Why Are We Here? Our Individual and Collective Purpose

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Photo by Vikas Anand Dev on Unsplash
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Ever since I realized that the goals that came from my brain did not bring happiness  when achieved, I have been focusing on life’s meaning and purpose.  So when Chris passed away and Spirit invited me to start the Foundation, with its audacious goal of helping others (on a global scale) to create positive and rewarding relationships with themselves, each other, and Earth, I felt I had to put my money where my mouth was (literally).  I left a 26-year career in higher education and am contributing a large part of my savings to the cause.  Though at the time I wasn’t sure to what degree Spirit would be actively helping me, I decided that I would want to try to do this either way.  I figured that if I received help, all the better.

No coincidence, then, when I’m invited to share a message with someone, it’s usually about what their life’s purpose is or could be.  It’s taken my work on callings to a whole new level.

Spirit has also been sharing with me the purpose of humanity’s existence.  We’re here to learn and grow to create more light and love.  We do so through service to Earth, children and those who cannot care for themselves, and each other, in that order.  We also take care of ourselves in the process.

That’s it.

Our focus should be ecocentric and humanistic.  Our materialism and focus on money, status, power, and luxury and comfort items are far afield from what we’re supposed to be doing.   It is at odds with God’s expectation that we care for Earth.  Our unremitting, senseless consumption is draining Earth’s resources, and polluting her waters and land, and is unsustainable.  We already know that Earth is ailing, yet we continue to take and take without regard to the long-term consequences.

Our first order of business needs to be to find ways to care for Earth in the ways that will be most helpful to her.  The Foundation for Family and Community Healing (www.familyandcommunityhealing.org) was created based on guidance from Spirit so that I may deliver this message and lead the way.

As a supplement to existing environmental efforts, we should also be providing the emotional and spiritual support that Earth needs.  We are in a reciprocal, emotional and spiritual relationship with Earth, and therefore we should provide emotional and spiritual support for Earth’s healing.

To learn more about this, you should join and follow our social media campaign.  But in the meantime, simple things you can do now are to pray or meditate for Earth each day and/or be present when you step outside.  Notice how Earth and her plants, animals, and minerals look, feel, smell, taste, and sound.  It takes no extra time and will be helpful to Earth for her to know that we are paying attention to her out of love and concern for her and her wellbeing.

If our collective purpose is to care for Earth and each other, how do we know what is our individual purpose?  Our individual purpose in life has a simple formula.  You are likely meant to be helping others in areas that you struggled the most.  For example, if you struggled to have enough money in your life, your purpose might be related to helping others get by with what they have, or to find ways to make money.  If you struggled with some aspect of having a medical condition, maybe your purpose is to help others with that aspect of their medical condition. 

You may feel like you still have a long way to go to rise above the challenge you are facing.  That may be true, but it is also likely true that you’ve made a great deal of progress already, and that many are far behind where you are currently.  So in your calculation, consider the challenges you’ve faced where you’ve made the most progress.  For example, I’ve struggled with finding my authentic purpose, going down the wrong track of seeking a tenure only to find it didn’t bring me happiness, so that is my passion and my current work (I’m going to create an app, y’all!).  I’ve also struggled with growing plants, but I’ve made no progress on that so it would not be a good life’s purpose for me right now…unless I decide to change that and learn.  Which I will.   So stay tuned!

In summary, your life’s challenges are there for you to learn and grow.  You use that knowledge to serve Earth or others.  It could become a calling, your unique way to serve the world.  There’s a beautiful symmetry to it, and it belies the idea that we’re supposed to just be comfortable our whole life and never struggle.

You may recall that I did a lot of informal and formal advising for the students in the program I worked for. Many of these incredibly bright students came to me because theywere struggling academically, a scenario they had yet to experience.  It was a shock and they were having a crisis worrying that they were in the wrong place.  I would tell them that if everything were easy for you, then you’re not pushing yourself enough.  Everyone eventually will find they have to struggle if they continue to learn and grow; to do so otherwise means stagnation. 

People who are stagnant may not experience much stress, but it also means they are not thriving.  Take the analogy of a plant.  As someone who harbors a black thumb, I know all too well that a plant which is not growing is actually dying, and it’s just a matter of time before it goes to the great compost heap in the sky.

