July 8, 2010 -- Throughout my tumultuous early life, I found comfort in blissful and perfectionist imaginings. In an effort to escape the chaos of my family environment, I focused my gaze on visions of a self-actualized reality, one where the world I inhabited would be in a state of perfect order. This vision served me for many years, until I made the mistake of projecting it onto my spiritual life, manifest as a misguided quest for enlightenment. I soon learned.
Although enlightenment has been broadly defined in the spiritual literature, it is often interpreted as a kind of pure consciousness; a 'heightened' and purified state of being that is detached from our everyday concerns. In its own way, this interpretation can actually invite us away from the karmic field of expansion itself- our daily life. It is only through a growing interface with our real-life experiences and challenges- the School of Heart Knocks- that we can evolve towards a deeper spiritual life.
With this in mind, I invite you to consider a more grounded approach this week, one that reflects what I have realized on my own Soulshaping journey. Enrealment is the quest for a more inclusive consciousness, one that makes no distinction between our spiritual and earthly lives. Through the eyes of enrealment, the more spiritual person lives in all aspects of reality simultaneously- the emotional, the material, and the subtle realms- rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable. Our quest is not simply to live in the light, as enlightenment implies, but is to be more genuinely here in all respects: shadow and light, earth and sky, grocery list and unity consciousness. By living in the real, our experience of the moment becomes more complete, our ascension more true.
Enrealment means that we recognize the chaotic magnificence of our daily life as intrinsic to our spirituality. It means seeing the Godself in our connection to the world around us- Everything is God, God is Everything. It means consciously seeking a "Weastern" Consciousness, a consciousness that weaves the quest for unity that is fundamental to the east with the quest for emotional health and a healthy self-concept intrinsic to the west. It means honouring our physical form not simply as a 'vessel' for the soul, but as the embodiment of the soul. It means learning how to connect with our bodies as gardens of truth. It means calling ourselves on our detachment from our shadow. It means honouring our personal experiences as our own built in learning channel. It means shifting our perspective: What is on one level a challenge, is also an opportunity for expanding our consciousness.
Enrealment also includes doing the often difficult work needed to clear our emotional debris and work through our most pressing issues. Repressed emotions are unactualized spiritual lessons. We clear our emotional debris both because it creates space inside for our authentic self to emerge and express itself, and because inherent in those feelings and memories are the lessons we need to grow in our spirituality. By bringing our repressed emotions to the surface and working them through, we expand our "soulular" consciousness. By growing down, we grow up...
In "chakric" terms, enrealment means we begin at the beginning. We begin with an honouring of our root chakra -the quest for OM begins at home- and work our way up from there, one chakra after another. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. Our spiritual life begins with our feet planted firmly on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. Ascending with both feet on the ground.
As we work through our chakras, we become organically present in our bodies and in the moment. From this delightful presence emerges a natural and sustainable movement toward God. Instead of settling for the occasional enlightenment moment, we are now capable of a more heightened way of being. One we can actually sustain. One we can actually ground into. From sole to soul...
A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of "Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation," recently published by North Atlantic Books. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser and Ram Dass, "Soulshaping" is Brown's autobiography -- an inner travelogue of his journey from archetypal male warrior to a more surrendered path. You can connect with his work at www.soulshaping.com"