The path to empowerment and freedom from the past lies in owning
that we have choices about our belief systems. Our mental attitudes,
beliefs, and definitions dictate our emotional reactions and control
our relationships. If we are living our life in reaction to the past,
in reaction to our childhood wounds, then we are not making choices - we
are not free.
This is true rather we are trying to conform to the old tapes or rather
we are rebelling against them. Either way, we are giving the past power
over how we live our lives today.
One of the most vital prerequisites of healing and recovery, of being
open to growth, is a willingness to be open to looking at anything, and
everything, from a different perspective. As long as we are stuck
in a rigid perspective on any issue, we are like the blind man who thinks
the elephant is a snake because all he can feel is the trunk.
The reason that we have rigid perspectives is because we are reacting
to emotional wounds. When I was first introduced to twelve step recovery,
I thought the people were a bunch of religious fanatics because they talked
about god. I did not want anything to do with god because of the
shame based religion I grew up in. I had been tremendously wounded
by that religion and rejected the concept of god because the one I was
taught about was an abusive father.
"We were taught a reversed, backwards concept
of god. We were taught about a god who is a small, petty, angry,
jealous, judgmental, male being. We were taught about a god who is
an abusive father.
If you choose to believe in a punishing, judgmental,
male god, that is your total right and privilege. If that works for
you, great. It does not work for me."
When I got into twelve step recovery, I was emotionally beaten and bloody
- I was wishing for, and courting, death because life was so painful.
I had to choose to be open to some new ideas in order to change my life.
Owning that I had a choice to change was what opened up a whole new life
What I have discovered in recovery is that I need to be willing to look
at any attitude or belief in order to keep growing. Any issue that
I am not willing to look at is tied to emotional wounds that I have not
healed. And anytime I am allowing old wounds and old tapes to dictate
my life, I am not capable of making informed choices - which sets me up
to be the victim of my own blindness.
When I am in reaction, then I am not capable of discernment. Then
I am not able to pick the baby out of the dirty bath water - I either accept
it all or throw it all out.
"The teachings of all the Master Teachers, of
all the world's religions, contain some Truth along with a lot of distortions
and lies. Discerning Truth is often like recovering treasure from
shipwrecks that have been sitting on the ocean floor for hundreds of years
- the grains of Truth, the nuggets of gold, have become encrusted with
garbage over the years."
Blindly accepting religious teaching and blindly rejecting any kind
of a concept of a Higher Power are the same thing - a reaction to old wounds
and old tapes.
Each and every one of us has the absolute right to make our own choices
in regards to what we believe to be Truth. No one has a right to
dictate to anyone else that their concept is the only one that is right.
Our concepts of the meaning and purpose of life, of who we are and why
we are here, are what dictate the quality of our relationship with life.
Each and every one of us needs to find a concept of the meaning and purpose
of life that works for us individually. You have an absolute right
to believe that life has no meaning or purpose - or that the purpose of
life is suffering and penance for some mythical sin of mankind - whatever
you choose to believe.
But if we reject even looking at any alternative perspectives, then
what we are empowering is ignorance. The person we hurt the most
in doing this is our self. In blindly rejecting other perspectives
without even considering the possibility that there might be some grains
of Truth in them, in being rigid and choosing to be blind to alternative
points of view, we are limiting ourselves. By closing our minds to
any new input, we are giving power to the past - we are letting old wounds
and old tapes dictate how we live our life today.
Paradigm shifts are very important for growth and learning. Paradigm
shifts occur when we change our perspective, when we modify our attitudes,
definitions, and beliefs. What I am doing in this article is sharing
some different perspectives on the concept of spirituality for you to consider.
If you can find the willingness to be open to some alternative views, perhaps
something that is shared here can be a catalyst for a paradigm shift for
I would just ask that you be open to seeing if any of it resonates with
"There is a principle which is a bar against all
information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior
to investigation." ~ Herbert Spencer
"This dance of Codependence is a dance
of dysfunctional relationships - of relationships that do not work to meet
our needs. That does not mean just romantic relationships, or family
relationships, or even human relationships in general.