The same is true for people.  According to Carol Dweck, author of Growth Mindset, people who do not believe they can grow and improve tend to be more depressed and less successful.  Those who are always trying to learn and grow tend to be more successful and happier.  So embrace your challenges.  We are here on Earth to rise to those challenges and bring that wisdom back to others.

We are facing grand challenges socially, economically, politically, environmentally, and spiritually.  The Foundation is aiming to help us rise to the occasion, but you have to want to learn and grow to surmount these issues.  I am excited by the slate of educational programs that we will be launching in 2020 and 2021 and the scope of our social media programs and regional meetings.  Come join us.  Follow us on social media (Facebook,  Instagram, and LinkedIn) to stay apprised of our work and learn how to help Earth to heal herself.  Check out our website.  Spread the word to those who you feel might really resonate with our mission.  Donate a few dollars, I promise we’ll put it to good use!

Hope to see you there too!

Guidance from Spirit – Maybe It Does Make Sense

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Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay 

Receiving guidance as a former atheist often feels crazy-making.  I started this spiritual quest as kind of an exploratory whim when Christopher was ill, and it’s turned into something quite serious in my life.  I’m grateful to know that I’m not the only one out there; in my last blog I cited data from the Pew Center for Researchwhich revealed that one-third of people receive and follow divine guidance.

That number also coincides with the approximately one-third of people who have a sense of their calling, or life’s purpose.  For me, they’re one and the same.  I’m curious as to how much overlap there is between those groups, though in the past I would’ve been one of those who had a calling without the benefit of guidance.

However, my guides tell me I’ve always followed guidance even though I didn’t realize it.  I’ve always tried to make my most important decisions following my gut instinct, which in hindsight is a practice of conferring with my Higher Self, or soul.   I don’t think they meant that I literally always followed guidance unless guidance included, even back then, making mistakes so I can learn.

I guess by that criteria, I probably have.

We sometimes ask why we are presented with unremitting challenges, which are actually there so we can learn and grow on that subject.  Challenges are always opportunities to learn because if we already could easily handle the challenge, there would be little to learn from the experience.  By learning in that manner, we master the topic, and also then potentially teach it to others, which may be related to our calling.  That’s how that works.

We understandably might wish that we get a break from all this great learning and growth.  After all, even kids get spring break, right?

We get breaks too, but if we have a glass-half-empty mindset, we will only notice when we are uncomfortable and having to learn a lesson. We’d be less likely to notice when we’re enjoying the fruits of our labor, relaxing, or resting.  But just like school, the lessons get easier once we actually learn.  In contrast, we fall farther behind if we continue to resist learning, since the lessons and life get progressively harder over time.

In short, resisting the lesson creates unhappiness.  We’re in “school.”  We’re here to learn.  Just do it so you can graduate to the next lesson.  It’ll make your life easier and you’ll be wiser in the end.

You don’t have to believe in guides and angels to understand this reality. Many of us know this already, whether we believe the lesson comes from God/Spirit, the universe, karma, or other.  It’s how the world works IMHO, regardless of whether you believe the lessons are divinely ordained.

It’s not all just struggle.  There are also invitations to grand adventures, as I’ve written about previously regarding our calling or our Hero’s Journey.  You’ve reached a certain point and now you can “graduate” to a fantastic opportunity, where you’ll have a whole new set of lessons and challenges.  That’s how it works.  The lessons never end.  You’re forever in school but at least you don’t have student loans for this education.

Guidance departs from my calling where I have also chosen to enlist guidance on the more mundane aspects of my life.  I’m not necessarily recommending this to people, I’m simply sharing this as a reality of my spiritual journey.  For example, I enjoy just going to the store for my errands and asking Spirit if there’s anything else I need, and Spirit will often guide me to something wonderful that I hadn’t thought of, or a great price on something I frequently use.  I discovered frozen edamame in my local grocery store, cashew milk ice cream at a discount, a new energizing facial cleanser, and 30% off stuff I like to keep around the house like Special K cereal.

That’s better than cutting coupons.

Discounts aside, receiving and following guidance are not without issues.  After all, as I mentioned earlier, messages are about what you need to know right now, not necessarily the factual truth.  By receiving message I am accelerating the lessons and the challenges they bring.  It’s not always comfortable or easy.  I guess the cashew milk ice cream is some consolation, like Mom taking me out for a cone after a hard day.  I feel that Spirit is sympathetic to my frustration and despair that I sometimes experience after a particularly challenging lesson, which are also the richest and most meaningful ones.

