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Heart Sutra: Hidden Meaning Of the Sacred Text

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Heart Sutra, also known as The Essence of Wisdom is a popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. Recited daily by many Buddhist practitioners, this is the shortest of the Perfection of Wisdom texts. Heart Sutra practice opens the connection between the understanding of emptiness and the five stages of the path to enlightenment. In this article, we will share with you this beautiful sutra and its hidden meaning.

The Essence of The Heart Sutra

The Sutra basically describes the teachings of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who in this context represents the virtue of wisdom.

Avalokiteshvara refers to Shariputra, who in the Sutra represents the early Buddhist school of “perfect wisdom”. The bodhisattva especially emphasizes that “form is emptiness, and emptiness is form” and declares the skandhas to be equally empty.

After this, Avalokiteshvara talks about some of the most important Buddhist dogmas and explains that they are simple explanations of reality, but not reality itself, and therefore are not truth in the highest sense of this concept. In other words, a Buddhist cannot rely on words or traditional dogmas of teaching. The bodhisattva, as an archetypal Buddhist, relies on the perfection of wisdom, which perceives things as they really are, that is, perceives reality directly.

This perfect wisdom is centered in the mantra of the heart Sutra, also called Mahamantra:

गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा

GATE GATE PARA GATE PARA SAM GATE BODHI SVAHA

Which can be translated as “gone, gone, everyone gone to the other shore, awakening, svaha“.

Which means complete liberation from illusions and welcomes enlightenment.

The peculiarity of this Sutra is that the teaching does not come from the mouth of the Buddha himself (which is traditional for all sutras); instead, the Buddha only confirms the correctness of Sri Avalokitesvara’s conclusions regarding Prajnaparamita.

The Translation of the Heart Sutra

Heart Sutra Image

There are multiple translations of the Heart sutra. Here is the most common version.

Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering.  Answering the monk Sariputra, he said this:

Body is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body.
The body is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body.

The other four aspects of human existence —
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness —
are likewise nothing more than emptiness,
and emptiness nothing more than they.

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases.

So, in emptiness, there is no body,
no feeling, no thought,
no will, no consciousness.
There are no eyes, no ears,
no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind.
There is no seeing, no hearing,
no smelling, no tasting,
no touching, no imagining.
There is nothing seen, nor heard,
nor smelled, nor tasted,
nor touched, nor imagined.

There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.

The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now.

All the Buddhas,
past, present, and future,
rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and live in full enlightenment.

The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest mantra.
It is the clearest mantra,
the highest mantra,
the mantra that removes all suffering.

This is truth that cannot be doubted.
Say it so:

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!

The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

Thich Nhat Hanh Sutra Image

Let us also share with you the new Heart Sutra translation by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Avalokiteshvara while practicing deeply with the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore, suddenly discovered that all of the five Skandhas are equally empty, and with this realization, he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!

Hidden Meaning of the Heart Sutra

Now let’s dive deeper into understanding the hidden meaning of the Heart Sutra.

Let’s take a closer look at the mantra that is found at the end of the Heart Sutra.

GATE GATE PARA GATE PARA SAM GATE BODHI SVAHA

Gate means gone.

Paragate signifies gone to the further shore and is a stock Sanskrit expression used by Buddhists and Jains to refer to arahants. (The word para signifies the bank of a river opposite to the one on which one is presently standing).

Parasamgate signifies completely gone to the further shore. (The syllable sam means: altogether, thoroughly, or completely.)

The syllable bodhi is a feminine noun that signifies awakening, knowledge, and enlightenment.

The syllable svaha is an indeclinable part of Vedic Sanskrit. It is said to be the name of the wife of Agni, the god of fire. This syllable is used at the end of a chanting that accompanies a burnt offering made at a Vedic sacrifice (rather as “amen” is used at the end of a prayer in Christian liturgy). This syllable cannot really be translated since it is a performative word.

We can read the first “GATE” or “gone” as an incentive to enter the path of accumulating merit, and the second “GATE” or “gone” as a way to prepare the mind for a deep perception of emptiness.

Gone to the further shore” refers to the path of seeing reality, the direct perception of emptiness. One who attains this vision becomes Arya, or “noble.”

The words “completely gone to the further shore” indicate the path of meditation in which the practitioner through constant practice becomes familiar with emptiness on a deeper level.

The last words of this mantra “Bodhi Svaha” are an incentive to take root in the soil of enlightenment, that is, to enter the final Nirvana.

