ALETHEIA LUNA: “Being Spiritual Doesn’t Mean Sh*t If You Can’t Hold Space for Others”

“If we ever hope to grow at a deep level and feel authentically connected to others, we need to learn how to hold space for both ourselves and others.”

~Aletheia Luna

 

So, here’s the thing. We might do Instagram-perfect yoga. We might meditate for at least an hour a day. We might pray. Say mantras. Do mudras. Send love to the world. We might have a hoard of crystals and other spiritual trinkets. We might do elaborate daily rituals, eat a cruelty-free whole food diet, and fast every month. We might burn incense, smile all day, say affirmations, and say “love and light” or “namaste” a lot. We might call ourselves spiritual seekers, healers, empaths, intuitives, old souls, or yogis.

But in my humble opinion, all of this doesn’t mean sh*t if we can’t show compassion and be there for others.

The Hypocrisy of Saccharine Spirituality

Firstly, I want to start by saying that I am by no means innocent. I have judged others before, turned a blind eye, shown unkindness, and committed spiritual bypassing — all while under the self-designated label of being “spiritual.”

I think to some extent, we all have. That is why I feel that the topic of this article is so important to cover — hypocrisy is something that we’re all capable of. The tendency is latent within each and every one of us. And I think we all need to understand and work to be aware of that.

But there are some things in life that tend to trigger, bring out, and exacerbate this hypocrisy. In this case, I am referring to a certain popular variety of spirituality. I call it Saccharine Spirituality — and it is a type of spirituality that is defined by a sickly sweet emphasis on “good vibes only” and “love and light” without much depth or real-life rawness.

Saccharine spirituality is the type of spirituality out there that involves worshiping the “feel-good” and “high vibe,” but actively avoids, denies, or shuns anything negative and uncomfortable. Saccharine spirituality is all about feeling empowered, developing self-love, and celebrating forms of spirituality that look good on the surface — but at the same time, it produces a phobia of anything too real, too emotionally challenging, too blood-and-dirt, too “unawakened” or “low vibe.”

And it doesn’t take much to see that saccharine spirituality is alive and thriving more than ever. We can literally see it everywhere: on social media, in real life, and in all spiritual and religious spheres.

I first witnessed saccharine spirituality growing up in the Christian church I was raised in. I remember how the church abandoned, passively shunned, and ignored one of the women who had been attending the church for 20+ years. This woman’s husband had been prosecuted for child molestation and was going to prison. I was the only one who spoke to this gentle soul, despite the fact that we were all supposed to be “brothers and sisters in Christ.”

I now witness this type of abandonment and hypocrisy in the spiritual realm.

I hear and witness self-described sensitive “empaths” show an extraordinary lack of empathy and self-entitled judgment towards others.

I watch “old souls” tear each other apart like animals.

I see spiritual seekers ostracize and react harshly to any person who thinks critically.

I look on as “healers” rush to fix, ignore, predict, or diagnose the suffering of others.

I watch as “psychics/mystics/witches/yogis” (*insert spiritual label here*) love talking and posting about themselves, but ignore meeting others on a deep level.

I’m sorry. I don’t care if you’re a talented healer or psychic. I’m not interested in whether you’re a self-identified empath or spiritual seeker. I don’t want to hear about how much mystical power or intuitive prowess you have. Being spiritual doesn’t mean sh*t if you can’t hold space for people.

What Does Holding Space Mean?

Holding space is very simple. It means being completely present with another person. Holding space means giving another the opportunity to be completely heard, seen, and understood. I’m not talking about trying to fix, give advice to, or pathologize the other person — when I say holding space, I mean it in the most simple way possible: just being 100% there for the person, without trying to change or force advice onto them.

To witness another person and be completely receptive to what they have to share is scarcely practiced. How often have you felt deeply heard, seen, and understood by another? How often has someone sat down with you and genuinely asked: “Hey, share with me how you feel” and held space for all your joy or sorrow? If you’re like most people: pretty rarely.

It’s no wonder that most of us are so emotionally starved. It’s no wonder that most of us are so desperate to be seen.

In a world full of stress, incessant business, emotional isolation, and self-absorption, holding space for someone is the most precious gift you can give. That is why I say that being spiritual doesn’t mean shit without this one important practice. Who cares if you possess extrasensory gifts or can meditate for six hours straight? Who cares if you have deep self-knowledge or can enter alternate planes of consciousness at will?