Just remember that lessons are like cost-averaging:  Where you invest a fixed amount of money in your stocks each month.  When the market is high, you get fewer shares but they’re doing well and growing.  When the market is low, you get lower performing stocks but you get more of them.  Either way it’s good, as long as you continue to stay in the game.

Lessons are that way too.  The harder the lesson the richer the learning.  The easier the lesson, the more you feel confident and capable, but you just don’t learn as much.

A win-win, either way, right?

Guidance from Spirit – It’s Weird, Right?

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Complexity, by definition, is difficult to comprehend, so our minds often prefer to view life from a simper either/or or black/white perspective.  I’m right, you’re wrong.  This is good, that is bad.  Rarely is life so cut and dry; in most cases life happens on a spectrum from black to white, good to bad, with all shades of grey in between.

Religion and spirituality are the quintessential examples of complexity, with beliefs and practices landing all over the black/white spectrum.  Add in the diversity of beliefs even within those frameworks, and you now have complexity on steroids, maybe represented more appropriately as a rainbow, with all the shades of red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and violet in between as well.

In the United States, we have an array of faiths represented, but with a majority of 70.6% of the population identifying as Christians, according to the Pew Research Center.  Second place is surprisingly “nothing in particular” at 15.8%.  Also well known, but in fewer numbers are other non-Christian faiths (5.9%) such as Judaism and Islam, with a sprinkling of a number of different faiths and beliefs (agnostic, atheist, liberal, and New Age) at 1.5%.   I now affiliate with a liberal faith called Unitarian Universalist.

Though as a country we’re becoming decreasingly affiliated with specific religions, as a whole we’re still a country that believes in God and the importance of religion in our lives.  According to Pew and a 2016 Gallup Survey, 71-79% still believe in angels, Heaven and/or God, though down about 10 points since 2001 when the Gallup survey was first started.

According to the Pew Center, 33% of people also state that they receive guidance from their faith.  In a previous blog I cite anecdotal evidence about how others receive guidance, which seems to vary tremendously.  In the vein of guidance-on-a-rainbow, undoubtedly some are on the vague-sensation side and others on a clear channel side, plus everything in between. I have to admit that my clear channel is likely on an end of the spectrum of this 33% that receive guidance.  I’m thankful for the gift and still trying to learn what it means for me and others.

Though a vanishingly small number of respondents to the Pew Survey identify as liberal or New Age, a growing interest in the Eastern perspective of spirituality seems to be reflected by the increasing popularity of yoga and meditation practices.  According to Pew, 40% of the population confesses to meditating at least weekly.  Gaia.com, a respected resource for yoga and Eastern spirituality, talks about the metaphysical and what is probably considered by many as a New Age philosophy about our relationship with the divine.  Gaia.com includes many resources on these topics, including  how to contact your spirit guides, suggesting an expanding interest in such perspectives and practices.

All this talk about guides, angels, and God still feels weird?

I think what is weird is that we don’t talk about it, especially given the preponderance of beliefs about angels, God, meditation, and even guides to a lesser degree.   Clearly we have a vast array of beliefs and practices. Misunderstandings are more likely to occur when\our beliefs remain shadowed in the dark of nondisclosure or when we require others to believe as we do.

It’s also overly simplistic to think that we should all be the same with regard to our believes and practices.  We can get into big trouble when we start to feel we’re better than or worse than others whose beliefs and/or practices differ from our own.  Unnecessary conflict tends to result when we “other-ize” people who differ from us.  After all, what would the rainbow be without all its colors?

Due to the potential for conflict and the highly personal nature of the subjects, we’ve just learned to keep our mouths shut.   No finger pointing, I’m guilty of this as well until now.  With this blog, I’m hoping to take some of the mystery out of it so we can talk about it.  Paradoxically, the mystery will remain, or even grow, given our conversation.

As when I originally started this blog, I started this phase as a way to deepen my learning and to hope that others share the journey with me.  Both times, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I’ve learned that we can never predict where the road takes us, and to define it narrowly risks us underestimating the beauty or impact of our destination.  And what I have learned over the years is that my struggles and challenges are not unique; I share them so that we can learn from each other and ease the burden of the journey by supporting each other, even if you may judge me to be unhinged or ill-informed.

