MATEO SOL: “11 Traps That Sabotage Spiritual Growth”

“No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain.”

~Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

 

Spiritual growth is an experience we all go through once we have experienced the spiritual awakening process. As we begin to awaken to the truth of who we are, we develop a connection to our authentic essence, higher nature or Soul.

As we progressively advance on our paths, our spiritual essence begins to blossom like a luminous flower deep in our heart. And the more we clear away the dead, gnarled and overgrown beliefs, perspectives, and emotional baggage within us, the more clearly we feel our divine essence. When we maintain our inner garden, we feel more and more love, wisdom, peace, and wholeness as our True Nature is revealed slowly to us.

Yet, like any garden, our metaphorical inner landscapes can be consumed by weeds, plagues, and forms of pollution that strangle anything beautiful we have been nurturing. Sometimes, we even sabotage the growth occurring within us ourselves, without knowing it.

What is Spiritual Growth?

“This isn’t a journey about becoming something.  This is about unbecoming who we are not.”  

~Adyashanti, The End of Your World

 

Spiritual growth is the process of awakening to your true nature, purpose, and potential. When you undergo spiritual growth you experience an expansion in awareness and insight, also known as higher consciousness. All spiritual growth has one objective: to help you embody your Soul, Higher Self or Atman. Once you are able to unite with your Soul, you will experience what is understood as enlightenment, “heaven,” Oneness or moksha.

The problem with the spiritual journey is that it is often laden with traps of many kinds. These traps are not physical, but they are instead mental and are often referred to as anti-awakening forces.

As we process life primarily through the mind, we also tend to approach spirituality with the mind. The issue with this is that spirituality cannot be contained by the limitations of thought. Once spirituality is captured within a thought, it ceases to maintain its true essence and instead becomes a constricting belief or dogma. In other words, spirituality loses its alive, ever-flowing essence once it is compartmentalized within the mind.

Think about it this way: have you ever felt immense awe and wonder in the presence of something beautiful and enchanting like a sunrise? The moment you stop immersing yourself in the feeling of the sunrise, and start taking a photo of it or describing it in a text message, is the moment you are no longer truly present with the sunrise. Instead, you are filtering it through your thoughts or through a lens of some kind. The same can be said with spirituality.

The more we use the mind to approach our Soul, the further our Soul feels. But the moment we drop our thoughts and allow ourselves to purely feel our Soul, suddenly we feel at home once again. Think of it like this: when you chase the sun on the horizon thinking you will reach it, you never will, because it is an illusion. But when you stop and feel the sun’s presence shining on your skin already, you will no longer chase anything.

It is difficult for us, as mind-oriented beings, to become conscious of our thoughts, as we have been conditioned to identify with them since a young age. But once we can observe our thoughts and how they tend to sabotage our happiness, we will experience true spiritual growth.

11 Traps that Sabotage Spiritual Growth

Below I want to share with you eleven of the most common traps that we fall into on the spiritual path. I have personally experienced these pitfalls many times, and they have resulted in a lot of pain and struggle. See how many of these traps you can identify with:

1. The trap of spiritual bypassing

Spiritual bypassing is the practice of using spirituality to avoid, suppress or escape from certain emotions or situations in life. Common types of spiritual bypassing include:

  • numbing one’s emotions through “spiritualized” repression and avoidance
  • unhealthy obsession and attachment to the positive (e.g. positive thinking) and adopting a passive-aggressive “nice” mask
  • debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow self
  • anger-phobia
  • weak personal boundaries
  • blind or excessively tolerant compassion (to the detriment of oneself and the other)
  • forcefully trying to “kill” the ego and condemning it as “bad/evil”
  • exaggerated detachment
  • getting stuck in theoretical spirituality and dogmatic beliefs about “truth”
  • denial of self-responsibility by placing it on another higher being (e.g. spirit guide, angel)
  • delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being
  • using spiritual practices to escape unpleasant emotions; for example, using meditation to dissociate from emotions, rather than transmute them

2. The trap of superiority

This manifests as the tendency to “look down” upon others who are not as “consciously advanced” or “awakened.” The trap of superiority can be seen as a subtle feeling of “being better” than others who aren’t “spiritual.” In more extreme cases, this trap can appear as the tendency to lash out at people who are still “asleep,” “blind” or “sheep” of society. This kind of reactive behavior can often be seen in people who have just “woken up” to the state of the world, yet have undergone minimal spiritual growth. We need to remember that everyone is doing the best they can at their level of consciousness. When the time comes, they will awaken too.

