The Divine Human Journey

I think of myself as a spiritual person, but I have many moments when I’m gripped by anger, resentment, irritation or shutdown. Why does this keep happening? Don’t these episodes hold me back from making spiritual progress?

Well, maybe those episodes are the point. Those moments are not to be avoided or suppressed, they are the fertile ground of our growth. Maybe it works like this.

Let’s say the purpose of the human journey is to bring Divine Light into the world of form. We come into the world as sparks of the Divine, fully immersed, wholly connected, with no sense of a separate self. We don’t even know we’re Sacred, we just sense life as pure being.

But we soon learn that the world has boundaries; we learn there are others around us with wants and needs that we must negotiate; we learn the acceptable rules of our society; and we learn that those others, those negotiations and those rules are not always kind.  

We gradually build up layers of an ego self that works hard to protect us and help us to thrive. We learn which parts of us are allowed to shine and which are not. And we bury the parts that are too painful to look at. We spend years perfecting our personhood, becoming skilled in the world of form, and leaving a trail of buried hurts. And for a while, it all seems to work.

But the buried parts never actually leave us, they are just hidden from view. There comes a time when they poke from the ground and say, “It’s time to dig me up now. It’s my turn to come back to you.” And they show up as those flashes of anger, resentment, irritation and shutdown.

If I drop a jar or a plate, I often feel an unreasonably strong flash of anger and tell myself I’m a clumsy idiot. If I am bored with whatever is happening around me, I am hit with a rush of impatience and an almost uncontrollable urge to leave or change the conversation. Sometimes, out of nowhere, an old memory rises up, a time when I hurt someone, and I wallow in regret for minutes or hours.  

These are all examples of my buried parts wanting to see the light of day.

We’re not spiritual because we don’t have such moments. We’re spiritual because we recognize these moments and meet them. The task is to face the piece we buried, feel the feelings we avoided, learn its lessons, and integrate what we split off long ago. 

Each time we stand in that fire, we are transmuting another piece of forgotten darkness into light.

Feeling our feelings can be terrifying. It takes courage to open up to your buried parts when they come knocking, to not just tolerate but to welcome them. Your ego self has spent a lifetime learning how to steer you away from pain. But you are better equipped than your younger self, which performed a wise survival tactic in burying this for you to find when the time was ripe.  

Our irritations and angers are not signs of spiritual failure. They are Xs on the treasure map of where we do the work. Each time we wrestle with the feelings of our buried parts, integrating our pains back into our souls, we bring to light what was unconscious. Embracing our difficult moments is hard work. It is spiritual work.  

Maybe that’s the human journey: bringing Divine Light into the world of form by burying our wounds and then retrieving them, welcoming them home, redeeming them, and becoming whole again. 

Things that help:

  • Start to recognize the signals that a buried part is surfacing. How does it show up for you – anger, depression, anxiety, longing, shame, heartache?

  • Buried parts show up physically in the body. See if you can sit still and locate where it is. To the extent you can, open to it. Your life experience has equipped you with the skills to work with this moment.

  • Conscious breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, helping us relax and open. Try a quick breath in (to the count of 1 – 2) and a slower breath out (to the count of 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.)

  • Hold no self-judgment, about the moment or your ability to embrace it. The mere fact that you are facing the moment IS ITSELF the work you are here to do. If you do it for five seconds, you add grains of sand to the scale of goodness. 

  • Hold no judgment for others who are involved. They may have a part in this, but you are working your part. 

  • Take it in slow steps; if it is too big, leave it for another time. Some traumas are significant and need to be worked over time and with the help of others.

  • Seek the help of a therapist or counselor (never a weak step, but a brave one).

  • Rely on your connection to Spirit. Invite Divine help. You are never alone in doing the important work of being human.

Photo by Jimmy Nilsson Masth on Unsplash

2 Replies to “The Divine Human Journey”

  1. Thank you for this post and the truth contained in it. The moments of anger, anxiety, and shame are our opportunities for spiritual growth, not something to be avoided or repressed. This is authentic spiritual practice!

    1. Hi Barry. I try to write these blog posts out of my own experience. I know that facing my own dragons, large and small, have always been the seeds of my own growth. Thanks for sharing your comments.

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