If you can’t bring those skills into your life in a down-to-earth way, they mean nothing.

If you can’t practically apply them in the blood-and-grit of daily life, they mean nothing.

If you can’t connect or show kindness to others, they mean nothing.

If you can’t sit down with a person and ask “Hi. How are you really?” and actually listen wholeheartedly, don’t even bother.

In the end, if your brand of spirituality encourages self-absorption and a superficial feel-good denial of other’s pain, it’s a waste of time.

“Your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, your longings, your fearful thoughts: they are not mistakes, and they are not asking to be ‘healed.’ They are asking to be held.” ~Jeff Foster

 

How to Hold Space for People

Holding space is about giving space.

Too often we jump to the part where we want to fix, instruct, or heal the person — or even worse, hog the conversation, talk about ourselves, and “one-up” the other person’s pain. But the truth is, most people (including ourselves) are just looking for a person who will sit with them in all of their joy or misery, and BE.

Mindful presence is the core of what holding space means. In other words, holding space means that we simply sit with a person and give them our undivided attention in the spirit of kindness.

“Undivided attention!?” you may think, “I don’t have the energy to do that!” Don’t worry. I realize that holding space for others isn’t always possible. You’re not alone. If you’re anything like me, your energy reserves are very limited. So it’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to always hold space for others, especially when we are tired, stressed, or sick. In which case, don’t be a martyr. Take care of yourself. Have a break. Step away. Have a nap. Top up your energy reservoir.

But if you’re still struggling to hold space for others, there might be a deeper underlying issue that you need to work through.

For example, do you often feel yourself talking over or interrupting others? Do most of your conversations center around your issues, thoughts, and feelings? Do you feel uncomfortable when others get too emotional? Do you find deep topics of conversation unsettling? These are all signs that you aren’t holding space for yourself. In such a case… how can you hold space for others when you aren’t holding space for yourself?

If we ever hope to grow at a deep level and feel authentically connected to others, we need to learn how to hold space for both ourselves and others.

Here’s how to do that.

Holding space for ourselves and others:

1. Mindfully tune into yourself

How can you become receptive and open to others without doing the same for yourself? Tuning into your thoughts and feelings is a practice called mindfulness. It requires you to become curious about what is going on inside of you. And to do that, you’ll need to slow down and breathe a little. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling at the moment?” “What type of thoughts/stories are running through my head?” Also be attentive to your body and notice whatever sensation, ache, or pain you feel. Simply note how you feel and move on with your day. If you need help doing this, I highly recommend that you use an app I use called ‘Calm’ — it will motivate you to develop mindfulness as a skill.

2. Be transparent with yourself

Express how you feel in an authentic way. Allow yourself to be seen by yourself. To do this, find a notebook or journal that you can dedicate to your thoughts and feelings. Journaling every day about what is worrying or concerning you will create more clarity in your life. Not only that but when you make this therapeutic tool a habit, you will feel more emotionally balanced and capable of truly holding space for others.

3. Release pent-up emotions

Don’t allow your emotions to build up inside of you. Find healthy outlets to express them such as through artwork, intense exercise, catharsis, or simply having a good cry. When we are motivated to “help” others out of the need to relieve our own internal discomfort, we’re not being kind. We’re not being empathetic. We’re just not. Instead, we are using others as a way to feel better about ourselves. Finding a safe form of catharsis will allow you to be calm and centered enough to show compassionate attentiveness to yourself and others.

4. Learn to listen more than talk

Master the art of listening. If you are a person who is used to chattering away, experiment with being quiet and allowing others to talk. How do you feel when you don’t talk so much? You might feel a sense of relief, or alternatively, you might feel unseen or ignored. Journal about these feelings. If you feel uncomfortable with allowing others to speak more than you, ask yourself “why?” In what ways are you depending on others to be seen and understood, rather than yourself? Practicing active listening involves making eye contact, letting others speak uninterrupted, indicating that you understand what the person is saying, and listening without judgment.

