What's Wrong with the Standard Spiritual-Not-Religious movement Part 3: "Thoughts Create Reality"
WARNING: What follows is just my point of view. I share it in hopes of helping others like me who want an alternative to the typical standard spiritual-not-religious point of view. If you’re happily satisfied with those teachings, this might not be for you.
This is the last post in a 3-part series about ways I think the “standard spiritual-not-religious” movement gets it wrong.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The complete series of posts are:
Before we plow ahead, though, here’s the common ground: I believe in the beauty and value of sitting down at the table with many religions and traditions. In studying and living by underlying principles, rather than confining myself to one religion’s doctrine.
And I believe in standing up and speaking my truth.
So you be the judge and see if what I say rings true.
The SSNR Teaching
One of the biggest ideas promoted by The SSNR is the idea that your thoughts create reality.
Here's how the teaching goes.
Thoughts have creative power. Your thoughts are how you tell Spirit what you want. Your energy of enjoyment and your good feelings help your thoughts to attract whatever you focus on. And it is Spirit’s job and joy to bring it to you. Your thoughts create reality.
Students of The SSNR are encouraged to say affirmations and create vision boards as ways to focus their thought. There are varying techniques and teachings about how to hold, or focus; but the general teaching is that it’s all about using thought to create reality. And Spirit responds best to your feelings of enjoyment, grateful trust and simple receiving of Spirit’s gifts.
In this way of picturing reality, the Universe lies at your feet and life is one dream come true after another, if you only know how to use thought to make it so. Your spiritual life is a lot about directing Spirit’s loving power to move on your behalf.
It really is a beautiful, comforting way to see Spirit, actually. As the infinite giver of gifts and granted requests.
If we are the children of Spirit, we must also realize, and decide:
Do we want to remain children, or do we want to grow up?
Comfort and Challenge
A grown-up has a balanced personality.
They see value in being comforted, but they also seek out challenges.
They have confidence about their intrinsic worth AND they welcome the expectation placed on them to be productive members of their family and society.
It takes two kinds of attention from parents to raise this kind of balanced personality.
One kind of attention is the attention of comfort. The other is an attention that challenges.
The attention of comfort is represented by the Mother, or Feminine, energy.
And it is one way to view and relate to Spirit. A beautiful way.
Spirit as a nurturing, soothing presence that offers a soft place to land, no matter what.
The One who reminds you that you are alright and perfect just as you are.
The Fairy Godmother who materializes in your life, just to grant your wishes. She’s read your thoughts, and glides in with your special delivery.
You are blessed simply because you were lucky enough to be born her child.
She keeps you warm in the sanctuary of hearth and home.
Her motto is:
I do things out of affection and adoration. If you don’t love and enjoy something, just don’t do it.
It’s alright, and you’re alright.
Everyone gets a trophy.
And to be clear, I’m not talking about actual females here. I’m not saying females are like this or should be like this. At all. I’m not talking about the sexes as the sexes. (Actually, I'm not even talking about the sexes, I'm talking about gender, which is different. But anyway.) I’m using the sexes/genders as a metaphor for an energy, an attitude, a vibe. A quality of being and overall approach and value system. These energies can be found in anyone, man or woman, girl or boy.
So, we’ve just covered one energy or vibe: the Feminine vibe of comfort.
Now let’s look at the Masculine vibe, the idea of challenge.
We also need challenges to grow up with a balanced spirit.
Challenge is more Masculine than comfort.
Challenge can be seen as a demanding coach who tells you to quit your crying; get up and do it again!
Get out from under those apron strings. Get out there and give ‘em hell!
The domain of the Masculine is not the hearth and home, but the wild. The fields of battle, the field of the hunt, the proving ground.
In the world of the Masculine, you don’t get handed a trophy just because you showed up. You don’t get anything just because you want it or thought about it.
You have to pull your weight. You have to earn it.
The Masculine motto is:
I do things out of duty and allegiance. Honor, loyalty, fierce commitment. If you can’t handle that, you don’t belong here.
You don’t feel like doing something? It’s not enjoyable? Tough. You keep going because you have integrity.
This is the Mentor Spirit who drives you, pushes you, and trains you to be strong in mind, body, and spirit.
How The SSNR Gets It Wrong
The problem with the standard spiritual-not-religious teaching is that it portrays Spirit as if it were a Feminine-only parent. Spirit becomes a kind of infinite Mother with an endless supply of coddling.
This is why I say The SSNR is biased and unbalanced towards the Feminine.
In The SSNR, you’ll hear teachings like:
Everything in your life should be a joy and a pleasure and bring you delight. If you find that a certain thing no longer brings you pleasure, the right action to take at that point is, to stop doing it.
In this unbalanced view, Spirit is the power that gives you permission to ignore and run away from the difficulties of life.
That kind of unbalanced, sheltered childhood leaves you weakened, not strengthened. Like I wrote in Part 1, Life consists of the Unvolitional AND Volitional. You need to be prepared to handle BOTH to get along in this world.
The Alternative: Firekeepers
It’s about time we put on our big girl clothes and big boy pants and grow up.
What do you say?
Men and women together on the journey of life, cared for AND trained up, by Spirit.
How about it?
How about a culture and community that relates to Spirit not only as Great Nurturer but also as Great Initiator. The One who allows and even brings us challenges at times, to initiate us into greater strength and discipline, grit and resilience.
In this community, Spirit is multi-dimensional. It is a fierce champion trainer and a soothing, comforting counselor.
Personally, I’ve realized my heart needs and welcomes both.
You may or may not feel the same. I don’t know. I imagine since everybody’s different, that everybody’s needs are different along this spectrum, too. You might feel fine and complete without relating to Spirit in this more masculine way.
But if you are not...
If you sense the need for something more and step up to this call, I believe you’ll feel yourself growing more confident, better equipped to take on life, and walking an even more personal path with Spirit. After all, your relationship will grow deeper. Spirit will now be training you; and you will be on the journey as a student.
You’ll also be more focused on serving and coming through for others. Less self-centered. The joy and satisfaction you feel about your activities will be deeper than any surface pleasure brought by the actual task itself. Your life will broaden to make room for the masculine as well as feminine.