In the last unit, we talked a bit about the importance of breathing and some of the fears and issues it can help you with. We learned, among other things, that breathing is an important stress, anxiety, and panic management tool. It may have been a bit of a surprise to consider the connection process as a potentially difficult and challenging one, especially since these days so much spiritual fluff emphasizes unquestioning faith, unfettered consumerism, and “positive” ignorance as spiritual practices, but it can be. In the context of authentic spiritual connection and the challenges that you may sometimes face, intent, visualization, and breathing are critical tools to help keep you focused and pointed on the straight and narrow.
Moving forward, we want to take a few pages to talk about what happens if, despite all your good intentions to the contrary, you are delayed and/or bumped off the Path. Unfortunately, it is a definite possibility. One minute you can be making good progress towards connection, maybe even having some powerful connection experiences, and the next you can be distracted, turned away, or halted dead in your tracks. It happens all the time. If that happens to you, what do you do?
First, if it does happen, you have to distinguish between a time out/rest period and actually getting bumped off the path. Both can happen. On the issue of a time out, you may not like to hear this, especially if you have been into those “law of attraction” style spiritualties where the goal is simply to get wealthy, but the Lightning Path, indeed any authentic path of human and spiritual development, is not about attraction, individual prosperity, reward in the after-life, and acceptance of what is. Authentic spirituality is about awakening to the horrible realities of this planet, the elimination of these horrible realities, the reconnection of the masses to the light that is within, and transformation of the planet. None of this is easy. Authentic spirituality means a major challenge at both an individual and a collective level, especially when you also consider the fact that awakening, activation, removal of obstacles, and forward movement involves sweeping away the crumbling old world.1 It can be hard to do. It can even be shocking and overwhelming.
If you become so shocked by the scope of the work that you cannot move forward, if you are so overwhelmed by the enormity of it all that you need to take a break and/or stick your head back in the sand for a while and take some time off to process, that’s OK. That happens. If you need to fugue a little while and let others carry the weight, that is fine. There is nothing particularly wrong with wending a circuitous route toward final awakening and activation. We all have different life circumstances; we all have difficult decisions to make; we are all more or less responsible for others; we all have unique issues and struggles to deal with. Therefore, we all need to go at a different pace and follow a slightly different course. This is not a big deal. There is no one–size-fits-all solution. You do not have to follow a timed and graded path through it all and you certainly do not have to feel bad if you need to move a little slower. Our advice to you is, take your time. Rest, relax, process the information, learn what you need to learn, strengthen in those areas you need to strengthen, and move forward at a pace and with a purpose with which you are comfortable.
Trust your gut and follow your own feelings on this.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed, frightened, or discombobulated? Is fear overwhelming you and threatening to snap the fragile mental stability of your physical unit? Are you exhausted and confused by the information that you have to process? Then, take a break for a short time. Step off the path, Netflix, “chill,” and go on a little spiritual hiatus. This is not a race. Slow and steady gets you there just the same.
And remember, this goes both ways here. Listen to your feelings to tell you when you need to slow down or pause, but also listen to them when they tell you it is time to get moving. Are you feeling anxious and unsettled, like you should be doing something? Is there a strong internal drive pushing you in a forward direction? Are you impatient with aspects of your life or the people in it? Are you having a hard time denying the truth? Then, get back to it. Trust your gut, move forward with purpose, and make the changes you need. Do not be unnecessarily negative about things; but, always remember, do not stay stuck too long. The general message is simple: chill out. Relax, calm down, go slow, and take a break if you need to. Everybody walking an authentic spiritual path will need to do this at one time or another. It is not a big deal. Just remember to start moving again when you are ready.
As noted above, there are two reasons that can stall you on your authentic path towards healing and connection. One is because you are taking a break and the other is because, through no intent of your own, you get bumped off the path. Getting bumped off the path is easy, especially considering how many distractions and diversions are intentionally tossed in your way. It is very easy to get stalled in your tracks or even led astray. Despite the fact that a strong drive to spiritual awaken is hard-coded in your genetic DNA, getting bumped off the path happens to billions! It will happen less as time passes, but it still does happen, it will continue to happen, and it may (perhaps already has) even happened to you. One day you are reading, practicing the affirmations, and moving forward, and the next day you have forgotten it all and moved back to “normal” life. One moment you are dancing in the sunrise of Spirit, the next you have fallen and are eclipsed by the delusions of The System. It happens to both Gina and I. It happens to everybody. It is not big deal and it is not a problem so long as you do not stay distracted for too long, and snap back to it real quick.
