Myths About Spirituality
Myths About Spirituality
Conscious Living Column
By Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak
As with many things on our planet the field of spirituality has developed a number of myths that people are trying to actualize as absolute truths. Individuals are struggling with ideas and concepts in their lives that they cannot bring into being simply because they are myths and therefore, unattainable. The problem can be individuals are left feeling inadequate or that they are doing something wrong because they cannot make the myth come true.
Over time the frustration of being unable to achieve certain things can turn people off and invariably we will walk away from anything we decide we are not accomplishing or will move to more extreme measures in order to make it happen. The following will look at just a few of the more predominate myths that may impede an individual’s growth.
Myth # 1- Spiritual People are always happy and content
Spirituality, when combined with emotional healing, is a series of practices, attitudes and beliefs that can and do make people experience their lives with greater energy and enjoyment but it also internally urges us to go deeper into ourselves for greater understanding. It does provide new and different skills and coping mechanisms that we may not have previously had to deal with our life. A key reality is, life can be and most often is difficult at various times. These difficulties teach us about our self and each other. Painful things will happen, we will have losses, sickness and death will occur and change is always inevitable. Spirituality gives us tools on many levels, not just to pilot our way through these things, but also to learn from them. We will not always be happy and content every day, at every hour, it is not part of the human spiritual and emotional journey.
Myth #2- Spiritual people don’t get sick
Actually people on a spiritual path can get very ill and even die. We need to get past this idea that illness and death are somehow failures and wellness is the only option that proves how spiritual we are. Many spiritual people will in fact get very seriously ill as a way to learn and discover many things. Illness, disease and the death and dying process are all powerful learning tools. It teaches not only the individual going through it but also those in contact with that person. Many people with serious conditions like cancer and AIDS have said that if it were not for their illness they may never have discovered the many possibilities life can hold. We equate healing with being healthy; they are not the same thing. Profound levels of healing occur in the death and dying process. We need to understand that death is also an option in the healing process. Whether you are the healer or the person seeking healing, we need to know there are many options to learn on the spiritual journey and that no matter the outcome, none are a failure.
Myth #3- Spiritual people must live in some form of poverty
This myth is probably derived from the Christian parable that basically says, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into heaven. This concept, while altered somewhat, has become part of the spiritual ideas that hurt many people in their ability to be successful. Their beliefs about money severely limit their possibilities. Abundance and prosperity are key ideas in spirituality and, can often cause a lot of confusion for many people. Money must be seen as nothing more than energy. It is a socially agreed upon form of energy exchange. All energy from the spiritual to the physical is part of the human experience. It is our attitudes and how we use it that is important. Prosperity and abundance are there for the taking, just like it is in all of nature. It is perhaps the human behaviours of greed and hoarding that reinforce the poverty myth and continue to fuel scarcity thinking of never enough. Being in the flow allows all energy including money to be part of our life.
Myth #4- To be spiritual, I have to be perfect
This myth of perfection perhaps more people than any other. Likely rooted in our Christian societies’ admonishment to be perfect, as God in heaven is perfect, this one small phrase robs people of many opportunities and re-enforces our inadequacies. Humans are not supposed to be nor will we be perfect. Our souls have chosen to be here in the physical world because of the many challenges and possibilities provided for our growth by being human. Perfection is a state of stasis; in other words, there is no further growth occurring. Everything we know from spirituality or from science indicate that all things are in a state of flux and growth including the universe. Humans are a part of the natural world and not set apart from it except in our own mind and mythology. Let nature be your guide as to what is possible and not possible. No one would stand in front of a tree or flower and proclaim it is not perfect, it just is and it is exactly how it is supposed to be. Let’s apply that to ourselves. We are just as we are supposed to be, growing and changing each day and year.
Myth #5- Spiritual people never feel empty or lonely
The feelings of emptiness and loneliness that we can feel are so much a part of the human condition and they are often the very catalyst that opens the door to our own awareness. Humans are by nature very social beings. We need people around us at various times. Some people more so than others but the key here is we need each other. Our interactions are instrumental in our learning process. While some insight may be gained all alone in the woods, it’s the challenges of our interpersonal relationships that provide the most learning about ourselves. We are designed to be with and learn from each other. This encompasses all forms of relationships not just intimate, sexual ones. While spirituality helps move us to embrace the divine within and to develop spiritual practices that consistently reinforce that connection, we still need to have others in the human form to connect with. Loneliness and emptiness will always be with us at various phases of our life. Spiritual practices do help to fill the void.
Myth#6- Spiritual people must be able to meet their own needs
An extension in some ways of never feeling lonely or empty is the notion that we have to meet all of our needs ourself. What we want to learn is how to have our needs met in a healthy way and without demanding that others do so. If we are trying to meet all our needs by our self, is it any wonder we may feel empty and lonely? We want to learn to have our needs met through any number of people. No one person in our life, like a spouse, can possibly meet every single need we may have, nor should they have to. People demanding to have their needs met can turn many people away from us. We want to have lots of different people from all walks of life to share with us our different needs and interests. As humans we all have needs and always will have needs from the most basic of food and shelter, to the most esoteric. They are what fuel our growth and journey.
A good exercise may be to find which myths you may have been holding as true and find other ones that may be holding you back. A way to possibly know if you are chasing a myth is to identify things in your own process that you just can’t seem to ‘get’. Ideas you keep struggling with over and over again and they are not clicking. As humans we all have myths that we want believe about our self to be true, over time the veil lifts and we see more of who we really are, perhaps taking a look at your own personal myths may help to move you forward. We cannot ‘get’ a myth; we can only ‘get’ what is true. The pursuit of a myth is both frustrating and harmful.
Spirituality is intended to simplify our lives through beliefs, attitudes and practices which enhance the human experience while embracing the divine connection. We make it much too difficult. It is not how long you lived but how you lived your time here on the planet. Keep it Simple and remember the basics!