Stages of enlightenment image

There are five stages of the path to enlightenment:

  1. accumulation;
  2. preparation;
  3. vision;
  4. meditation;
  5. no further learning.

These five stages can be connected with various fragments of the main text of the Heart Sutra.

Four-part representation of emptiness at the beginning of the Sutra:

“Body is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body.
The body is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body.”

is a way of practicing emptiness in the first two stages – accumulation and preparation.

The emptiness of the eight aspects of phenomena, expressed in the words:

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases.

is the realization of emptiness at the stage of vision.

The words:

There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.

indicate the method of practicing emptiness at the stage of meditation.

The words in the next section:

The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now.

indicate the practice of emptiness of the last of the ten levels of bodhisattva, where he resides in a state of meditative concentration.

The actual transition from one stage to another takes place while you are in a state of meditative balance.

At the initial stage, when the practitioner goes through the path of accumulation, his understanding of emptiness is primarily intellectual. Practitioners with a sharp mind can reach a sufficiently deep understanding of emptiness before generating the altruistic attitude of bodhichitta. Those who are less inclined to intellectual thinking, first develop the intention to free all living beings from suffering.

In any case, a deep understanding of emptiness has a powerful effect on all other practices, enhancing and complimenting them. It can lead to a powerful renunciation, which is the desire to free oneself from the sufferings of the cycle of being, as well as to become the basis of strong and all-encompassing compassion.

In the accumulation stage, awareness of voidness is mainly the result of learning, reflection, and intellectual understanding. Through meditation on what has been learned, the practitioner further deepens his understanding until eventually, he attains full clarity of penetrating vision.

From this moment, the preparation stage begins. Here the understanding of emptiness is no longer purely intellectual or conceptual, but rather has the character of an experience, although it is not yet a direct comprehension of it.

In the preparation stage, the understanding of emptiness becomes more and more deep, subtle, and clear. The use of conceptual thinking in meditation is gradually fading into the background.

When all the dual perception of subject and object, conditional reality and self-existence is eliminated, the practitioner enters the path of vision. At this stage, there is no division into subject and object. Subjective perception and its object merge into one, and meditation is carried out in the direct perception of emptiness.

As this direct experience of emptiness deepens, the practitioner steadily counteracts the various obscurations that occur during the stage of meditation or assimilation by passing through the so-called seven levels of contamination.

In a Nutshell

Dalai Lama Sutra Image

According to Dalai Lama XIV interpretation, the stages work like this:

Accumulation refers to realizing emptiness as an intellectual exercise.

Preparation represents actually experiencing emptiness, but indirectly. Here one progressively sees emptiness while concepts gradually recede.

The path of Vision is attained when dualistic perceptions of subject and object are removed, and where emptiness becomes unmediated and direct.

During the stage of meditation, one progresses through subtle “imprints” of mental afflictions, eventually eradicating them.

This finally leads to full Buddhahood, or the stage of No More Learning.

The Bottom Line

First, it may seem very difficult to understand Heart Sutra. Therefore, it is recommended to meditate on it. By meditating on the Heart Sutra, you will, again and again, enter deeply the mysteries of these sacred words. And by making the Mahamantra your daily practice you will see that you’re observing your life experience from a higher perspective.

Spirituality

8 Warning Signs You’re Falling Into Spiritual Materialism

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Spiritual materialism image

Walking the spiritual path is a tricky adventure. We are often deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This kind of self-deception is called “spiritual materialism” which is a “toxic” form of spirituality.

In this article, I want to share with you what spiritual materialism is and 8 warning signs you could be practicing it.

What Is Spiritual Materialism?

Spiritual materialism is a term coined by Chögyam Trungpa in his book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. 

This term is used to describe mistakes spiritual seekers commit which turn the pursuit of spirituality into an ego-building and confusion creating endeavor, based on the idea that ego development is counter to spiritual progress.

Spiritual materialism means making use of spirituality to gratify the desires of the ego.

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

– Chögyam Trungpa

According to Chögyam Trungpa, spiritual materialism can fall into three categories:

#1: Physical materialism

This form of materialism is based on the belief that possessions can bring release from suffering. However, in fact, they may bring temporary happiness but then more suffering will follow. Or on another level, physical materialism can manifest itself as a belief, “I am rich because I have this or that” or “I am a teacher because I have a diploma.”