I guarantee that I didn’t raise my hand for this particular gift or journey.  I certainly didn’t ask or wish for the losses that precipitated it.  My prayer was only that I be of service for the greatest possible good and in the most authentic way.

I guess you should be careful what you pray for.

Our Authentic Purpose and Spirit’s Hope for Us

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

What’s the purpose of life?  Why are we here?

Timeless, age-old questions.

Some of us seem lucky enough to be born with the answers to these questions, or have discovered them early in life.  Those of you who followed the earlier version of the Silver Linings Blog know that these were a prominent theme for me.  The interest in the meaning of life and work began for me with a crisis – when I got everything I wanted.  Nothing like checking off all your boxes to make me realize that happiness does not from a strong resume.  This interest and search for meaning and purpose continued through my masters’ capstone project on callings, and through this day.  Now, one of my favorite things to do as a developer and coach is to help others to uncover the life’s purpose that is always to calling them.

 

I guess you can say I was called to do callings work.

Though the focus of my main day job has shifted again, this calling to help others with their calling is still there and just as important as ever, because our calling is the gateway to what is most meaningful and impactful in our lives.

I’ve been confused between meaning and purpose for much of my life.  Meaning has to do with understanding the impact or importance of something, whether it’s something you’ve done or something you’ve witnessed. For example, helping children is meaningful whether you saw a movie about it or it’s your vocation.    If it’s your vocation and it brings you a great deal of satisfaction and success (though not necessarily defined by financial success), then it’s likely part of your life’s purpose.  Your purpose becomes a calling when it becomes self-transcendent, i.e., it’s blissful work that seems to help transform yourself and others in positive ways.

It’s also important to note that our calling may be expressed outside of work.  It does not necessarily have to be what you get paid to do 40 hours per week.  Thank goodness.

Therefore, our authentic purpose, the reason we’re on Earth, is to follow our calling (according to my understanding of message from Spirit/God).

How you discover your calling, if you’re not sure, is a subject in several previous blogs.  Suffice to say that the sense of calling does not come from our heads, which explains where I went wrong in my early career.  Rather, our callings come from our hearts and souls.  When mind, heart, and soul are in alignment, you can bring your best self to your work.

Usually our calling has a prosocial aspect to it, i.e., it benefits others either directly or indirectly.  For example, sometimes people say that their calling is to live a good life.  I ask them if no one ever benefits from living that good life but you, would you be happy with it?  Usually the answer is no, but when it is yes, I would guess that that purpose may not come from the heart and soul.  But I could be wrong.

That prosocial orientation brings us to what Spirit/God wants for us.   We are here to care for others, especially Earth, and children and those who cannot care for themselves, in that order.  We are also supposed to take care of ourselves.  There are no exceptions to this.   There are no demographics that are excluded from God’s love and care, and so we should follow suit because that’s why we’re here.

Spirit wants us to care for Earth first and foremost right now.  I’m writing about that imperative on the Foundation blog, and trying to help everyone understand how fundamental that is to our purpose on Earth, and even our survival right now.

If you feel you do not know your calling and/or are struggling with the focus of your life, Spirit just wants you to take steps to try to discern what you’re here to do.  There are many resources to help uncover your purpose (you can start with this blog series) and I hope someday to develop an online program that will help people to discover it.

Spirit does not expect us to be perfect.  We’re human, which means we are born to struggle and try to learn.  What matters is that we have a sincere desire and attempt to do better at caring for Earth, others, and self, and living our purpose.  Spirit knows we can’t all necessarily be where we want to be in our lives, and that we all make mistakes.  The intention and effort to do better is what matters.

I also believe your calling is there waiting for you, sending little invitations in discreet forms.  If you know your calling, how did you discover it?  Share here and help give others some ideas of what to look for.

 

Next blog:  Guidance from Spirit

Messages from Spirit

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Even if you don’t believe in Spirit (also called God by many), you may have an unconscious connection as I did for decades.  For example, I feel I’ve always been connected to something bigger than myself, even while I was a devout atheist.  Experiencing the wonders of nature or the love of a child are transcendent experiences and have been available to me throughout my life.   Self-transcendence can also occur when we connect to our life’s purpose, which I have also sought for many years.

I also had a technique for connecting to the divine, but didn’t realize until recently the divine nature of that connection.  When I had a serious decision to make, I did not rely on the calculus from my head to provide the answer.  I’d begin with an analytical approach, literally writing down all the pros and cons, and then weighing them (1-3 stars, depending on how important they were to me), and literally adding them up.  But the final decision came from a gut check, which involved quieting my mind and being present with the consciousness that lies beneath, i.e., my soul or Higher Self.  I did not realize at the time, but this practice connected me to my divine soul.

