The Truth Behind Spiritual Growth

True spiritual growth comes from the realization that you are inherently perfect just as you are.

The greatest lesson I have learned thus far is that endlessly seeking a deeper spirituality is often a distraction or a means to divert from ourselves for hope or understanding or meaning.

We may feel like a greater truth outside of ourselves will be our saving grace, and while its true that a Higher Power exists around us, the key is to understand it exists within us.

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What is Happiness Anyway?

My mother once told me, “Kari, you’re never happy. You are always searching for something better or waiting for the greener grass.” In that moment, I felt like I’d been turned upside-down and shaken until my deepest, darkest shortcoming fell out. And that shortcoming was staring me dead in the face.

It was my very search for happiness that prevented me from ever being happy. But let us first examine this word. The Webster definition of happiness is: feeling pleasure or enjoyment because of your life, situation, ect. Dictionary.com says: delighted pleased or glad as over a particular thing.

 

When we take the common denominator of these definitions, they both define happiness as an effect of a situation, life or even something. And when we look at it in these terms, by golly I was rarely happy; my situations were plagued by “things” that made life less than enjoyable causing me to search for something better with a never-ending, grass-is-greener mentality.

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The Truth Within

My recent awakening has led me to return to the essence that was within me all along. Today I had a stream of consciousness in writing and God asked me, What do Buddha, Moses and Jesus (to name a few) all have in common? He answered, “I have sent them all divine consciousness in order to heal the world.”

I just finished listening to the preview of Dr. Jean Houston’s The Keys to Unlocking Your Quantum Power. Her program is very much in alignment with what I am already doing, yet it goes one step further to completely shed old ways of inhabiting and relating and thinking to step into the feeling of limitlessness—an effect I have started to experience. I was about to go to yoga class when my intuition whispered, “do not go. Slow down and relax.” And in that moment, I felt compelled to check my email, which led me to Dr. Houston’s seminar (which had fallen off my radar).

The timing was perfect (as is everything that is meant to be), so I sat down to listen to this magnificent woman talk about everything I need to learn in order to step into this next phase of my life with complete faith. Yet another intuitive whisper told me to reach out to my Reiki master, Hope, via email; this email search didn’t lead me to her email thread. Instead, it led me to answers of the deep questions I’ve been searching for.

The term Christ Consciousness has entered my mind recently, and with Christmas around the corner, Jesus has been on my mind relentlessly, forcing me to explore my feelings on this rather controversial figure. What appeared in my search was my dear friend Forest’s follow-up email after our 5-hour discussion on universal and spiritual principles (thank you, Forest). I was reminded of a teaching he shared with me on spiritual truth that cleared up any religious ambiguity in my mind:

The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.

-Buddhist saying

I pondered the meaning behind this principle. No one religion is the only truth, so someone pointing at their religion as “the way” cannot claim any concrete truth, because there is no one way to God (the moon). Once you open up to the possibilities of what lingers beyond your religious beliefs and explore what lies beyond what you were taught to be true, your understanding becomes one of infinite possibility. The only truth is the one that inhabits your own soul.

“There is only one absolute Truth, and all other truths emanate from it. When you find that Truth, your actions will be in alignment with it. Human action can reflect that Truth, or it can reflect illusion. Can the Truth be put into words? Yes, but the words are of course, not it. They only point to it. The Truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you ARE the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth. Jesus tried to convey that when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” These words uttered by Jesus are one of the most powerful and direct pointers to the Truth, if understood correctly. If misinterpreted, however, they become a great obstacle.”

“Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence of identity of every man and woman, every life-form in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. Some Christian mystics have called it the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the in-dwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension of yourself — and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement — all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love. Laws, commandments, rules and regulations are necessary for those who are cut off from who they are, the Truth within. They prevent the worse excesses of the ego, and often they don’t even do that.”

“Love and do what you will,” said St. Augustine. Words cannot get much closer to the truth than that.”

-Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

What I needed to do all along was return to who I am, not who anyone else wanted me to be. I remember this feeling, the feeling of absolute, unwavering faith. The person I am when I surrender is beautiful — it’s who I am deep down, who I have always been. In this place where love dwells, I feel infinite and all is well. I breathe in Light in everything I do and exhale gratitude and love for myself, for God, for others and for the precious life we are given in each breath.

It is no coincidence that Christmas is around the corner. This holiday evokes so much passion and love inside me, and I am called back to that place where all is well in my heart. I do not have to suppress any part of me; I can simply let every bit of that love out into the vastness of the Universe (and clearly, it’s being returned to me). Now that I am so open to the world beyond my Catholic background, and I have studied Judaism and Buddhism and Hinduism, I can come to this place of knowing, the place that I couldn’t arrive at until I looked outside myself, outside my upbringing and outside my own Ego (and it’s need to be right and have one religious truth to grasp).

As I have let God and His love work it’s way through my whole being, I have felt no need to have one, solitary truth outside of the one in my own heart. No doctrine can trump what I feel in my heart; my spiritual connection is infinite and doctrine is worldly with limitations, rules and ideas of how one should inhabit the earth.

When I found the article on absolute truth, I had a revelation that revealed the truth I have searched for my entire life — that there is no one way to God. I truly am a seeker of light and wisdom and wherever I find that sense of awakening and consciousness is just fine. All I needed to understand is that the answers lie within my heart; I am on my own journey to enlightenment, via whichever path I take.

I will always go back to my Grandpa’s piece of wisdom, his truth-bomb, his quip: God cannot be so concerned about your religious affiliation as He is about your faith. Thank you, Grandpa.

I am truly inspired by the divine miracle of Christmas, a time when I feel most alive in this world. This Christmas is my homecoming; for years I wasn’t able to fully embody this miracle in my own expression. I suppressed how I felt and questioned the magic that has always lingered in my heart and is always brought to the forefront this time of year. I couldn’t help but cry on Christmas eve, two years in a row, for this very reason.

I knew this Christmas would be a pivotal step in my journey, as it arrives on the cusp of my transformation, when I awake to the truth in my heart and live the life I was always meant to live. The way Eckhart Tolle describes Christmas hit me in the center of my heart:

“The true meaning of Christmas is that the very Being that you are is the Truth. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

-Eckhart Tolle

When put this way, Christmas is the miracle of who I am at the core; it is creating an awakening of my spirit. It is the birth of this new phase in my life, a phase that allows me to live with the expansiveness I feel in my heart and the potential I feel is possible with deep faith.

This year is wrapping up in the most beautiful of ways. The facade of the woman I was unraveling into the past few years has been shed and I have been lifted into a new phase—one where I can confidently say everything happened for a reason. God simply needed to bring me back to myself, by showing me the divine love in my own heart.

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