The fact that dysfunction exists in our romantic,
family, and human relationships is a symptom of the dysfunction that exists
in our relationship with life - with being human. It is a symptom
of the dysfunction which exists in our relationships with ourselves as
The more we enlarge our perspective, the closer
we get to the cause instead of just dealing with the symptoms. For
example, the more we look at the dysfunction in our relationship with ourselves
as human beings the more we can understand the dysfunction in our romantic
As was stated earlier, our perspective of life
dictates our relationship with life. This is true for all types of
relationships. Our perspective of God dictates our relationship with
God. Our perspective of what a man or a woman is, dictates our relationship
with ourselves as men or women, and with other men and women. Our
perspective of our emotions dictates our relationship with our own emotional
Changing our perspectives is absolutely vital
to the growth process."
Spirituality is a word that describes relationship. How one defines
the word controls one's relationship with the word. If one defines
spirituality as one's relationship to god - then the relationship is dependent
on how one defines god. If one defines spirituality as one's relationship
to the spirit - then the relationship is dependent on how one defines spirit.
The thing that is so important in regard to healing and recovery, is to
realize that you have the right to chose definitions that work for you.
No one has to accept any one else's definition - no matter what any religion
This was what was so revolutionary about the twelve step process introduced
by Alcoholics Anonymous. It is based on the premise that each individual
can develop a personal relationship with a Higher Power of their own understanding.
I find it really amusing that so many 12 step meetings meet in churches
whose religion would brand this belief heresy. As I state in my book,
the twelve step process started a revolution in spiritual consciousness.
In order to be open to looking at the concept of spirituality from a
new perspective, it is vital to be willing to look at our definitions,
at the beliefs that dictate our relationship with the word/concept.
On an intellectual level, it is very important to be willing to look at
our mental attitudes, beliefs, and definitions - both conscious and subconscious
- in order to get clear with ourselves about what the word/concept means
to us individually and personally. Until we do that, we are reacting
to what the word meant to them. Until we become willing to look at
how our intellectual paradigm is dictating our relationship, we are giving
power to the very institutions and people who wounded us.
As with any other issue in recovery there is an intellectual/mental
level of healing and transformation that is important, and there is also
an emotional level - which is separate from, but intimately interrelated
with, the intellectual.
One of the greatest blocks to communication is that some words are emotionally
charged. They are words that trigger an automatic emotional reaction
within us. To use a trigger word in an argument - a word such as
controlling or manipulative - can turn a discussion into a battle instantly.
When someone flings a trigger word at us, or we at them, it is like we
have just shot an arrow into them. It usually causes them to go on
the defensive and start flinging some arrows back at us - or perhaps go
into some other defensive mode, such as crying or walking out.
Using trigger words blocks communication. And we usually use them
consciously (although we certainly may not be honest enough to admit it
at the time - or even later, depending on the level of our recovery.)
We use them in reaction - because we have been hurt or are scared, because
we are trying manipulate and control the other person. (Using a word
like manipulate or control to describe someone else's behavior to them,
is almost always an attempt to control and manipulate the person we are
accusing of that behavior.)
For the purposes of this discussion, what is important is to realize
that trigger words fall into realm of cause and effect. We are born
with a certain personality - we are not born with certain words programmed
as emotional triggers. Emotional triggers fall entirely in the province
of experience. We have an emotional charge attached to certain words
because of our life experience. In other words, we have a relationship
to that word that is a result of emotional experiences in our life.
Spirituality is a trigger word for some people. God is a trigger
word for many people. Religion is a major trigger word. That
these are trigger words is not bad or wrong or abnormal. What is
important is to realize that these are emotional trigger words for a reason
- there is a cause that has produced this effect, and it is emotional.
