Philosophy, Spirituality

Liberty, Liberation, and the Paradox of Freedom

freedom

Freedom is a spiritual quality. Like love, or peace, or stillness, it is essential, and only truly cultivated within. Equally, freedom, like love, or peace, or stillness, is experienced in the world, or more accurately, through the world. While worldly freedom can be attained, spiritual freedom is unconditional. This freedom is not the absence of difficulty, but freedom despite difficulty.

Ego, Mental Health

Self-Awareness and Its Shadow

self awareness shadow

Self-awareness is mostly considered a positive trait. More awareness equals more emotional intelligence, more clarity on life’s goals and values, more insight into behaviors or traits that limit potential, more understanding of how words and actions affect others.

But can you have too much self-awareness? Is it ever optimal to be less self-aware?

Synchronicity

Cosmic Wink from a Headless Buddha

Fate unfolds in infinite ways; chance meetings, serendipity, sliding doors, chain-of-events arranged in meaningful order, as if an intelligent design operates behind life’s exterior. People you were destined to meet. Places and times planned to perfection. An intelligent whole able to, against all probability, provide meaning to each individual part. 

If the universe conspires, do atoms, too? Does quantum probability make fate possible?

Enchantment, Synchronicity

The Lighthouse: A Synchronistic Symbol of Intimacy and Isolation

Erik Erikson’s life’s work occurred during the golden age of depth psychology. The Danish psychologist built upon Sigmund Freud’s theories of ego development as a student of Freud’s daughter, Anna. Erikson’s legacy, the psychosocial stages of development, explains psychological growth as the result of navigating conflict between individual and social needs.

Erikson’s model has eight stages, with each stage focusing on a theme and age group. The model presents two outcomes, one desirable, one undesirable. Stage six, intimacy vs. isolation, occurs roughly between the ages of 20 and 30. The conflict of this stage is balancing intimate relationships with self-connection. The theme reached a pinnacle in my life between 29 and 32.

Ego, Spirituality

The First Horseman of Spiritual Ego: Spiritual Bypassing

Spiritual bypassing occurs when spiritual practices are used to escape from responsibilities.
The post is part of the series: The Four Horsemen of Spiritual Ego.

Spiritual bypassing was identified by John Welwood in the early 1980s. Welwood’s experience as a transpersonal therapist and Buddhist teacher gave him a unique insight into how spirituality can become an escape mechanism. Despite good intentions, Welwood noticed “a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” He adds:

“When we are spiritually bypassing, we often use the goal of awakening or liberation to rationalize what I call premature transcendence: trying to rise above the raw and messy side of our humanness before we have fully faced and made peace with it. And then we tend to use absolute truth to disparage or dismiss relative human needs, feelings, psychological problems, relational difficulties, and developmental deficits. I see this as an ‘occupational hazard’ of the spiritual path, in that spirituality does involve a vision of going beyond our current karmic situation.”