The problem is, sometimes it can be hard to tell when you get bumped off the path, and when you are just taking a much needed time out. How do you tell if you are moving forward towards stronger health and connection, or stuck in a halting toxic stew. How do you tell if you are moving forward in the light of the spirit or stuck in the darkness of ego? First of all, scan your life-space for violence of any form. This includes physical violence, but also emotional, psychological, and spiritual violence as well. Violence of any kind is a sure sign you are stuck, or there are obstacles in the way. The bottom line is, there should be no violence in your life. This is a basic starter requirement and it is a sure sign of forward movement, or lack thereof. If there is violence in your life, you cannot just ignore it and let it be. Violence of any kind will throw you off the path. You cannot move forward on an authentic spiritual path when you are surrounded by constant violence and aggression. It just does not work that way. The two are mutually incompatible. In an ideal life space, one that allows you to function properly, live, and grow in power and divinity, there should be absolutely zero-violence.2
If you look around and you do find violence in your life, what do you do? If you are truly interested in moving forward, you do whatever you need to do to end the violence. The reality is, you cannot move forward on the Path while you are subject to, or engaging in, assault, violence, and exploitation. It just does not work that way. The violence will generally interfere because it will keep you distracted and focused on defense. It will also corrupt your understanding and interpretation of what you are reading. It will damage your body (if it is physical violence) and mind (if it is psychological or emotional violence). In the end, the disjuncture caused by it will undermine your ability to connect and stay connected. So do what you need to do to a) stop your own acts and b) keep violent actors away. It is very important. If you want to stay focused on the path, if you want to make consistent forward progress, you need to achieve a calm and safe environment as quickly and as completely as you can.
Visualizations can help in this regard. To keep violence out of your life, use, for example, a boundary visualization. Boundary visualizations are simply visualizations that help you establish and reinforce personal safe zones. A couple are provided in the LP book, The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice, but they are easy to imagine for yourself. Just visualize balloons, brick walls, energetic barriers, or whatever you like really, keeping you safe from the maelstrom.
Boundary visualization can help with reducing violence by keeping negative influences out, and if you try them you’ll find they can work surprisingly well, but they do not always work. Sometimes negative people just barrel their way through no matter what you do. If you find yourself unable to establish and maintain boundaries around people, like for example and abusive spouse, or bully at school/work, get away from them if you can, and seek professional help and assistance if you cannot.
We know that given the current state of the planet, saying that we need to stop the violence immediately seems hopelessly utopian. Perhaps, but regardless, you can still start. Start with yourself because that is the easiest. Just stop being violent. Stop shooting others, stop verbal, emotional, and psychological assaults, stop hitting your children, stop screaming and yelling, stop being angry, stop passive-aggressive emotional attacks, stop exploiting people, stop hurting others, just, stop, stop, stop. Set an example and stop. It might take a while, but you can do it and when you do, when you have made a little progress on yourself, get to work on your family. Teach your spouse and your children non-violence. Discuss with them the importance of calm, safe spaces for emotional, psychological, and spiritual development. Then, when you have established the foundation in your family, start on your work or professional environment. Finally, work in the political and economic spheres.3 To be sure, it is a lot of work and there is a lot of resistance now, but you will be surprised at just how fast resistance will start to drop away and transformation will unfold once you make a decision and focus. It will start slow at first, but it will accelerate quickly. It is going to be frightening at times, but take a deep breath. Remember, it is good that the resistance dissipates. Keep telling yourself, “We are moving towards a better world for everybody,” keep pushing in a transformative direction, and before you know it you will be telling yourself that you will never go back to “that” toxicity again.
As noted, if you find yourself bumped off the path, the first thing you look for is violence. The second cause and symptom of “spiritual interruptus” is misplaced priorities. The truth is, if you want to move forward on a spiritual path, you need to establish priorities, and one of your priorities has to be spiritual practice. Why? Because, you, and by “you” we really mean your physical body and little bodily ego, have a limited amount of energy to expend in a day. You start the day with the cup full, but the energy drains throughout the day. By end of day, your energy is depleted. When your energy is depleted, you go to sleep to regenerate and replenish. You start each new day with a new pool of energy, but watch out; you do not have an unlimited reserve nor do you have unlimited time. You only have so much time and energy to expend throughout the day. When you run out of time and have used up your energy, you are done and you will fall asleep exhausted.4 It is important to keep this in mind, particularly since the process of awakening and activation takes a lot of time and energy. If you do not give it the time it needs, if you find yourself too busy doing other things so you have no time to read an LP book, study some LP concepts, and practice some LP visualizations, you are not moving forward. It is as simple as that. If you are finding that you are not devoting any time or energy to your spiritual training and advancement, you will need to set some priorities and cut some things out of your life so that you have the time and energy to accomplish this most important goal. That is all there is to it. Examine the time and energy you devote to spiritual study and practice. If you are not devoting much, or any, straighten out your priorities so you can get back on track. It is not going to happen if you do not do the work.