We do not have emotional trigger words because of intellectual disagreement.
Trigger words carry emotional charge because of emotional wounds.
As long as we are not willing to look for the cause behind our emotional
relationship with a word we are still giving power to our past and whatever
circumstance caused our emotional wound. Giving power to past emotional
wounds causes us to not see reality clearly today - and that is what is
dysfunctional, allowing the past to interfere with the present in such
a way that we are not open to all possible choices.
So, we have emotional relationships with certain words. (This
is also true of many other things: gestures - someone pointing a finger
at you, tone of voice, sounds, smells, etc.) As I mentioned, there
are also words that describe relationship. When a word that describes
relationship is also a trigger word, it dictates our relationship with
whatever concept, idea, dynamic, etc., that word describes.
When we have a powerful emotional charge associated with a word, it
affects our relationship with any other words which we see as directly
connected to that word - concept, idea, dynamic, etc.
Having a powerful and negative emotional charge associated with the
concept/word god, caused me to also have negative reactions to anything
I saw as being associated with that concept I was emotionally abused with
in childhood. Because of that shaming, abusive concept of a god the
father who might send me to burn in hell forever - I did not want anything
to do with: religion, Christianity, Jesus, etc. I also saw the evil
actions that were perpetrated in the name of that god/religion in the course
of history - which gave me even more reason to reject the concept out of
hand and completely.
By rejecting the concept, and allowing it to pollute my relationship
with other words/concepts, I was limiting myself and my personal universe.
I talk about this emotional trigger on my web page Jesus
& Mary Magdalene -Jesus, sexuality, & the Bible
"I was severely Spiritually abused growing up
in a very shame-based religion that taught me that I was born sinful and
that there was a God who loved me but might send me to burn in hell forever
for being human (i.e. getting angry, making mistakes, being sexual. etc.)
I still have some very tender wounds about the effect those teachings have
had on my life. As I write this my eyes filled with tears of sadness
about that little boy being taught what I believe are such abusive and
spirit destroying concepts. I still have a great deal of anger that this
abuse was perpetrated on me, and that so many other children were, and
are, being abused by these types of teachings - which are in my belief
the very opposite of the Truth of a Loving God-Force.
I have done a lot of healing around these wounds
and they don't have nearly the power they used to have only a few years
ago. In fact, the only thing which I might even consider changing
in my book "The Dance of Wounded Souls" is the tone which I use on one
page in talking about the abuse which has been perpetrated in the name
of Jesus by people who were acting the very reverse of what I believe Jesus
taught. I absolutely believe what I say in my book but now, with
a few more years of healing of those wounds, I might say it a little less
stridently, in a little softer manner
Because I still have buttons that can be pushed
in relationship to my wounding I try to be careful to not react when I
sense in someone else the kind of rigid shame based belief system that
was so damaging to me."
Even up to a year ago I would cringe when I got an e-mail from someone
who described what I was writing as Christian - because I had such a negative
emotional charge associated with Christianity and Christian religion as
I had experienced it.
As long as I was reacting to twisted and perverted interpretations of
what Christianity said Jesus taught, I was incapable of looking for any
Truth in the messages of the man Jesus. Through being willing to
look at my intellectual attitudes (and transform them when I found that
worked for me) and do the emotional healing (which involved a great deal
of grief and rage work, especially rage work) I was able to change my relationship
with the concept of God enough to take away the negative power that I had
formally given to the word. Then I could stop having wearing blinders
caused by old reactions.
I am using this illustration as simply an example here - I am not saying
that anyone reading this needs to come to the same understanding of God,
or religion, or Jesus, that I have evolved. (Obviously, from my use
above of the word "perverted," I still do have some charge in relationship
to those old wounds.)
