The other day, someone said “this spiritual evolution stuff is hard work. Sometimes I just want to go back to the way I was, it was so much easier.” I had to giggle because I totally agreed with her. It is so easy to just go through life and not think about what we say or do or why. I remember the days when I did not worry about what I did or said and didn’t think about what I really meant by that or the message I was giving off. Or the days when I was not thinking about what emotion was ruling my response? Or whether I was responding or reacting? But then I stop and think about how unhappy I was, how messed up my life appeared to be, how I felt as if I were on an emotional roller coaster. There were times I felt as if I was trapped on one of those revolving doors. No matter how much I said things were going to be different, I found myself doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. Oh wait, isn’t that what Einstein called insanity.
Evolving spiritually means that we cannot zone out through life. We cannot hit the snooze alarm on our lives. We have to remain awake and conscious. When we are conscious, we can listen to our intuition. Albert Einstein, in reflecting on intuition said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Theologian, Florence Scovel Shinn, once said, “Intuition is a spiritual faculty that doesn’t explain, but simply points the way.” Intuition is that the still small voice that speaks to us and guides us in our lives. When we stop and think about the idea that within us is the answer to every question we have, we may begin to realize the power we have been given by the Creator.
Tapping into the gift of intuition requires two things: asking a question and listening for an answer. Asking the question is the easy part. The harder of the two is the listening. The answers will come, but not always in the way you are expecting them or when you are expecting them. Some of my sacred encounters with the Infinite have come while I was in the bathroom, or showering or sleeping or sitting outside my classroom. Not only have the insights come in unexpected places, but they have not always been what I had been thinking about doing. The one thing I do know is that when I have listened to that still small voice inside, I have seen options and solutions I could not see on my own.
I have also learned to be mindful before I do or say anything. Every thing I say or do is a message. It is not just about what I say or do, but about the intent behind it. Was the intent of love or of fear? I find myself constantly asking myself why do I want to say this. What is my motivation? Why do I want to do this? What is my motivation? Am I doing this because of what it might do for me later on, or am I just doing it for the pure sake of being of service? It is through this constant examining of my intent that I have come in touch with parts of my personality that I loved and parts that were in need of a major overhaul.
Doing so has helped me to realize how important it is to act out of the positive and healthier aspects of my personality. This can be a challenge because sometimes our intents can appear to be loving. For example, when we caretake or try to fix a situation for someone, or show them how to do something. Other times our intents are clearly not from the healthier sides of our personality (i.e. when we judge, blame or gossip.
The other day I was looking at my signature line on my school account. It says “Honesty is more than just not being dishonest. It is an active choice to be responsible for the choices we make before we act upon them so that we can stand up for them and not be tempted to be dishonest.” It is important that we be responsible for what we say and do. There is this Lakota tradition, which calls for the person who assembles a group of people to claim that responsibility. It is not that we gathered, but that I called this gathering into being. So often, we hear people talk in generalities. Doing so is a way of avoiding responsibility for one’s own ideas. I remember once someone telling me everyone hates you. I know the generalization was to magnify the impact, but the reality was that [a] not everyone hates me, many people don't, but [b] it allowed him to not take responsibility for his own feelings, never mind his intent in saying that to me.
Some of us seek power in our lives to make ourselves feel safe and valuable. Others of us are less interested in the immediate outcomes, but more in touch with our own spiritual evolution. We realize that in order to evolve, we must stay conscious, listen to our intuitive spirit, own responsibility for what we think and feel. The goal is not to feel safe or valuable, but to evolve spiritually, to be more in touch with one’s inner spirit and with one’s Higher Power.
Is accomplishing this easy – no. however, the process of evolving instead of revolving is one that will take you to greater understandings of one’s own power and one’s own authentic understanding of self.