This is a tough question as spirituality can mean so many different things to different people, but from my experience over the last 20 years it’s been mainly about discovering who I really am. This is what I feel it means to be spiritually aware, because it’s a journey that begins deep within as you take a good look at who you are in all your glory, pain, suffering and victories.
Shadow work can play a huge part in becoming spiritually aware, but what does this actually entail? Well, exploring spirituality means addressing, accepting, forgiving, honouring and loving all of the worst most vulnerable, even demonic part of yourself – this may sound alarming, but we do all have them, each and every one of us has the capacity for evil and we need to accept that. If you’re not ready to work with this truth, then you’re not ready to do the work and get on the way to really understanding yourself (sorry to be a party pooper!)
The Oxford Dictionary defines spirituality as ‘the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things’.
‘the shift in priorities allows us to embrace our spirituality in a more profound way’
‘a deep sense of spirituality that connects them to the natural environment’
count noun ‘an interest in other cultures and spiritualities’
So, we can view spirituality as purely a moving away from the human conditioning that has evolved from a material, egoic state of being. This is a natural state for most of us human beings who have grown up in a culture that breeds religious dogma, social conditioning and competition of material wealth and these states of mind can be hard habits to break.
When we look at this from a psychological needs point of view such as the, Barret Values Stages of Psychological Development which takes Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs even further along the evolutionary path. We are said to be in a stage of differentiating between 8yrs old – 24 years old where we are motivated by respect and recognition having our value of security met. We then move into the evolutionary stages of freedom and autonomy to meaning and purpose and eventually onto self-less service. This evolutionary process has it values defined by the ages and stages of our physiological development.
Shifting your perspective towards a more service-oriented mindset focuses on transmuting your emotional hurts into something that is a gift or an opportunity for growth. The spiritual path is a testing path but no more difficult than the human ego path you may already be on, yet what it does allow for is a chance to make sense of yourself and your reason for being here, which is ultimately what spirituality is all about.
And always remember, in nature there are no mistakes – the bigger question is what can you make from all your trauma, pain & suffering? How can you make these elements of your life work for you and not against you?