My point is, that because of my emotional wounds I was not able or willing
to look for Truth in any arena that was related to the shame based religion
which so wounded me. In my quest for a relationship with myself,
with life, and with the Universe, that worked better than the one I had
learned growing up, I needed to be willing to look for Truth anywhere and
everywhere. I could not see the larger picture, make a paradigm shift,
until I became open to looking at different perspectives from a different
The first step in that process was to divorce the word spirituality
from the concept of religion. I made a choice to start seeing spirituality
as being much larger than religion. In other words, spirituality
is not religion - although some religions can contain some spirituality.
I started looking at spirituality as a word that described my relationship
to life. To life, to the Universe, to myself and other human beings, to
a Higher Power - if there were such a thing. It was very beneficial
to me, to take the negative emotional charge out of my relationship with
the word spirituality. It was a very powerful transformational experience
for me to open up and enlarge my intellectual definitions of spirituality
- and any words or concepts that I felt were related to spirituality.
It was a major step, in the process of moving toward freedom from the
past, for me to stop letting the religion I grew up in have power in determining
my relationship with life today. In the story of my healing journey
that I am writing in my Joy2MeU Journal, I talk about how my recovery from
codependence began when I realized that I was still reacting to life emotionally
out of the subconscious beliefs instilled in my childhood (that life was
about sin and punishment, and I was a sinner who deserved to be punished)
even though on a conscious level I had thrown out those beliefs 20 years
My conscious recovery from codependence started when I became willing
to look at the cause and effect relationship between my childhood and my
adult life. More specifically, it involved a paradigm shift which
allowed me to stop empowering the shame based religious beliefs I was raised
with and start empowering myself to own that I had choices. By starting
to become aware of my choices I was able to change my relationship with
life and vastly improve the quality of my life experience. It was
also a major step on the path to learning how to Love myself.
I have chosen to develop a relationship with the concept of spirituality
that works very well for me. It works to make my life easier and
more enjoyable today. It works to help me: relax and let go of some
of my fears; let go of shame and self judgment; to be in the moment today
and have the freedom to be happy and find Joy in being alive - no matter
what the outside conditions in my life may be today.
My relationship with the concept of spirituality today is one that both
brings me comfort and empowers me. My philosophy in regard to spirituality
is summed up pretty well in a quote from one of my next books which I use
on the Spiritual
Pages index page of my Joy2MeU site.
"Spirituality is all about relationships.
One's relationship to self, to others, to the environment, to life in general.
A Spiritual belief system is simply a container for holding all our other
relationships. Why not have one that is large enough to hold it all."
Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light
By doing the intellectual reprogramming and emotional healing, I
have enlarged my definition, shifted my paradigm, into one that is large
enough to work for me in helping me to live a happier life today.
Atheist and agnostic are both words that have power in defining self
in relationship to life. You may feel that defining yourself as an
atheist or agnostic is working very well for you in your life. If
it is, right on. I honor your choice and your right to make that
choice. I honor the rebel in you who would not allow doctrine to
impose it's dictatorship on you.
I would just ask you to consider if it is possible that your self definition
is limiting your choices in the same way that one who blindly accepts the
Christian concept of god is limiting themselves. Any time we empower
a rigid belief - either because it is the doctrine of some religion, or
in reaction to emotional wounds - we are limiting ourselves in our perspectives
of life, of ourselves, of everything and everybody. We are enslaving
ourselves to a dictatorship when we are in reaction to old wounds and old
tapes. We are limiting our freedom.
The question here is not right or wrong - it is not black and white.
The question is: "How is it working for you?" "Is the way you are
living your life working to meet your needs?" "Are the ways in which
you choose to define yourself working to make life a happier, more enjoyable
experience for you?î
I am not here to tell you what you should believe. I am merely
sharing what I have learned, the insights that I have gained in my journey.
As I say, in several places in my book:
"I offer this as I offer everything else that
I am sharing here - as an
alternate perspective for you to consider."
So, now I have a large web page written and have touched on only one of
the perspectives of spirituality that I had planned on including.
