You Don’t Need Permission To Be Spiritual

Spirituality. Religion. Bible. God. Prayer. Communion. Jesus. Soul. Christian. I’d keep going, but I’m making the assumption one of these words already triggered you. One of the challenges I have today is trying to figure out how to talk about the thing without using words related to the thing. It’s like playing a game of taboo, except that the card’s list of words doesn’t stop growing. It’s important to start with the reason. Why talk about spir#$%&lity now?

There isn’t a better time than today to have these conversations with ourselves and the world. To explore the unknown, with permission to release the childhood entanglements we have. For years, I ignored the possibility of a greater being. Proudly calling myself agnostic, it was a little safer than the other ‘a’ word. Religion and spirituality can be especially sensitive areas to put a magnifying glass to.

One of the most powerful pieces of research Dr. Brené Brown discusses is one that centers on how each of us carries scars around our creativity, lovability and divinity. Whether you grew up as a regular in your house of worship or you never heard any of the above trigger words uttered in your home, an imprint has been left. Until two years ago, I felt most of my life was just a series of experiences I haphazardly fell into. My journey into divinity was one of the first moments that felt truly, well, divine. I had started to reach a point where I knew some of my challenges in life were bigger than me, so I asked whatever is out there for help. And help quickly came.

What I recognized (that Gary Zukav beautifully describes in his bestseller, The Seat of the Soul) was that I had been living a five-sensory experience. I’d been dodging the potential for anything outside of my five senses to exist. It was safe there. A mix of fear of no longer being accepted and stepping into this new identity kept me quietly squeezed into an old version of myself. But when was the last time you talked to a caterpillar who was afraid to transform?

Here are a few ways to powerfully allow yourself to “come out” spiritually:

1. Call it whatever you want. The Universe or the Great Beyond or God or Divine Intelligence or whatever the ‘f’ you want to call it. Meditation or quiet time or deep breathing. Soul or higher self or “the core of me” or heart. The Universe or God is not a giant man out there watching over us. It’s everywhere and it’s beyond our imagination. I promise, it doesn’t care what you call it or your practices to connect with it.

2. Write yourself a permission slip to simply believe. Another Brené Brown strategy I adore! Sometimes, you just need to give yourself permission. Write it on a post-it. The little-known secret is the second you give it to yourself and speak your truth, you’ll give it to others. They’re waiting for permission too.

3. Commit to no specific religion or path (unless you choose to). What if the Universe never meant for us to sign up for one set of words written by humans? Isn’t that what most religions are? Allow yourself to flow with spiritual curiosity. Keep what sits strangely well in your heart. Keep what makes your eyes well up with a deep knowing. Leave the rest.

After all, what is faith or belief if not a commitment to what you cannot see or prove? We are all yearning to express that faith, to look beyond ourselves and know in our core that there is more. But our divinity scars can keep us paralyzed. What if you had permission to release them?

About the author

Intellectually and spiritually curious human. Writer, podcast host.

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