I grew up going to church with my family almost every Sunday. We went to both Catholic and Baptist churches due to my parents differing denominational preferences. A consistent problem I had as a child in church was that I hardly ever desired to actually listen to the messages the priests or ministers would give. I would find myself playing around in the pews and laughing with my little brother before I'd actually think about what was being said.
Every now and then, the guilt of not paying attention would kick in, mostly because I was being disciplined by my parents. I would try to sit and force myself not to zone out or fall asleep (8am mass is early for a kid!). Watching the clock would often be the only glimpse of hope I had to get back into my childly flow.
Of course, now I understand very clearly that as a child I was quite naturally tapping into the only frequncies I needed- flow, fun, bliss.
These aspects of my experience weren't limited to church time though, they were basically constant, until I was given a responsibility of some kind that was deemed to be more "important".
I watched my family for years go to church, and though I personally have nothing against it, it made me realize a few things about the way that many in our collective consciousness tend to view spirituality. I call it "Sunday Spirituality".
Big Guy In the Sky
A common theme in "Sunday Spirituality" is God wants me to do something that I don't want to do.
One example I commonly witnessed: "I have to go to church today even if I don't feel like it because it's what God wants me to do!"
You could also phrase it like this "I have to act against my resonance, to go somewhere that is going to teach me how to follow my resonance." Makes no sense.
The notion is basically that there is an authority figure that has a desire for your life and if that desire isn't fulfilled, then you're in BIG trouble!
Believe it or not, I don't just see this theme in organized religion. There are still lots of traces of this energy in New Age groups. Only instead of God wanting you to do something, it's the obsession with staying positive. Any negative thought being looked at as a stain on your experience that needs to be expunged immediately! Or what if.. God forbid.. it might manifest itself?!
I've seen this perspective lead to repression and numbness in quite a few people because they are so repulsed by negative thoughts that they end up attracting negative thoughts about their negative thoughts!!
These folks don't even get a chance to learn the lessons the thought process could teach because they won't even look at the thought. They end up feeling totally miserable on the inside, but they're smiling and saying "Namaste!" on the outside.
The authority figure represents a paradigm that I think is worth pointing out.
It's what you do that matters, not what you feel. And even more dissonant It's what it looks like to others that you do, not what you do or what you feel.
This is a common subconscious belief that arises when one is constantly looking for approval from this authority figure. Because the authority figure isn't actually what "God" or the Universal Consciousness is, most of the time the stand-in is the community you're surrounded with. The community of enforcers or judging eyes is cause enough for you to want to display yourself as "having it together" or "walking the path"- usually by following some set of rules.
The emphasis goes from your state of being, (the only thing the universe interprets from you) to how whatever you're doing looks to other people (literally doesn't matter at all).
God a.k.a. Awareness, Consciousness, I AM existence... has no desire for anything from you but to experience itself through you. That means, that right now you are already 100% doing God's will because you exist. So basically, you can check that off your list.
If God were really an authority figure in the sky, why would he want you to follow rules for him/her to be happy? Do you believe that a being of infinite love and light would actually NEED anything?
Awareness Touches Everything.
How you perceive life affects every single thing you do and experience. Right now, you only know you are reading a blog post on your computer, written by a girl named Chloe because your perception of reality is telling you so.
When we acknowledge the omnipotence and omnipresence of awareness, this is the same thing as saying everything is spiritual.
Awareness is the drawing board for all of life and creation. When you change a belief about something, everything in your life changes around your new awareness.
"Sunday Spirituality" creates a focus on your awareness on Sundays. Limiting your focus on your perspective to only when you go to church, or have a meditation, or go to a retreat doesn't actually change your life very much. These are simply temporary permission slips you are giving yourself to feel a little better for a little while.
But what about when someone cuts you off in traffic? Or you get fired? Or when you have anything happen that isn't the lovey dovey compartmentalized spiritual experience you've been having?
By practicing awareness of your perspective all the time, and learning to shift to a more desirable state of being, you can begin to truly embody the infinite ability you have to bring your personal brand of Heaven here to Earth!
Flow is Church
When we get into the flow, there's no need to get dressed up, or pay for parking, or read an ancient text- though the flow doesn't necessarily exclude these things, it just doesn't require them.
The irony of my childhood churchgoing experience was that I was being exactly what every teacher in those settings was alluding to, flowing in love and light. BUT because it didn't LOOK like the typical churchgoing experience, it was problematic. The real reason for this is that the emphasis in those settings was to revere the rules even more highly than the reason the rules were created in the first place.
Now, as an adult, when I get into this state of being, everything is a teacher. Relationships, mundane responsibilities, emotions, ALL OF IT.
Being in the flow is like always being at church, except at my church I am also free to do things like: practice levitating objects, transmute sexual energy into creation, say 'fuck' if I'm feeling like it, be really irreverent and basically whatever I want that's fun (no rules).
I prioritize flow over rules and structure every day of the week, because I know that flow will always lead me to a higher understanding of myself, which in turn leads to a higher understanding of how I can contribute to the world.
Flowing is Allowing
"There's only two things: well-being and resistance to it," Abraham-Hicks said this, and she's right. You can't go somewhere and get the flow, it's something you simply allow into your experience.
One of my favorite exercises to tap into the flow is below. This is a foundational practice and is the first exercise I teach in my courses because of how profound of a shift it can create when used frequently. I often compare this exercise to giving yourself a blank canvas on which you can paint your life. I use this to simply allow the natural well-being that is uninhibited existence to come to the surface, so that I can draw from the infinite flow of inspiration, love, and guidance.
The more you practice this, the more you will feel comfortable staying in this state of being no matter what is occurring around you. Eventually, creating an unshakeable ability to remain in tact emotionally and connected to your flow.
"Be Still" Exercise:
- Step 1: Become present by allowing your current stream of thoughts to pass you by until you stop noticing them. No need to pay attention to any thoughts in particular, just allow yourself to feel that you are here, you are alive. The state of presence will feel quite spacious and open. Common sensations while in this state are tingling, effervescence, and weightlessness.
- Tip #1: Don't think about being present, just feel it.
- Tip #2: As thoughts pass, notice how you are observing your thoughts. You are obviously not your thoughts, if you are able to observe them. Notice your inner stillness, as this inner stillness is accessible at anytime you wish to access it. By becoming familiar with it, you are able to more and more easily access inner calm.
- Step 2: Notice how from this state of presence you can easily focus upon any object of your choosing. You can shift from this spacious presence to a laser focused awareness at the drop of a hat. You can become aware of a thought, a feeling, a sound, or anything in your immediate environment.
Most importantly, what flow allows is the ability to transcend having to think about what spirituality is or looks like. You can be open to defining what spirituality means to you based on your unique footprint in creation on a moment-to-moment basis.
Who knows, maybe one day your flow will lead you to go to church or to a retreat, but imagine how good it'll feel when it's a natural byproduct of the love you already feel and not because of a commitment you made to a set of rules.
Infinite love! <3