By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel
People who create things for a living often have something to represent; whether it’s a belief system, a new way of thinking, or something else they believe can change the world.
I listen to a lot of reggae music, for example, much of which is made by Rastafarians with a message to share. Sometimes the message is about Rastafarian philosophy, and sometimes it’s about freedom or rebellion against corruption. These musicians have something to say and a great outlet to get their message out.
This is one of many examples of creative minds on a mission to share their truth.
For many, a life of creative work and a message to share go together. Without a message, their work is missing something. These creative minds inspire me the most, because my work also relies on having something meaningful to share with you.
I used to have something to represent: a belief system known by many as the “New Age”.
I went to church as a kid but I was never religious. Interestingly, it was during a period of typical teenage rebellion that I discovered various concepts associated with the New Age movement.
Meditation and channeling were the concepts that stuck with me the most, to the extent that I became a “channeler” and started meditating every day. These two practices worked best when I did them together.
At this point, I transitioned from a kid who didn’t know or care much about spirituality to a kid who was suddenly interested in meditation, suddenly felt connected with nature, and was suddenly sent on a quest to answer life’s questions. This quest would ultimately take me within.
Not a Walk-In
Not shy about my new beliefs, I attributed this sudden shift to a “walk-in”. This is a New Age term to describe a spirit leaving the body to be replaced with the higher self or another advanced spirit.
Looking back, it’s clear this was erroneous and a little silly. I’m not saying the walk-in phenomenon isn’t real, but I am saying it didn’t happen to me. I was and still am nowhere near “advanced”, as I’m learning and evolving by the day.
Nevertheless, the speed with which I seemed to wake up convinced me something more mystical must have happened.
This might be true for others who’ve reported being a walk-in, but I experienced a simple spiritual awakening. I became aware of spirit and the potential for enlightenment, but I didn’t become enlightened.
The Problem with Enlightenment
Sometimes enlightenment is a problem in the spiritual community.
People use the word to describe various states of being; many of which don’t apply to actual enlightenment. Many have noted enlightenment is continuous, with more than one stage and thus more terms needed to properly describe each stage.
Some people who claim to be enlightened have yet to reach even the first stage.
This is because, as I did, a lot of people confuse spiritual awakening for enlightenment. As I mentioned, spiritual awakening makes you aware of all this awesome stuff. It does not carry you down your path and place you at your intended destination.
Missing the Mark
As the cliché goes, it’s not about the destination, but the journey. Spiritual awakening is the beginning of your journey. The hardest work has yet to come and shape you into what you’ll be by the time you’re ready for the first stage of enlightenment.
Despite this, some will claim to be enlightened after a spiritual awakening and argue on the internet with the so-called less enlightened. This is an example of someone who has yet to do the difficult inner work that leads to the state they believe they’ve achieved.
This higher state is beyond most people’s grasp, but some like to think they’ve captured it after reading a few books. This mindset misses the mark entirely.
After a lot of reflecting and meditating on what I was feeling, I decided to stop channeling and step back from the New Age movement as a way of life. I was channeling every day and had up to that point treated it like a full-on religion in the best and worst sense of the word.
On one hand, I worked harder and felt more inspired than ever. On the other, I let the spiritual ego get the best of me and started arguing with people who didn’t think like me.
Letting go of this nearly religious lifestyle left a void. Although I’d recently started writing, I had little to write about.
The Heart of Spirituality
This was when I discovered what lives at the heart of all religion and spirituality: love.
Everything good you hear about religion, like a pastor feeding the homeless or a church helping its community, is due to the love and compassion their faith inspires. Everything bad you hear about religion is due to the exact opposite: a lack of love and empathy.
Despite that there are good religious people in the world, religion is mainly about control. Most religions have lost the love their prophets taught, and thus, different religions with different gods fight. They have no love to give, so instead, they hate.
I Represent Love
Discovering that love is at the heart of each belief system, most of which have obviously been corrupted, helped me see that I don’t need a specific set of beliefs.
With love, compassion, and other divine qualities, I can walk my own unique path with respect for the paths of others. If their lifestyle is nonviolent, I have no problem respecting the way other people think and live.
I used to represent a belief system. Now, I represent love. I can say with certainty that it’s changed my life and provided what’s missing from belief systems. For me, love is the most worthwhile path into a higher consciousness.
From the heart, you’re free to live with no limits except those you create in your mind. Love gradually helps you break these barriers and connect with your true Self, but it’s up to you to do the work.
About the author:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run Openhearted Rebel, a daily news blog dedicated to igniting a revolution of love by raising social and spiritual awareness.
I also have a personal blog, Wes Annac’s Personal Blog, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).
I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.
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