There’s a common fear, I think, when people start to delve into their spiritual selves, and that is the fear of looking stupid.
There are a few ways this fear shows up.
There’s the fear of looking weak. Religion/spirituality/this practice is for people who need a crutch to lean on.
– the fear of looking undiscerning. People who believe in the spiritual world are obviously unable to tell fact from fiction.
– the fear of looking vulnerable. You’re just trying to find meaning to fill a hole in your life. What’s wrong with you that you can’t be whole on your own?
As someone who’s pretty open with my spiritual life, let me tell you – I’ve heard them all. People absolutely do think those things about me. On my worst days it makes me feel like grabbing all my cynicism and building a nice big wall to live behind.
But there are two things you need to realize if you meet this kind of skepticism.
First, they don’t really know much more than you do. We’ve made a lot of progress in understanding our world these last hundred years. But it’s also taught us how much we don’t know, how much we can’t study because we don’t have the tools, how many things might be real but we can’t prove it yet.
(This is why science should be super exciting for the spiritual community – we’re all about strange things we can’t quite understand, and science pretty much covers that.)
Second, they’re always, always approaching you from a worldview of their own. Some people like to believe they’re unbiased, but there’s simply no such thing as an objective person. That would require being omnipotent.
In my communities, the Christians think my new age practices are stupid, the New Age people think my organized religion is stupid, and some in the feminist community think it’s all stupid, the whole need for spirituality.
And that is all ok. That’s their worldview. I just do what makes sense to me and realize they’re doing what makes sense to them. I don’t confuse their worldview with objectivity.
I guess the whole point of this is to tell you that everyone is trying to make sense of their experience here on earth. Everyone is searching for meaning, in their own way.
(Ok, or running from it, but those people need the most understanding of all.)
You cannot control how other people react to your spirituality, but you can extend grace to yourself and the people around you. You can honor the spiritual practices that give your life meaning. You can allow yourself the freedom to not get it right and change course.
Because I don’t think it’s stupid to search for spiritual meaning. I think it’s just part of being human.
Read the rest of the Success Is series here: