Sometimes I think about how impatient I used to be with other people’s points of view. I’ve always been a spiritual person, but ten years ago I was a mean spiritual person. Whenever someone disagreed with me about anything I would quickly and condescendingly point out to them that they were wrong. I’m glad I’m not that person anymore; but my higher self pointed out that I can still be intolerant.
I’ve come a long way since my dogmatic days, but I still struggle with having compassion for different spiritual viewpoints sometimes. I’ve told you before that my higher self and I fight a lot. It bothers me when she points things like this out, because no one wants to be told that they’re not perfect.
Below I listed 10 beliefs that have kept me from loving others unconditionally; some of them I’ve let go of, and some I am still working through. The beliefs are not wrong on their own; they become limiting when we add an unwillingness to consider that there could be another truth to the matter.
- Doubt is always wrong, no matter the circumstance.
Faith is awesome, but what about doubt? When someone expresses doubt, how do you respond? Do you scold them for not believing? Do you tell them to think positively? Or do you embrace them and tell them to follow their doubt to see where it leads? A deep look at doubt may be the exact shadow work exercise that this person needs right now.
- If I go against the status quo, everyone will think I’m crazy.
I used to look at quirky people and envy them while simultaneously pitying them. I would ask myself, “Do they enjoying being ridiculed for being weird?” I knew I didn’t, so I would hide aspects of myself that seemed contradictory to my spiritual beliefs. When I was a Christian, I was drawn to astrology but I didn’t tell anybody; when I was an atheist, I still secretly listened to worship music; and now as a “new ager,” I still watch ratchet TV and wear glittery eye-shadow. Am I a contradiction or naw?
- Creativity has nothing to do with sexuality.
It’s easy to judge sexually uninhibited people because it’s hard to make this connection. I made the connection after realizing that my depression was directly related to my stifled creativity. I’ve always been told that sex was for marriage only. So fornication and masturbation were both sinful to my ego, but necessary to my shadow. I didn’t create much before I got married, but there was something about the freedom of sexual expression that made me want to write more… and that was when I got it!
- You can’t change the past-what’s done is done.
This point of view really used to stress me out. It inhibits compassion for the self and for others. Whenever I thought about something in the past that made me angry or brought me shame, I didn’t know that I could forgive myself. I didn’t know that I could go back to that very moment and say the words that the “me” in that moment needed to hear. I didn’t know that when you heal the emotional root, you heal the entire tree. In all honesty, we change the past all the time with our memories.
- When I say “no,” I’m being insensitive.
When I was 25, I found myself in a service job and a service oriented religious organization. I was an introvert and it was all too much for me, but I felt like I couldn’t say no to anybody. It was hard to get alone time because I lived in an apartment right above the church office with two roommates (that I really loved) and they always wanted to hang out after church events. After I moved out, I figured that it would be a good idea to leave the church altogether. I needed to for my sanity and my authenticity. I’ll never forget that experience because it not only taught me to be true to myself, it taught me to respect others when they’re doing the same.
- Pursuing your dreams is spiritually irresponsible.
I’m still struggling with this one right now. I’m a full-time writer and I feel guilty about it. I feel like I should be out working even if it makes me miserable. I feel like struggle is a part of life and when I see someone who isn’t struggling, I start thinking about how selfish they are, or how other areas of their life must be in shambles. It never occurred to me that it is possible to make the decision to be happy above all else, and then trust the universe to bring about that happiness.
- Lack is just a part of life that we all have to deal with.
No, no, no! This universe is infinite and there’s more than enough for all of us. You have all the resources that you need to create a beautiful and fulfilling life. Poverty consciousness is pretty rampant in spiritual people. It’s like we’re afraid that if we become rich we’ll also become materialistic or something. But what’s wrong with that? Even in missteps there’s a valuable lesson learned.
- If I’m following a spiritual teacher, that teacher is not supposed to struggle with ego issues.
This is a big one. We’re really hard on our leaders, aren’t we? I guess this is because we forget that they’re human and still trying to navigate their own problems (often in the public eye). If you appreciate what someone has to say, why is it so hard to forgive them for their short-comings? Sometimes a simple response such as, “Oh that’s interesting, I guess that just goes to show that we’re all human,” is more effective than burning someone at the stake. Everyone eventually realizes the effect that they’ve had on others in this lifetime anyway.
- “Thou shalt not want” means that you shouldn’t have any desires.
Nope! It actually means that if you have a connection to the divine you will never go without, food, water, and shelter, and when you receive a gift, you should simply be grateful. Gratitude is the great multiplier of the universe; you receive more of whatever you are grateful for.
- To dig deep within myself for spiritual truth is selfish and suspicious.
I heard an artist say the gist of this once: “The deeper I dig into me, the more I uncover universal truths.” Wow. I used to think that people who thought this way were very selfish. What about service? What about sacrifice? I also doubted the legitimacy of this philosophy. How can you learn something about the world by magnifying yourself? Whelp… it’s because the entire world is contained within you.
Your spiritual journey is not about putting people in boxes and judging them for not being like you. Your spiritual journey is about realizing that everyone is just like you and deserves your compassion.