3. The trap of forcefully trying to wake others up

Once we have awoken out of the “matrix” it is common for us to desperately want our loved ones and fellow peers to awaken. We can see how much pain and delusion other people are in, and that riles up in us the intense desire to “show them the truth.” However, often our attempt to forcefully awaken people misfires quickly. Even though we have good intentions, our desire to “save” others causes them to backlash in ways that infuriate both them and us. The less responsive they are to our pushy attempts to “wake them up,” the more frustrated and alienated we become. Eventually, trying to force others to wake up ends up harming both ourselves and others. Not only that, but this trap generates a lot of anger and misunderstanding, which results in further ego ensnarement, sabotaging our spiritual growth. Let people wake up when they are ready.

4. The trap of wanting to help others

This trap is closely entwined with the previous trap except it is more geared towards giving others advice. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help others, as long as you respect their boundaries. But sometimes developing an expanded spiritual perspective gives the ego an opportunity to feel more “knowledgeable” than others still trapped in illusion. When unsolicited advice is given to others, the results can be disastrous (think anger, upset, offense etc.).

Wanting to help others can also be used as a way of escaping our need to help ourselves. Under the guise of being “spiritual” and compassionate, helping others can be just another form of spiritual bypassing.

5. The trap of wanting to revolutionize the world

Once we wake up to the lies and corruption present in our current societal structure, many of us want to desperately change society. We fall into the trap of thinking that freedom, honesty, and justice can be created by changing the external system. As a result, we buy into the “us versus them” and “divide and conquer” mentality that is a product of the ego’s tunnel vision. We don’t realize that we’re actually fuelling the corrupt system which depends on anger and chaos to thrive and survive. Instead of understanding that all true change comes from an internal revolution, we get caught up in the pursuit of external revolution which is fragile and transient.

6. The trap of meaninglessness

Once we experience divine and transcendent states of being in which we become One with all, we can fall into the trap of spiritual nihilism after the experience passes. In other words, once we realize, from the perspective of the Universe, that nothing we do ultimately matters because all is passing, we can fall into a depressive mindset. Using truths such as “All is an illusion,” the person who falls for this trap tends to filter life through the mind. By mentally clinging to these truths, they become beliefs that the ego uses as an excuse to paradoxically feel separate from existence.

7. The trap of avoiding everyday responsibilities

Some people get so infatuated with the spiritual path that they avoid dealing with ordinary, everyday affairs. This form of escapism can lead to leeching off others, not paying bills, evading taxes, obsessing with “living off the grid,” etc. When avoiding everyday responsibilities is worn as a badge of being consciously elevated or “more spiritual” this too is a form of egotism in disguise. Avoiding ordinary responsibilities which are not perceived as being “spiritual enough” can also be a form of distraction that the ego uses to limit spiritual growth. The more concerned and obsessed you are with living an outwardly “spiritual” looking life, the more distanced from your inner work you become. Sometimes we need to feed the sharks to keep the calm and live balanced lives.

Remember the old Zen saying: “Before Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” We need to be humble and recognize that ordinary daily life is the perfect place to spiritually grow and mature.

8. The trap of self-victimization

Soon after we experience a spiritual awakening and wake up to the insanity of the world, it is common for us to get stuck in self-victimization. We may start to perceive the world as a “prison” and other people as the “captives” or even “capturers.” The shock of awakening may send us spiraling into anxiety and paranoia. Inevitably, we may start feeling like victims resulting in us blaming other people and the higher powers for how we feel. The spiritual trap of self-victimization can be seen a lot on social media which often tends to become a pity party for spiritual fledglings. At the end of the day, we need to see that it is actually our thoughts that cause us to suffer, not other people or situations. Once we can take self-responsibility for our perspectives and beliefs, we can become empowered once again.

9. The trap of the Savior Complex

This trap is related to the previously mentioned trap of wanting to help others. The Savior Complex is adopted by people who feel a sense of superiority to the rest of humanity. Their sense of being “different” and more “spiritually elevated” can make them feel as though they are destined to fix the world. The Savior Complex can most often be seen within the “lightworker/Starseed/healer” circles who tend to put themselves up on pedestals, believing it is their cosmic duty to “save the planet.” This perception aligns with the belief that there is something “wrong” with reality and that other people are “broken” and need to be fixed (which is an ego perspective). This perception also reinforces the ego’s sense of “specialness” and self-importance.

The Savior Complex can go one step further and evolve into a Martyr Complex. Martyrs believe they must “bear the burdens” of others. Obviously, this is an extremely unhealthy way of living which is based on Christian conditioning (think of the story of Jesus). By “carrying” other people’s pain, Martyrs bypass taking responsibility for their own happiness and enable other people’s immature behavior. Read more about the Martyr Complex.

