SPIRITUAL MENTORING ADDRESSES THE WHOLE PERSON:
What is Unseen is OFTEN What is Most Intimate
Spiritual Mentoring is like accompanying a someone searching for something that can’t be seen by their regular way of seeing things. What is needed is a new Way of seeing and experiencing. Often what we have taken for granted in our life as “the truth”, turns out to be a pale reflection of what actually is the Truth.
Those of us who identify as spiritual have had intimations that there is something greater than ourselves. We have had experiences where our usual everyday egoic consciousness has dropped away and we make contact directly with what is: without our mind’s typical critical commentary and pigeonholing of things and our psychologically based emotional reactivity. When this happens, we are in awe and we know we are “standing on holy ground”. The big question is, how do we maintain and further develop this awareness so that it begins to permeate and transform our everyday life?
All spiritual traditions talk about this: that there is something greater than our common everyday experience of life. These deep traditions have sacred scriptures, religious frameworks, rituals and spiritual practices to help us to further develop our spiritual lives. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, we don’t find in these older traditions the specific answers to issues that challenge us on our own personal spiritual journeys. That is where the combination of spiritual awareness and psychological insight can be extremely useful for finding our way forward.
My own spiritual journey of some forty five years has led me to develop an integrated, mind - body - spirit psychologically informed approach to spiritual practice. We can have blocks to our ongoing spiritual unfoldment that can be better addressed by psychology than by religious traditions. For example, in spiritual practices from many traditions, there can be an emphasis on dis-identifying with our all-too-human emotions. This can lead to a kind of dissociative process where we have not fully engaged with our emotional issues and our spiritual realization does not have a solid grounding. Then we find it evaporates when we are under duress in our regular life and sorely need it.
In the work I do with clients, we explore the kinds of spiritual practices they currently engage with, what are the major spiritual learnings showing up in their lives presently, and what issues from their childhood remain to be addressed. Together we look at what additional spiritual and psychological practices might be useful. We work on the further healing of their childhood wounds and we listen together for where the Divine invitation is calling them at this moment in their lives.
There is a certain paradox in spiritual work; it upends our usual ego based understanding of what the world is all about. We are moving towards our vulnerability which is what our ego defenses want to protect us from. A good working definition for ego is : Edging God Out. As we “let go and let God”, however we understand God or True Nature, it is natural that our egos will resist. And the more we intend to let go, the more vehemently our ego defenses may resist.Then the question is: how do we work with the resistance and not see it as the enemy to try to conquer- a dualistic framework which will not lead us to freedom? As we engage spiritual practice, it is important that we understand clearly that our Super Egos with all their judgments about what is good and what is bad (and even what is and isn’t spiritual) don’t lead us to Divine Presence.
Love is the Way. It always has been and always will be for us humans. Love is what we are looking for, often in all the wrong places: outside of ourselves in someone or something. Gradually, as we let go of our desperate search for the wrong thing, we learn to appreciate the right thing which has been under our very noses the whole time: our experience as it is, in this present moment. Gradually as we learn to accept and love ourselves just as we are, we open to God’s abundant love which has always been there for us. We just couldn't see it.