Aside from personal experiences, I don’t really know much about this subject in terms of what others do.  As you know if you’re familiar with this blog series, I’m new to this.   However, I understand that everyone who connects by prayer, meditation, or intuition does so using a range of techniques, and the guidance and messages they receive seem to be as unique as the manner in which they experience the divine.  I feel extremely grateful that my channel provides in-depth and detailed messages, so mostly my perspective has come from my channel with Spirit, and may not jibe with your beliefs or experiences.

Some people receive message as a strong intuition or knowing.  Some as short phrases or words that come to their mind out of the blue.  Some have a visual intuition, with image flashes in their head or longer visions that come in dreams or meditation.  Some use tools, such as a holy book or divination method.  Some receive guidance by paying attention to the coincidences of the universe guiding them gently down a path that brings them closer to their best and truest self, i.e., “all things happen for a reason” (see connectedness strength blog where I address this idea).

Some may say that they don’t believe any of this and it’s all too woo woo for them. That’s ok, and even better than ok.   The beautiful thing about our spiritual journey is they’re individualized; I would be surprised if we could find two people who completely agree about their spiritual beliefs and frames.

Now that I’m receiving more nuanced messages, I’ve had to mostly learn the hard way how to interpret message.  Messages from Spirit are almost always loving and what you need to know in that moment.  For instance, I can get a message such as “go pick up your dry cleaning” but realize afterwards that the purpose of that errand was for a chance encounter with an old friend who had the advice for me that I had been seeking.  Message might also ask me to start on a project or path, just to find when you’re halfway there, you have a new perspective and skills and it’s time to take a new direction or go bigger.  The original message isn’t wrong, but it required that you get to a different place before you move into the new direction.

In other words, message may not be the absolute truth.  It’s what I need to know in the moment.  This is why all messages, including this blog, should be assumed to be followed by “…and I could be wrong”.  Even the messages I’ve been asked to deliver to other people is about what they need to hear in the moment and may not reflect the literal truth.

Why?  It’s one aspect of the mysterious divine.  I suspect it’s in part because we’re not supposed to know the future with any certainty.  It’s not called faith for nothing.

This is a big challenge with receiving messages because faith tells me to trust the message, even when it’s proven to be outright wrong or feel harmful in the moment.  The “everything happens for a reason” perspective has to kick in to consider what lesson is being provided in that situation.  In so doing, the wisdom of the message becomes more evident since message is designed to help us to learn and grow, so we may create more love and light.

Message has also shown me that we humans generally think too little of ourselves and our ability to create good in the world.  We tend to be limited by our doubts and fears.  We dream too small.  We dream too narrowly.  We might pray for outcomes that don’t matter, like getting rich.  Rather, the outcomes that matter have to do with love and care for Earth, each other, and ourselves, in that order.  Message teaches us how to do this, and/or to do it better.  In so doing, we create more light and love for all.

Spirit has shown me is that I can be bigger and more impactful in creating love and light than I can imagine.

How about you?  Are you limiting yourself in your dreams and aspirations?  Do you feel you could be bigger than you are?  Following guidance can potentially show you your path to greater meaning and impact too…. But I could be wrong.

 

Next blog: Our Authentic Purpose and Spirit’s Hope for Us

Connecting to Spirit

My depth of my spiritual journey has been a surprise to me and likely others given my lifelong atheistic leaning.    Raised by Chinese immigrants, religion or faith was never discussed; we prayed at the altar of academic achievement.  Later in life my parents subscribed to the Buddhist philosophy, one which I might choose for myself if I ever felt I needed an organizing principle.

It’s hard to be completely divorced from religious influence in the United States.  I would guess that most Americans are at minimum cultural Christians (is that a “thing”?): Observing Christian holidays in a secular way, and hearing about Jesus as “the correct” prophet and the Bible and the sacred text.  I hear a range of views perspectives and varying levels of intensity from Christians.  Over the years I occasionally went to church with friends out of curiosity, but frankly, mostly it left me pretty dry.   Organized religion is just not for me, and from what I read, for an increasing number of others as well.