10. The trap of attachment

After experiencing profound and expansive mystical experiences which often come after significant spiritual growth, it is common for us to attach to the experience. It can be painful to come down from these experiences and return back to usual, unenlightened reality. We can also attach to our “stories” and beliefs about spirituality. Because the mind tries to make sense of this transcendent experience, it will often latch onto various ideas as a form of control. But the more we attach to our beliefs, stories, desires, and mental interpretations, the more we suffer. We forget that everything passes, even transcendent experiences. Enlightenment isn’t a destination, it is a complete surrender; a fundamental shift in the way we approach life.

Attachment is perhaps the most common trap that sabotages our spiritual growth. On one hand, attachment to ideas helps us to grow, but ultimately, those ideas that we are unwilling to let go of end up stagnating our growth. When ideas become protection blankets rather than catalysts for our growth, there is a big problem. We need to realize that freedom cannot be experienced through the mind. Freedom is felt when we can be liberated from attachment to our thoughts.

11. The trap of relying on external answers

As we progress through our spiritual paths it is normal, and beneficial, for us to seek out external support. Reading books, attending workshops and seminars, going to retreats, practicing holistic techniques, and getting a personal guru all help us experience spiritual growth. However, after a while, it is common for us to become too dependent on external answers for our freedom and happiness. This pitfall can be seen in many spiritual seeker’s obsession and glorification of their gurus (in other words, projecting and disowning their divinity onto another).

Eventually, as we become accustomed to constantly searching outside of ourselves for answers, we forget the presence of our own Souls. We forget that our ultimate source of guidance and wisdom comes from within us, and instead, we keep chasing things outside of ourselves that we believe will “enlighten” us.

We need to stop, pause, and reflect on our spiritual journeys. Are we seeking out first-hand experience or second-hand experience given to us by others? Don’t forget to look within for your answers as well because it is by connecting with your Soul that you will ultimately experience freedom.

Final Thoughts

In order to see through and extricate ourselves from these traps, we need to be radically honest with ourselves. We need to be willing to see that we have indeed gone astray and have fed into the ego. We will also immensely benefit from exploring our Shadow Selves and exploring our mistaken beliefs.

Don’t worry if you have fallen into any of these traps. We all become ensnared by the ego. It can be particularly difficult for us to see clearly when the ego “spiritualizes” certain beliefs and ideas. The more open, humble, and honest you are, the more you will be able to see through these tricks and liberate yourself.

Finally, don’t be afraid of the dark. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. Everything, no matter how painful, is a learning opportunity. At the end of the day, your Soul is everything you have been searching for.

If you have any extra thoughts or insights about traps that sabotage spiritual growth, please share below. I would also love to hear your own journey.

 

~via WakeUp-World.com

KARA SCHALLOCK: “More…”

Do you perceive Beauty everywhere?  Do you see it even when the intellect says it’s ugly?  Do you perceive a difference between you and those you judge to be “less than” like so-called immigrants, those you judge that linger in 3D (according to you), folks who hurt others?  Or do you perceive a difference between you and those you deem “more than?”  Remember, we are all One.  You are connected with everyone and everything.  There is no “us and them” in the New.  You may observe some doing things you wouldn’t choose to do.  Can you see that perhaps the “others” help you transform all lower energies (and integrate higher energies) in yourself?  Can you see the Love within all that reflects the Love that you are?  If so, you indeed are firmly in the New.  If not, perhaps there’s more work to do.  You can love all and yet choose not to be in relationship with those who vibrate differently than yourself.

There is and has been an expansion of your Heart and Crown chakras.  This expansion helps you be more accepting and compassionate.  Be aware of how you feel moment to moment.  One minute you seem to be flowing in expansion and the next minute not feeling as though anything has shifted.  This fluctuation is how it is for most as we continue to detach from 3D and embrace the New.  Some physical manifestations you may experience as expansion occurs are tingling (especially in or on the head and in and around the Heart).

You may feel dizzy as well, yet notice the choices you are making; notice how you are expanding; especially in your thoughts and actions.  Notice how fearless you are.  Be aware too that if it seems things happen to you, like others not choosing to be around you or being fired from a job or not having enough money, that it still is your choice… whether it’s a conscious one or not. Remember you attract to you what is within your consciousness.  Breathe, flow and ground.  Take care of yourself.  What life do you choose to create?  The energies that integrate within you help you create your ideal life (based on how you want to feel) without chaos or confusion.

As the energy continuously builds, remind yourself that you are not alone, even though many are on different paths and going at different speeds.  Some may feel exhilerated, while others are anxious and angry.  I notice that the ones I truly feel connected with are children, while some adults in my life seem belligerent. (Hmmm; do I have both energies within me?)