So far we have noted that if you are concerned to stay on track you need to look at violence in your life and you need to examine priorities to make sure you have the time and energy you need. The third thing that you want to watch for is, to be blunt, spiritual crap. That is, keep a good watch on the materials that you are using, the advice you are accepting, the books you are reading, and the shows you are watching. If you find you are being bumped off the path, if you sense you are getting stuck, if it feels like you are spinning around in circles a little too much, take a look at what you are reading, watching, and listening to. You may not have ever thought about it, but the truth is there is a lot of spiritual crap out there, and it is not at all harmless. Some of the spiritual crap can hurt you: some can even get you killed.5 Not all spiritual materials are worth reading. Some spiritual materials are poorly written, some are ideological in nature, and some are just plain wrong. Similarly, some spiritual authors cannot write, some spew nothing but “pain body” ideology, and some know absolutely nothing at all about what they are talking about. Some have never had a spiritual/connection experience at all while others have a single spiritual experience or two and then sell themselves off like experts in the field. Some spiritual authors are even mentally ill! We do not want to go into detail here, nor do we feel comfortable naming names,6 but you have to be aware of these issues, you have to pay attention to what you are putting into your mind, and you have to learn to discern the spiritual wheat from the useless chaff. If you do not, you could end up wasting your whole life following somebody else’s confusion, pathology, or ideological special interest. Since we do not recommend you waste your life, pay attention and be critical. If you find you are not making any progress, you might have been bumped off the path. If that happens, have a look at the materials you are absorbing. If you get the sense that something might be off, trust your gut and move on.
And that is all we have to say about that. In this chapter, we have examined the importance of staying the course and staying on path. We have also examined some of the reasons why you might not stay the course. As we have seen, sometimes we can take breaks, and sometimes we can be distracted or bumped off the path. It is fine if you take breaks. Just remember to get moving again. As for being bumped off the path, our basic advice to you is pay attention. If you find you are not making as much progress as you like, look for violence, distraction, manipulation, and just plain spiritual incompetence. Also, examine your priorities. It does not matter how rich and powerful you are, you only have so much energy and time in a day. If you waste time and energy on materialist pursuits, bullshit ideology, or incompetent gurus, you will not make any spiritual progress. If you are serious about your development and progress towards connection, you have to stay on the path. If you do not stay on path, you will go down with the sinking old energy ship. Take this to heart and put it into practice. Stay focused. Stay devoted. Stay true, and keep moving forward.
1 Sweeping away the old is a necessary, at times difficult, and sometimes even sad chore ahead. Unfortunately, you do not have a choice in this. You cannot build a new building on top of a crumbling old one. Neither can you build a new utopian reality on the top of the debris and detritus of our current dystopia. No matter how you try to fit the two together, it will just not work. You either stick wholly with the old, or clear that away and embrace thoroughly the new.
2 Of course, there is a bit of a quandary here. A no violence rule is all very fine and dandy on a world where everybody is wide-awake, empowered, connected and respectful of boundaries. On a world like that, there is going to be no war, violence, adultery, deception, and theft from the poor. On a world like that, simply raising your hands would be enough to get people to stop. Unfortunately, we do not have that world, yet. Soon, but not yet. On this world, people run roughshod over boundaries all the time. Worse than that, on this world people intentionally exploit each other on a minute-to-minute basis. And note, it is not just the rich who do this. Our employers, our governments, our sisters, our brothers, and even our moms and our dads hurt, hit, steal, and exploit us. What is worse, when you tell them to stop, they often do not. In fact, when you tell the people of this world to stop, they often redouble their efforts out of pure spite. It is ridiculous that it happens, but it does. Even so, even though it is challenging, you must strive for nonviolence.
3 For those of you studying to be LP mentors/therapists, we look at this widening area of work in terms of Spheres of Alignment. We help our clients align themselves in widening spheres of influence. First, we start them in the individual sphere, then we get them to work on their family and social situations, finally we encourage them to get active in transformation at work, in government, and so on. The individual’s life transforms as they increasingly align (with Consciousness) in the widening spheres of influence. For a detailed treatment, see https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Spheres_of_Alignment.
4 Of course, you can push the energy limits of your body with drugs, but this will damage your body and mind in ways that we have not even begun to understand.
5 Just think about “spiritual teachers” that encourage you to strap bombs to your body and blow yourself up, or Christian evangelicals who encourage violent crusades.
6 Though, in the interest of the millions who are spiritually betrayed, spiritual talk-show hucksters and the charlatans they endorse really need to be called out.
Other Lessons from This Workbook
- Connection, the Physical Unit, the Spiritual Ego, the Bodily Ego
- Initiating Connection and Dealing with the Challenges
- Visualization Magic
- Lubricating the Gears of Connection
- The Importance of Staying Positive
- The Importance of Breathing
- How to Stay on Course
- Workbook One: Exercises and Affirmations