#2: Psychological materialism

This category is based on the belief that a particular philosophy, spiritual tradition, belief system, or point of view will bring release from suffering. Therefore, seeking refuge by strongly identifying with a particular religion, tradition, philosophy, political party, or viewpoint, for example, would be a manifestation of psychological materialism. The goal of psychological materialism is to use external concepts, pretexts, and ideas to prove that the ego-driven self exists, which manifests in a particular competitive attitude.

#3: Spiritual materialism

It is based on the belief that a certain temporary state of mind is a refuge from suffering. For example, when you’re using meditation practices to create a peaceful state of mind or using drugs or alcohol to remain in a numbed out or a euphoric state, you are merely heightening the suffering when these states cease. Therefore, attempting to maintain a particular emotional state of mind as an escape from suffering, or constantly pursuing particular emotional states of mind, will actually lead to more long term suffering.

Spiritual materialism is an attachment to the spiritual path as a solid accomplishment or possession. It is said that spiritual materialism is the hardest to overcome. The imagery that is used is that of golden chains; you’re not just in chains, you’re in golden chains. And you love your chains because they’re so beautiful and shiny. But you’re not free. You’re just trapped in a bigger and better trap. The point of spiritual practice is to become free, not to build a trap that may have the appearance of a mansion but is still a prison.

– M. Caplan

Spiritual Ego

spiritual materialism examples image

We all need to realize that nobody is immune to spiritual materialism. As long as we have the ego, we are living on the edge. And no matter how spiritually developed you think you are, there is a tricky ego trap for each “level” of development.

Most of us have a delusional idea that the spiritual path is always steady and secure. It is only later that we begin to realize that the spiritual path is very slippery and you have to maintain balance and constant awareness not to fall into old “traps”. The thing is that the more we learn theoretically about spirituality without applying it to our everyday lives, the more likely we develop the spiritual ego in our beliefs.

Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the spiritual ego can hide behind judgment, spiritual dogma, or even a false sense of moral superiority over others. And this could be very dangerous for our spiritual development since it can blind us and prevent us from doing the necessary deeper spiritual work we need for inner growth and self-healing.

It’s hard to see our ego and therefore it’s hard to control it. Buddhist say that in the war of ego the loser always wins. Which makes complete sense to me. The second you realized you overcame your ego, you have fallen into its trap. Therefore, the best way you can deal with your ego is by observing it. It is by observing that you can learn how to take control of your ego.

8 Signs You Could Be Practicing Spiritual Materialism

The most important part of shadow work is taking an honest look at ourselves no matter how hard and painful it could be. Let’s take a look at 8 signs of spiritual materialism and determine which ones could be describing us.

Sign #1: Spiritual Superficiality

Spiritual Superficiality Image

Modern forms of spirituality and therapy are often accused of selling superficial and sunny answers to life’s complexity and pain. Spirituality isn’t about protecting ourselves from real-life challenges. Any philosophy that is based on the belief that thinking positively always protects us from suffering and emotional pain, or that there is something wrong with you if you suffer or fail, is offering superficial promises.

Sign #2: Spiritual Elitism

Spiritual elitism is based on using spiritual ‘achievements’ or ‘gifts’ to disconnect from and feel superior to others. If you find yourself becoming unbearably profound, feeling that you are somehow different from others and destined for sainthood, perhaps you are suffering from grandiosity.

Our desire to be special can be manifested in many different self-aggrandizement ways, like:

  • Claiming to have “special access” to spirit guides, Ascended Masters, angels, spirits, etc.;
  • Claiming to be the reincarnation of a guru, superior being, a famous spiritual historical figure, etc.;
  • Claiming to figure out all the world mysteries, conspiracy theories, governments’ secrets, etc.;
  • Claiming access to special and exclusive spiritual knowledge that others can’t access.

In order to overcome this trap, ask yourself: “Do I really need to prove my specialness by using different titles (like lightworker, Starseed, etc.), the memories (or fantasies) about my past incarnations, etc.?”

Sign #3: Spiritual Shopping Obsession

Do you find yourself habitually buying spiritual trinkets/tools/items or accumulating the blessings and initiations from sages, shamans, saints, etc.? Does having spiritual items make you feel more “special,” “awakened,” “aligned” or spiritually worthy. If so, you could be practicing spiritual materialism!

The truth is all those endless workshops, tools, trinkets, and techniques which all promise to make you a wiser, more intuitive, more blissful, more “spiritual” person, are designed for distracting your attention from profound spiritual practice. You see, in order to follow your spiritual path you don’t need to “look” or “feel” spiritual. All you need is already inside you.