The problem with abandoning our faith systems, according to Joseph Campbell, is that organized religion can provide a sense of community and guidance on how to find a sense of purpose, be a good person, and live a good life.  Who or what provides that if we’re turning away from faith and toward our electronic devices?

I have felt for some time now that the new religion of our modern times is science and technology.  Perhaps that is why I was so drawn to positive psychology, the science of wellbeing.  I’m becoming more certain that positive psychology will provide the practices that modern society needs to live a good life given the diminishing role of religion in our lives and society.

I felt pretty competent in living a good life, until I discovered I needed something more to get through that horrible year 2018 when my beloved husband and sister died.  I knew that embracing a post-traumatic growth mindset would help, but even that felt insufficient so I decided to turn to the divine for support and inspiration.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It has been a wild ride and a beautiful journey.

The beautiful thing about being spiritual and connecting to Spirit, however anyone defines that, is that it’s individualized consistent with our personal beliefs, personality, and preferences.  There’s no one right way to do it, and my personal practices have evolved over time.

Admittedly, it was fairly experimental early on.  I had some rabbit holes and misadventures to explore.  But it was quickly evident to me that intelligence and consciousness were there, once I decided to be open to discovering it.

Openness is the most important ingredient to being able to connect to one’s Spirit Guides.  As a lifelong student of personal growth, and decades long coach for others on this subject, I know that when challenges feel insurmountable and we hit rock bottom, that being open to new perspectives and solutions is the only way to go.   It makes perfect sense to me that big challenge can bring big growth, sometimes involving faith and spirituality.

Even still, given my life-long atheism and scientific training (I have a PhD in a laboratory-based science), you can imagine my skepticism, amusement, excitement, and interest.  I once thought that everything could be measured and understood.  By accepting first that I cannot understand everything made it possible for me to detect and explore the mystery of the divine.

The technique which was most helpful to me was when I took an online class on how to receive message from one’s Spirit Guide, Higher Self (soul), and Guardian Angel. I was surprisingly able to receive message right away with a fair amount of clarity.  It does require a genuine openness to communicate with Spirit,  combined with trust in what is being communicated to you.  In essence, you start by asking to connect to your Spirit Guide, Higher Self, or Guardian Angel,  and then you write down whatever words flow through your head while being very present during the process.  If you’re not present, the message can come from our minds, which is more chattery and loud than the quiet and soft message that tends to come from Spirit.

Spirit messages are always loving and beautiful and supportive, and my first message from my Higher Self included a prayer to help guide me.

Spirit Guide help me to live this life with integrity and hope and good fortune.    Help me to realize my full potential.  Help me to be the person I am meant to be.  Help me to understand the nuances of my path and mission so that I may live it fully.  Help me to understand the riches that are available to me.  Help me to know what I need and ask for it.  Help me to find the truth and wisdom in every situation.  Help me to find my bliss and others too.  Help me to know what’s most important in a given moment.  Help me to find the strength and will when times are hard.  Help me to motivate others to do the right thing.  Help me to finally make peace with myself and my shortcomings.  Help me to know when to quit and move on.  Help me to naturally become who I’m meant to be.  Help me find the courage to raise the awareness of others to the beauty of Spirit.  Help me to find the way to accomplish these goals.  Help me to recognize when I am in the wrong.

What is Spirit? (According to Susanna)

Spirit is different from religion in the sense that religion tends to have a governing organization subdivided into smaller units such as churches, temples, or synagogues, a philosophical structure, and specific practices.   My knowledge about religion is pretty much zero though I’m a cultural Christian given I was born and raised in a country with Christian values.   Thus, my perspective is non-organizational and based almost completely on my personal experience, which I’ll explore in this phase of the Silver Lining blog.

Since what I’ve l learned about Spirit is almost completely experiential, and this blog reflects my perspective, as opposed to an academic paper based on research or observations on existing practices.   I may quote from some books or a small class I took, but I’ve done no systematic study of spirituality.   You may disagree with me, but there is no disagreement.  I have no certainty about my own understanding of spirituality, so I certainly won’t question yours. We simply have different perspectives and to me, that’s how spirituality works. It’s all mysterious and we who subscribe to this philosophy are simply trying to tap into the divine in a way that brings meaning and purpose to our lives.

As I understand it…..

