Let’s Discuss: 'Spirit Junkie' vs. a Spiritual Life Lived
The past years’ research has continued to show that not only are more people are feeling disconnected from their lives, but also feeling anxious and depressed. While the topic of spirituality is becoming popular, more people are jumping on the bandwagon pursuing a spiritual life.
Although the concept of spirituality is a vast topic of its own, one needs to understand the foundation of living a spiritual life vs. what we’ve being taught in the modern world. One of the key elements can be localized not only in spiritual teachings, but also the worlds largest religions. Same principle can also be located in medical teachings, diet teachings as well as when discussing constructs of design.
In Buddhism is it’s explained as a situation in which different things exist in equal and mutually beneficial amounts. It’s also referred as The Middle Way. One can’t maintain a Zen state of being if not being balanced within themselves. In yogic teaching we learn about balancing our chakras in order for our body to flow energy in an optimal state. If not, side effects can be detected both on an emotional, mental as well as physical levels. In the ancient teachings of Sufism balance and equilibrium is discussed as a means to ensure stability, and are the outcome of the existence of a constant center. For example, think about the universe, it’s easy to see how perfectly balanced the planets are moving around the sun. Each in their orbit, even how balance prevails in the galaxies.
However, if we take a look at todays modern world its easy to see how unbalanced we’ve become. Mass-consumption, mass-production, it has gone so far that our planet is suffering. We’ve become so accustomed to keep on consuming and pursuing a life without stopping for a second and reflect whether that aligns with our own core values. It has become so engraved in our phycology to follow the masses, because if we would choose a different path we might face being cast as outsiders. We’ve become so numb to these messages, that people actually bully others from being different when in fact, we’re all humans at the end of the day.
These paradigms are so deeply constructed that even spiritual teaching are now being attached to connotations that aren’t aligned with foundational spiritual teachings. One of these examples is the phrase ‘spirit junkie’. The phrase was first born as a title of a book by Gabrielle Bernstein. In this book, Gabrielle shares her story from living a life of cocaine addition to flipping the switch and stumbling upon Marianne Williamsons book ‘A Return To Love’ based upon the teaching of A Course in Miracles. Not only did these teaching change Gabrielle’s life, she’s now a world known spiritual teacher, author, and Kundalini yoga teacher.
When googling the meaning of a ‘spirit junkie’, you will find the following: “A spirit junkie is someone who is hooked on feeling connected with a higher sense of meaning; someone who chooses a positive point of view; someone who opens his or her heart and mind to new perspectives even in the somewhat dark corners of life; someone who practices forgiveness and has an attitude of gratitude.” Although this message is beautiful in its own way, it doesn’t prescribe to the consensus of a spiritual life lived. To starters, you shouldn’t be “hooked” to anything. Not even joy, because when one is being hooked, you’ve lost your sense of control. When you’re being hooked on joy, you can’t sit in sorrow or despair.
A spiritual life lived is about being in control of oneself while riding the with universe ebbs and flows, regardless of how the situation you’re currently are living in is measured on the scale or sadness vs. joy, successful vs. unsuccessful and vice verse.
The second problematic part of this meaning is that it refers that a spiritual life is about “feeling connected with a higher sense of meaning”, when in fact its more about embodying and integrating. The feeling may be what makes you purse your spiritual path, but the path is about embodying what you understand on an intellectual level to a fully embodied state of being. In fact, when you’ve integrated the connection, it’s a natural part of you.
For example, a person who feels disconnected from life, may feel alone, abandoned, separated, no sense of connection to God, Universe or whatever terminology that fits your palate. While a person who is integrated feels the connection, doesn’t have to second guess it, even though at the toughest and hardest moments, that beings understand the energetic of the dualities, as well as that there is no difference between humans and in fact that we’re all one.
Thirdly, according to popular misunderstanding of spiritual teachings people have come to think that being spiritual is all love, light and unicorns. When in fact the passage takes you through your darkest caves, this is what is mentioned to shadow work. The work itself revolves around looking at every aspect of yourself that you have put in your shadow. It may be aspects of yourself that you’ve received guilt or/and shame for as a child. This is where the heavy work beings, to unravel, to understand, to locate and not be mislead by our ego in the process of doing so. Therefore, it’s highly beneficial to work with a spiritual teacher or meditation coach in the process so you can navigate your way forward with a knowledgeable person who is able to mirror back the different nuances of your ego self vs. your authentic self. This process can take years and years, depending on your dedication and devotion. Nevertheless, it’s a process.
When discussing the word ‘junkie’ by itself, it signals a person who lack control, discipline and a sense of divinity of being whole as they are. Although Gabrielle’s intention may be of the highest good, we need to understand what we are prescribing to. On a psychological level words can program our neuropaths ways in how we operate, and since spirituality is about coming back to the wholeness that you are, the wholeness that you forget while growing up a child, one needs to comprehend not only intellectually to the foundation but also that know the difference between the teachings and buzzwords that aren’t aligned with the foundation of the vast majority of spiritual teachings.
Lastly, regardless what belief you’re assigned to, we’re all having a human experience. Right here, right now. Regardless how spiritual you consider yourself to be, even if you’re still sleep walking, you’re a soul in a human costume. Spiritual teaching can assist you in living more fully, more mindful and heartfelt rather than run a rat race fully asleep. It can be a means to actually meet yourself, a passage into falling more in love with yourself and life itself. Especially if you’re a soul who thinks about the constructs of the world, or ponders over the unjust dualities that is all a part of this place we occupy together.
One of the purposes of Atelier The Ché is to illustrate how a spiritual life lived can be, without having to compromise of the popular misconception that a interest in aesthetics or beauty does not minimize ones spirituality. Your style can be as lush as you want, however if you do assign to spiritual teachings, you’re most likely aware of doing it in a way that does not harm others. For example, by choosing more suitable options, going eco-friendly and support brands that striving towards more inclusive climate. So when you choose to consume, you know what you’re actually giving your money to, what you’re fueling and investing your energy into.
Disclaimer: Please note that ATC does not that one should go from 0 to 100 in any means. It’s a process, it takes time. Little by little, step by step. Going from 0 to 100 will leave anyone overwhelmed–ATC encourages a self-compassionate approach to everything. Especially all things spiritual, because one can understand intellectually, yet it takes time to be able to truly feel. And this path can only be walked through the heart, through feeling it, which is why it will move you from within.