Sign #4: Entertaining Spirituality

This is a common trap many seekers get into. Instead of enjoying the blessings of everyday life, you seek after entertaining spirituality and supernatural experiences like angelic visitations, seeing visions, meeting UFOs, spirit guides, Ascended Masters, beings from other planets and dimensions, etc. All these supernatural experiences can be a part of your spiritual journey. However, if they are your main focus, you could be practicing entertaining spirituality.

Sign #5: Ripping Off the Traditions

what is spiritual materialism image

Many modern seekers skim off the ritual trappings of a tradition with little respect for the depth behind it. This attitude trivializes powerful spiritual systems that often demand years of study. It is so important to be committed to your spiritual practice and realize the difference between carefully creating a spiritual path that includes genuine practices from a variety of traditions, rather than flitting from flower to flower like a drunken honey bee.

Sign #6: Power Abuse

Another sign of spiritual materialism is the disparity between spiritual teachings and the behavior of teachers. These are the things to be wary of:

  • extravagant claims of enlightenment or healing;
  • minimizing the hard work that accompanies any true spiritual or healing path;
  • excessive commercialism that betrays the deeper spiritual message;
  • blind adherence of followers.

With their deceitful double standards, some gurus, healers, and spiritual teachers have given mentorship a bad name and tarnished the image of humbling oneself to wiser and more experienced spiritual guides.

Sign #7: Spiritual Narcissism

The spiritual narcissist unconsciously believes he/she is more “awakened” than others and will do anything to reinforce that “specialness” including harming others through arrogance and forcing his/her beliefs on them. They also use spiritual jargon that you can relate to when recruiting their victims. A spiritual narcissist will make you think that you have a special gift or that you are their soul mate when in a real sense they are grooming you for the abuse

Do you always back your desires with only those spiritual facts that suit you? Then, you could be developing spiritual narcissism. Be mindful when you purposely omit those facts that don’t advance your course.

There is a thin line between narcissism and “following your bliss.” Be aware of your tendency toward excessive self-centeredness even as you work to heal and love your own tender self.

Sign #8: Future Obsession

Do you believe that if you do certain spiritual practices or chant certain mantra you will get to a special elevated state of consciousness in the future? Well, there is nothing wrong with this belief unless you become so possessed with your future achievements that you stop living in the present moment. If you become too obsessed with your future and stop recognizing the fundamental ego-centricity of this obsession, you could be stuck in another spiritual materialism trap!

The Bottom Line

The spiritual path can be a truly joyous and satisfying journey of self-realization. It quickly becomes very clear to anyone who has spent significant time on their journey that the path is riddled with many obstacles and traps designed specifically for the ego.

Have you found yourself saying “They are Asleep”, “I am Awake” or any other self-proclaimed statements of spiritual achievement in comparison to others? This type of comparison can be the first of many dangerous behaviors that can lead a hopeful spiritual student down a path of despair, spiritual degradation, and unfortunate suffering.

True spiritual development is almost always a long and arduous journey that spans many years and lifetimes. Maintaining a high level of compassion and humility along with a strong desire to serve can be a very helpful tool to ensure one keeps their ego in check.

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10 Types of Spiritual Bypassing That Slow Down Your Growth

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What Is Spiritual Bypassing Image

How do you react to misfortunes or sad phases in your life? Do you deal with the pain or remain with unresolved wounds for fear of becoming vulnerable? Well, chances are, you are spiritually bypassing.

The Origin

Spiritual bypassing is an old term coined by John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher, author, and psychotherapist, in 1984. It refers to the tendency for persons to avoid, sidestep, or escape uncomfortable issues facing them. Welwood noted that persons resorted to this behavior to rise above their shaky emotional or personal foundation, hence, obtaining enlightenment.

What of Today?

Spiritual bypassing is quite common in the 21st century. Here, we see people covering up their low self-esteem, loneliness, or anger with spiritual practice. The only difference is it is a short-term cover-up. Spiritual bypassing facilitates a buildup of negative emotions into full-blown unrest and uncertainty.

Spiritual Bypassing Image

Is Spiritual Bypassing Negative?

Often, we associate spirituality with positive aspects of our lives. You know, feelings of inner peace, contentment, or fulfillment. But, spiritual bypassing confirms that there are dark and painful areas in spirituality.  Yes, it creates a false feeling of security and satisfaction, blocking any efforts for emotional healing.