5. Let your mind be like water

Listen to other people without forming responses in your mind. How often has someone shared something interesting, and you miss the rest of what they say because you’re too busy constructing a clever/insightful reply? It’s tempting to fill the spaces in conversations with thoughts. After all, our minds think around 800 words per minute, compared to 125-150 words we speak per minute. But experiment with listening wholeheartedly to what a person says. If thoughts come into your mind, gently refocus your mind on what the person is saying. Then, after the person has stopped talking, give yourself a few seconds to gather thoughts, then respond. I promise that your response will be much more engaging and interesting to the other person because you have gathered all the nuances and details (instead of prematurely forming a response).

6. Let compassion guide you

The purpose of holding space for another isn’t to be a saint. It isn’t to be a martyr. It is to be entertained or to get karmic brownie points. To hold space for a person is an act of compassion, an expression of love for another human being. It not only makes you feel good, but it also makes the other person feel seen, heard, and understood. What could be more precious than that?

7. Practice with a friend or family member

An easy way to practice holding space is to schedule time every week with someone close to you, and to exchange mindful presence with each other. Notice how it feels to be completely received by another person. Imagine giving that to others on a regular basis!

8. Know your limits and take self-responsibility

Are you tired, cranky, overwhelmed, or otherwise incapable of holding space for another? Relax. It’s normal and 100% fine to feel that way. But make sure that you take responsibility for how you feel.

Final Thoughts

Holding space for others doesn’t mean that you have to be a pushover, doormat, or unnecessarily submissive person. Sometimes you will need to hold space for yourself more than others. Sometimes you will enter long periods of life where you are incapable of being present with others. That is normal. Not all of us can be Eckhart Tolle 24/7. So do the compassionate thing and draw a line. Learn to say a gentle no to others and be OK with it. If someone is becoming overly clingy or needy, be assertive, draw clear boundaries, and step away in a firm but caring manner. It is OK to be selective about who you hold space for, particularly if you dislike the person and struggle to stay present with them. (Hey, we’re all human!)

You might also be short on time, but still wish to hold space for another. In this case, explain to the other that you only have a couple of minutes to spare, or set another date and time to catch up.

Remember, holding space needs to come out of a place of compassion and the desire to help others be seen, heard, and understood. If you are doing it out of obligation, pressure, or duty, take a step back. Change course. Do something else.

The most important ingredient for holding space for another is the ability to hold space for yourself. By genuinely taking the time to wholeheartedly listen to your inner thoughts and feelings, you will be better equipped to show the same to others.

Spirituality is not just about learning to love ourselves. It is also about learning to extend that love and care to others in a down-to-earth way. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is by simply listening to others. You don’t need to always give them pep talks. You don’t need to always rush to prescribe a solution to their problems. Often, what people need the most is just a person who is receptive enough to simply listen without judgment.

To be completely seen, heard, and understood in the presence of another living soul is one of the most healing forces in the world. I hope you take the time to share this gift with others.

 

~via LonerWolf.com

NEZEL PADAYHAG: “6 Ways To Tap Into Your Heart’s Intelligence And Wisdom”

In life, you may have certainly been in a situation where you need to decide between the contradictory opinions of your heart and your mind.

Things become more difficult when people remind you that your head is where your brain is because it’s higher. Though your heart is protesting, you follow what looks logical and correct.

For decisions involving the most correct choice, like whether or not you should dump a narcissist partner, it’s only wiser to decide with the mind.

However, the function of your heart goes far beyond supporting life.

The heart is also an intelligent organ that interferes with your decision making process, the reason why it wants to be given due consideration at times.

How To Tap Into Your Heart’s Intelligence And Wisdom:

The heart as Hridaya

Researcher Gregg Braden has dug into the ancient technique of using the heart as an intelligent organ.

The functions of the heart go far beyond supporting life and sending blood all throughout the body. It has a wisdom that’s not influenced by the ego.

As such, it gives you information from a neutral place. Your heart knows your past, present, and future. Since it does not have any egoic tendencies, it always has your best interest at heart.

The Sanskrit word Hridaya, which comes from ‘Hrid’ meaning ‘center’, and ‘Ayam’ meaning ‘this’, describes the heart’s intellect as the energy that is contained within the heart chakra.

More than a physical heart, it also is a spiritual heart that contains the intelligence of God or the transcendental mind.

This spiritual heart sees to it that you perceive things from your center and not stray away from your Highest Self.