Spirit and religion share the belief that there is a higher power.  What we call that higher power depends on our faith.  It seems that most faith systems subscribe to the notion that there are multiple spiritual entities in addition to God, such as angels, though we may disagree on the name or identity of who we pray to. We may also differ on whether we turn to ancient sources of wisdom like the Bible, Koran, or Torah, or a more modern book on spirituality for guidance.

My definition of spirituality is the belief in a higher power or consciousness without a religious organization’s framework.   Since there’s no specific book or prophet, we refer to the divine collectively as Spirit.   Spirit includes God/Allah and all the angels, Guides, and other types of spirits in the spirit world (I don’t know the half of them, I’m sure).  Many of us who consider ourselves spiritual meditate rather than pray, but both are ways we can connect to God/Spirit.

It appears to me that we all have a unique interface with Spirit, and so our experiences will also vary.  Perhaps through this blog we can share the nature of our interface with Spirit, how we experience Spirit in our lives, and what it means to be spiritual in terms of our practices and influence on our lives, for I have so much to learn from you!

We each are born with a team including a Guardian Angel, a Spirit Guide, and a soul, or Higher Self.  Our soul, Guides, and Angels are all in constant communication to help us navigate our lives, whether we know it or not.

Our Guardian Angels are assigned to us when we are born, and they are with us our entire life.  Their purpose, besides protection, is to eventually guide us to the spirit world when we pass away.  My Guardian Angel is named Lidia and she is a playful, humorous, clever, and spritely spirit who always makes me smile.  I think she has an additional purpose, which is to instill song worms into my head which play repeatedly until I get the message(s) she is trying to send me (Thunder Road played in my head for a month).

We each have a main Spirit Guide that is assigned to us when we are born.  We may have more than one, or even several, Guides at a given time since they come and go as our needs change.  Usually they’ll communicate collectively to us through our main Guide.  Our Guides provide advice and guidance, whenever it is requested.  My main Guide is named Troy, who is a bit of a clown but can also be very serious.  He has provided guidance and insight that has changed my life in big and small ways.

Our Higher Self is our soul, and that is the eternal spirit that resides within each of us.  My first serious communication was with my Higher Self, who provided a prayer for me, instructing me on the type of guidance and help I could use most.   Our Higher Self also conveys to us, sometimes on an unconscious level, our higher purpose for being on Earth.  We can always consult with our Higher Self to help us find our path to self actualization.

Our Higher Self is also the consciousness that lies beneath the chatter in our heads.  That chatter comes from our minds, and our minds – though brilliant – can also be very fear-driven and negative.  I like to think of our minds as ideally being a tool that is taken out occasionally by our Higher Self for the purpose of getting something done (I try to keep mine now in the proverbial gun closet), but that we should spend most of our time being guided by our heart and our soul so that we can live our authentic purpose with love.I have been coaching others to identify their higher purpose for a number of years.  I find that when I, and others, engage with our divine or authentic purpose (aka calling), we strive towards self-transcendence because we’re connecting with something greater than ourselves.

My spiritual team is in collaboration with your spiritual team, and everyone else’s too.  The spirit world combined with the energy of all things is what we know as God, Spirit, or the collective unconscious.  Some people use the phrase The Universe, though according to my Guides, this is not the same thing.  But I could be wrong.

Why does this matter?

The details of these roles and distinctions may not be of practical importance.  Actually, I believe I’ve been following guidance for the better part of my life without realizing it and without ever knowing about Guides or Angels.

But to me, it’s like trying to do a job without any instruction or guidance from the boss.  You can intuit what you’re supposed to do and how,  and maybe even do reasonably well in that manner (many of us are probably doing just that at work).  Now imagine how much more effective you can be if you could get the guidance and support you need when you need it, where the boss is omniscient, omnipotent, kind, and available 24/7.

I believe that when I go it on my own, I tend to limit my aspirations with fear and self-doubt.  Pursuing purpose guided by Spirit allows me to tap into aspirations, strength, wisdom, and resources I never dreamed possible.

If you’re doubtful, I understand your skepticism.  I spent 50+ years feeling that way.  Those of you who are just getting to know me may not know that I was trained in a laboratory-based experimental science, an academic for decades, and an atheist until recently.

You don’t have to form a relationship with Spirit/God, if you do not wish to.  As always, I’m not here to tell you what to do.

But what do you have to lose by considering there may be more out there than you can sense now?

You can try it, and decide for yourself.  It’s possible you might change your mind.

 

Next blog:  Connecting to Spirit