Types of Spiritual Bypassing

Do you often resort to spirituality to bypass the unpleasant phases of your life? Here are the ten possible ways: –

#1: Optimistic Bypass

An optimistic bypass will insist on seeing life as a glass half full. This person is always focusing on the sunny side of life, ignoring the other half that is not so pleasant. In turn, these persons never engage their anger, inner conflict, or aggression. For, they fail to see that life isn’t always a happy fairytale.

#2: Aggrandizement Bypass

Do you know of a spiritual leader or seeker who seems overly enlightened and superior? Chances are these individuals struggle with personal insecurities and deficiencies. For, aggrandizement bypass is a self-delusion that convinces the self-proclaimed spiritual gurus that they have achieved a level of enlightenment or higher being.

#3: Victim Bypass

starseed spiritual bypass image

Are you a victim of your gifts? If these gifts hinder you from living a healthy or happy life, you could be a victim bypass. For example, a victim bypass may identify as an empath and use their gift of compassion to others to the extent of neglecting their happiness. Likewise, a victim bypass may disguise as an indigo child, a gifted healer, or a Starseed.

#4: Psychonaut Bypass

A psychonaut bypass exploits psychedelic drugs to escape their painful reality. In turn, they get into a psycho-spiritual crisis that hinders them from pursuing personal development.

#5: Horoscope Bypass

Do you love astrology, or are you dependent on it? Well, if you struggle with fear or self-doubt to the point of living an indecisive life, you could be relying on others to predict the outcome of your life. For this, a horoscope bypass trusts the predictions of a psychic or an astrologer. It becomes destructive when this trust supersedes their inner feelings to make significant decisions in their lives. In turn, their obsession with astrology makes them incapable of coping with traumas.

#6: Saint Bypass

When growing up, kids learn that spiritual leaders are saintly, kind, and compassionate. Only, these leaders have weaknesses and dark sides like any ordinary human being. However, a saint bypass holds on to this holier-than-thou notion from their childhood, even when they are now adults. In turn, a saint bypass will sacrifice themselves to appear sweet, approachable, heavenly persons.

#7: Spirit Guide Bypass

A spirit guide, whether an angelic or godly being, serves to protect humanity, right? Well, this belief is quite soothing to the mind but constricts the soul. That is, we forgo the need to be resilient, courageous, or take charge of our safety. We become like children under the protection of the parent. Living this way deprives us of the ability to grow our spiritual character. Instead, we should look to the spirit guide to learn more about our spirituality, not babysit us.

#8: Guru Bypass

A guru bypass is overly attached to a spiritual teacher or guru, to the extent of worshipping them. They accept all the teachings from their spiritual guru as absolute truths. Eventually, the guru bypass never grows spiritually. Further, they fall prey to manipulation or any ill-intentions of their spiritual leaders.

#9: Finger-Pointing Bypass

When on a spiritual journey, we develop clarity of mind. Here, we intuitively determine when someone is lying, honest, or trying to manipulate us. More so, we can tell reality from delusions and make rational decisions. A finger-pointing bypass uses this ability to declare them as self-righteous. In turn, they are quick to finger-point anyone who has a contrary opinion or acts differently from them. In essence, a finger-pointing bypass is procrastinating. They find fault in others instead of working to correct and improve themselves.

#10: Prayer Bypass

reiki namaste image

Finally, a prayer bypass ignores their responsibility. Instead, this person entrusts a higher being to deal with their problems. For example, this person will pray about a sickness they have without taking any steps to seek medical attention.

What Next?

Does any of the above types of spiritual bypassing resonate with you? Here are some tips you can use to stop this negative tendency: –

#1: Be Open Minded

Know that all spiritual seekers are human beings, hence, bound to make mistakes at some point. Then, be willing to learn and receive correction from others.

#2: Deal with Any Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance arises when our beliefs are challenged or misaligned with reality. You will experience cognitive dissonance as your change your attitudes and beliefs from spiritual bypassing. That is, you may feel guilty, anxious, or ashamed for letting go of your thoughts that do not align with what you now know to be true.

When this happens, you should examine your life for areas that do not add up. For example, you should question a narcissistic leader who preaches compassion but uses physical abuse against you.

#3: Seek Honest Feedback from Others

Discuss spiritual bypassing with your friends and loved ones. Let them tell you what they see in you that suggests that you could be a spiritual bypass. View the feedback as positive criticism, and use it to grow spiritually.

