, it might be difficult to trust.  However, this is where the magic of trust comes into play. When we open ourselves to the frequency of trust and surrender, then we will begin to relax into what is without resistance. We will be able to clear our minds to see what the  next best step (or flight) is.

10. Evolution

The only constant is change.

It is clear to me that we are on this Earth to learn and grow. Our purpose in this human experiment is to evolve consciousness of ourselves so that we can evolve the consciousness for the well being of all. Abraham Hicks teaches about our eternal evolution. It is normal to feel into a place of where you want to be, and into desires of your heart. That is what you are moving toward. That is your direction and focus. Feel into the now of what you want and it will become your reality. Notice if you are open to change, or if you feel stuck in one place. Be gentle and breathe, and take the next best step.

11. Freedom

Liberate yourself from your prison.

Some of the basic human rights are to be free from want, pain, and suffering. In spiritual eyes, these are the same intentions. It is our birthright to be free. It is our birthright to be liberated from our suffering. It is vital on our journey to find aspects, persons, places, or things that allow us to step into this free place. We all deserve to be free. But importantly, no one can free you but you. Be careful if your tendency is to give your power over to others. Find what’s freeing in your heart, and follow that. The journey, your journey, continues on…all steps lead by the heart.

 


Guidance on the Quest:

Eleven Themes of a Therapist’s Spiritual Journey

By Julie Brannen, LPC, R-DMT

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