The yogi Bhagavan describes the heart center as a seat of Pure Consciousness, realized Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss.

The mind of your brain operates from your past experiences and past erroneous beliefs assigned to those experiences. In short, it creates false perceptions just to arrive what for you is the ‘right’ answer, even topping those false concepts with emotional investment.

The Heart’s Neurobiology

The neurobiology of the heart has these significant points:

– The heart has more fibers leading to the brain than from the brain to the heart, making more communication to take place in the heart.

– The heart of an unborn fetus beats before the brain has been formed. And humans form an emotional brain before a rational one.

– The heart has an independent complex nervous system known as the ‘brain of the heart.’

– The heart can create coherence in the body through its rhythm.

– The heart’s electromagnetic field is greater than that of the brain, which can be detected several feet away.

– The heart has wisdom.

The wisdom of the heart is what provides us with clear decisions that are being governed by our highest self. Gregg Braden suggests the following tips to tap into the heart’s intelligence.

6 Tips On Tapping Into The Heart’s Intelligence

1. Focus on your heart with the intention of seeking its intelligence.

2. Breathe slowly to calm your nerves and silence your brain.

3. Have a deep sense of gratitude, compassion, and love to activate the heart’s energy.

4. Ask a brief and accurate question to your heart.

5. Notice the different feelings or bodily sensations.

6. Keep this practice regularly.

The heart’s intelligence is subjective and wouldn’t be the same for everyone. You may feel butterflies in the gut, a warm sensation throughout your body, or tingling in the fingertips. Or, you might even receive a clear, short and kind answer in your mind.

Establishing this deeper connection with your heart takes time. Persist with the practice and listen to your heart more.

There’s no reward as great as listening to your heart that’s leading you to your purpose.

 

~via LifeCoachCode.com

DEJAN DAVCEVSKI: “This July Rant From The Heart — Get Up, Brush Off, Look Straight, Love Stronger…”

Every person, once they take a glimpse of their purpose, once their heart fills up with joy, motivation and excitement, thinks they can tackle anything on their way.

But as you start following your purpose, the joy, motivation and excitement slowly fade away because that’s normal for emotions. The path gets harder. You start facing obstacles.

Suddenly the people around you, people you love and care about turn against you. Some friends might even ridicule you. Others might think you are crazy.

Many people judge you, they question your sanity, you might even question your own sanity. False opportunities open up, distractions multiply.

Suddenly it seems that everyone around you is having more fun than ever but you have to follow your purpose.

You have to do things that bring you closer to your dream.

And let’s be clear, most of the things you need to do are not fun at all. They are mundane tasks that are necessary.

You might even doubt if it’s worth it.

And as you doubt there will be just enough push from The Universe and signs around you to remind you why you fo what you do.

And you will have just enough will to continue, if you choose to. And as you continue, more obstacles will come.

There will be moments all you want is to just take a breath, to pause for a second, but in those moments problems will arise. They will try to kick you when you are down.

And if you quit, you will be relieved for a day. But the next day you will do anything to not have quit.

Because when we are tired we want to rest, when we are cold we want to be hot, when we are thirsty all we want is to drink something.

But if we drink something unhealthy, at first we will feel better, but later we will regret. We regret it because it’s not what we really wanted.

It’s because our mind knows what you want momentarily, but if you listen to your heart it knows what you really want. And sometimes, what you really want will not be comfortable.

So as you follow your purpose, and as these obstacles start ganging up on you, beating you down, do not quit.

Take the beating, get up, brush up.

Look at them, look at them straight at their eyes, smile and keep doing what you did.

You will get closer to your dream, and then problems will arise again. And they will still try to beat you up.

But again, get up.

Brush up.

Look at them straight.

Smile and keep going even harder at tackling your dream.

People will judge, problems and obstacles will arise, distractions will show, you will doubt yourself, you will feel confused, you’ll be tired.

But if you don’t quit everything will pass.

As these things try to knock you down, they might sometimes succeed. But it’s ok. It’s not about who is stronger, it’s about who is more persistent.

Get up, brush off, look straight, and love even stronger!

And there will come a moment when these things cannot even hurt you anymore because their beating has made you stronger.

And you’ll thank them as you make your beautiful dream a reality and follow your purpose.

 

 

~via LifeCoachCode.com