Engage where and when you can as you are called to and let the rest go, for each being must choose for themselves.  You need not become definsive or match others’ vibration or take anything personally.  Stand in your own Truth and honor others for wherever they may be.

Never doubt that all we’ve been doing is merging with our Soul/GodSelf/Divinity.  This is our True Self.  Being fully immersed as our True Self, there is no more seeking outside of ourselves; actually, there is no seeking at all; there is only a Knowing.  This immersion is more than being “spiritual”; this is true being. How do we do this?  First, we must release and transform all old patterns, emotions and beliefs, along with anything that limits or holds us back in duality.  When we clear all of the old, we experience true self-worth.  We experience true Wholeness; not just in one moment, but in every moment; this is being authentic.  We truly know that we are One with all of life; we are Source.

Generally speaking, the phase we are in now, if you’re ready and committed, is to practice; putting all you know into action everyday and in every moment… walking your talk.  It is not enough to read others’ words only; it is essential to put words into action, to be what you say you are.  Work for all; be in Divine Service.  When we serve all, we serve ourselves and most importantly, we serve Divine Will.  Isn’t that one of the main reasons of why we’re on Earth at this time?  We each have a path; a mission; it is based on our gifts and where we are drawn.  When you are Joy, you trust, you love, you serve.  You are free.

Meanwhile, continue to release and trust your process.  Allow yourself to not be comfortable, for the New is not comfortable.  Trust that all is in Divine Order.  You may want your loved ones to join you, yet trust they have their own path, so honor them.  Attempting to change others is of the old and it not only distracts you, but pushes them further away.

Trust that as you become somewhat comfortable in one phase of your Journey, another arrives.  It is so very important to take care of yourself through diet, rest and being still.  Only you know what is self-loving for you.  Fill your own cup first and then you will be able to serve others unconditionally.

In my own life, I see so much has shifted. People I was once close with have distanced themselves.  My diet has shifted, as have so much in my life.  The biggest shift is that I am extremely aware of not only where I resist, but where others resist as well.  I notice old longings surface and I see where I am; whether it’s here, there, nowhere and everywhere.  I know many of you can relate to this ebb and flow of life.

Each of us has a calling.  No one calling is better or worse than another.  Each is an aspect of Divine Service; be it healing, collecting refuse, nursing, teaching or simply being Love without a career of any kind.  Sometimes you’re called to be somewhere.  When you arrive, you may not resonate with the place at all.  However, there are no mistakes.  Some years ago, I was called to Idaho.  I had never even heard of it before and when I arrived I uttered, “Uh-oh!”  Idaho has never felt like home to me and yet I am here; I’m here for a purpose.  It’s not necessary to know what that purpose is and you don’t need to know the whys of where you are either.  The main thing to do is to say Yes.  We share our Light no matter where we are or what we do.

Each of us is unique; what works for one may not work for another.  This is why it’s essential to follow one’s own guidance.  We integrate Light and release all uniquely.  Realize too that much occurs without us consciously willing it to be so.  We can observe the changes and I do love this, as when the changes bypass the separate ego, they cannot be interfered with.  However, we on a deeper level choose everything; consciously or not.  When we give our Power away to others, we stop our own Transformation, for others cannot truly know what is best for us.  This allows us to take full Responsbility for our own Transformation.  What helps this is to fully merge with our Souls and then step out of the way.  Instead, we follow our guidance, even when it makes no sense.  While we surrender to the unconscious aspect of evolution, we still must act in a way that goes beyond the separate ego; the patterns we have anchored that are of the old.

To integrate the higher frequencies that bring healing and wholing to our cells and DNA, we must do the clearing work.  Some happens spontanously; with others we consciously choose to shift.  Whether we integrate unconsciously or consciously, we may experience many physical sensations such as electrical currents in different parts of our body, weight fluxes, sleep disturbances, headaches, blurry eyes (or as if there is something irritating in the eye), shifts in elimination and all sorts of things not mentioned here.  When in doubt, ask your body and your guidance to see if it’s related to Ascension or not (it usually is!).

Be aware that your Sensitivity is expanding and upgrading.  This includes more acute hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling and more.  Certain situations may be irritating.  If you feel overloaded by stimuli, rest or step away.  If you take things personally, realize this is not true Sensitivity; it’s separate ego-sensitivity.  It also means that you may still be attached to what others think of you.  Let this go so you may experience true Sensitivity.

Are you ready to move onto new phases of Discovery?  Are you committed to your Ascension and evolving into being New; brand New?  Are you still teetering on the edge, not sure if you want to jump?  Wherever you are is fine.  Trust yourself and follow your guidance/Intuition.

 

 

~via SoulsticeRising.com