One more time a simple article has turned into a series. The next
article will be a scientific view of spirituality entitled Quantum Spirituality.
To wrap up this web article, I want to refer back to the quote from
my book above that talks about there being some Truth in every religion,
philosophy, etc. This is also Truth in relationship to atheism and
agnosticism. I would like to end this by sharing some quotes from
my writings in which I make statements that are at least somewhat in alignment
with these philosophies.
For atheists who deny the existence of a God, I would offer a quote
from my Trilogy that supports the belief that there is no God - as it is
defined in the traditional Western concept of a Supreme Being.
(In both the reference that I use here to what defines an atheist, and
the one I will use shortly for agnostic, I want to acknowledge that these
are simplistic, one dimensional depictions of such beliefs that do not
speak to the totality of anyone's philosophy. I do not mean to demean
or diminish anyone's beliefs by this - I am simply trying to communicate
"Once upon a time, there
was a dream of creation. This Creation Dream, like all dreams of creation,
was projected within the heart of ALL THAT IS.
This Creation Dream is the result of a brilliant
concept of the imagination of the ONE consciousness of ALL THAT IS.
ALL THAT IS is the sea of energy that is everything which exists in Reality.
This great sea of energy vibrates in ONENESS at the frequency of Absolute
Harmony, LOVE, and has been called by a multitude of names. Many
of these names will be referred to in the course of this story but, for
the sake of simplicity and clarity, the names most often used will be God
or The Goddess, with occasional use of I AM, The Holy Mother Source Energy,
or The Great Spirit. All of these titles refer to the great sea of energy
that is ALL THAT IS.
And this sea of energy, The Goddess, is one very
(Which would seem to be the prime requirement
for the job of being the ALL-Knowing, ALL-Powerful Source although, God
knows, many humans continue to limit their concept of a Higher Power to
something small, petty, and humanoid. God, by the way, is not a "Supreme
Being" because The Goddess is not a "being". God is the energy of
ALL THAT IS vibrating at LOVE and as such will not be referred to by the
personal pronoun "she", which in any case would be much more accurate than
"he". More will be revealed.)"
The Dance of the Wounded
Souls Trilogy Book 1 History of the Universe Part I
I agree with agnostics who maintain that any
God/Source/First Cause is unknowable - beyond human understanding or comprehension.
Below is a quote from my book, and one more from my Trilogy. The
one from my Trilogy states very nicely the point that I have been trying
to make in this article: that enlarging our intellectual paradigm is not
something to be done to try figure out what is right or to know absolute
truth - it is something we can do to change our perspective of life so
that we can change our relationship with our self and with life.
Being open to growth is an act of Love that can help us heal our relationship
with our self - and that to me is what spirituality is all about.
"There is nothing shameful or bad about being
We are NOT being punished for something some dude
did in a Garden thousands of years ago!!!
We are NOT being punished because some angels
tried a coup díetat on some bearded male god!
We are NOT being punished, as some of the new
age psychics and channeled entities claim, as the result of our ancestors
becoming trapped in the lower vibrational frequencies because they liked
sex too much, or procreated with animals.
THAT IS ALL BULLSHIT!!!
Those are twisted, distorted, grotesquely warped
misinterpretations of what were originally symbolic, metaphoric, allegorical
attempts to explain the unexplainable. They no longer contain more
than an echo of a grain of Truth in them. They have been distorted
so grotesquely because of the shame which humans assumed came with the
pain of the original wound."
"None of the details of any of these explanations
of the unexplainable should be taken too seriously or literally - it is
impossible to describe the indescribable. They are merely tools to
facilitate a paradigm shift in consciousness - to help us open up to larger
definitions of the Creation than those we were taught in childhood.
The goal here is to empower a more expansive context within which to view
the dance of life - one which allows for a perspective of human existence
that does not include shame and sin."
The Dance of the Wounded
Souls Trilogy Book 1 History of the Universe Part IV
For an expansive perspective on