The Bottom Line

Spiritual bypassing is not easy to detect. It disguises itself as a caring, compassionate person. Take time to evaluate yourself. Acknowledge the tendency and start your healing process.

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Spirituality

Spiritual Transformation: 6 Signs You Are Experiencing One

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signs and symptoms of spiritual transformation image

Human beings are spirits inside a physical body. However, most people live their lives like bodies inside the spirit. Spiritual transformation means transcending beyond the physical body to the level of the soul. As complicated as this sounds, we will explain how easy it is to achieve spiritual transformation. But first, let’s get a bit more practical. 

Common Experiences of Spiritual Transformation

Overcoming trauma

Have you ever shied away from attempting something just because that thing reminds you of your past trauma? Once you overcome such experiences, it’s a clear sign you have transformed spiritually. Like a rape victim finally getting married and enjoying motherhood. 

Letting go of a toxic behavior

Most people can possibly relate to this one. How many weight-loss diets have you tried before achieving your weight goal? Or, how many times did you try quitting smoking before you actually did? See, spiritual transformation is not a walk in the park. But once you get the hang of it, you become the unstoppable hero. 

Becoming Soul-centered

When you experience spiritual transformation, you start journeying back to the center of your being. You echo the advice “be yourself” and now find it easier to apply. Perhaps it’s because you now know who you really are. 

How Does Spiritual Transformation Differ from Spiritual Awakening?

In the past, we have explored Spiritual Awakening. So what is the difference? Now spiritual transformation occurs as a by-product of our spiritual awakening journey. And since spirituality is a never-ending journey, it means if we continue in this journey, we will experience multiple angles of spiritual transformation. 

Enough of the theories, how then do you know that you have achieved spiritual transformation?

6 Signs You Are Experiencing Spiritual Transformation

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Let me start by reminding you that we are all different. A change might go unnoticed for one person yet be painfully unbearable for another person. That means you might notice some of these signs but not all of them. 

#1: Things Start Falling Apart

That moment when you can’t seem to hold anything together. Your partner breaks up with you, you get fired at work, your family becomes a thorn in the side, and all you want to do is close yourself up and cry. Transformation can only happen when there’s a space in your life that leads you to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small change. At this point, you need to realize that whatever is lost isn’t necessarily good enough for you and instead open up to new opportunities.

#2: Heightened Agitation

You start getting emotional at things that would not usually bother you. Like overreacting when you find yourself stuck in traffic. This is a sign of transformation if you wouldn’t normally react this way.

Agitation occurs when we allow fear to drive us. That moment when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea what to do or where you are going.

#3: Your Desire for Change Is Greater Than Your Fear of Not Knowing

Do you have a strong desire to change but the fear of the unknown keeps you stuck? Well, during spiritual transformation, you realize that this desire grows bigger while your fears diminish. You can quickly draft that resignation letter without worrying about your next opportunity. Or, you can easily break up with your fiancée without worrying about your future.

#4: You Trust Easily and Your Faith Grows, or the Vice Versa

Trust is usually the last chapter of the transformation. After you’ve been through emotional rollercoasters and denial, you are now ready to surrender and accept the will of your creator. It’s also at this point that your world starts turning around for the better. Mainly because your spirit is now open to other avenues.

A good example is when you can’t let go of a toxic relationship even when all the signs say otherwise just because you can’t see past the relationship. Then after you’ve finally let go, you start wondering why you took so long. Sound familiar?

Now, for some people, the lack of trust is what signifies spiritual transformation. You suddenly feel the need to research any information you gather, irrespective of the source.

#5: New Opportunities Open Up for You

At this point, you stop “betting on an old horse” and start looking beyond your limitations. Your willingness to change and openness to a new reality manifest in new opportunities coming your way.

#6: You Open Up to New Relationships

At some point in your spiritual awakening journey, you will realize that you no longer fit in your normal circle of friends. This is normal. When you keep holding onto relationships that no longer serve your highest good, they will eventually drag you behind instead of pushing you to even greater levels.

Therefore, it’s important to let go of all the attachments and open yourself up to new relationships. Instead of feeling resentful of people who have hurt us in the past, we now feel compassion for them. The hatred turns into love and understanding.

The Bottom Line

As much as spiritual transformation can get uncomfortable, the most important thing is allowing yourself to grow until you finally feel that part in you that you turned off a long time ago because someone told you to. You also have to be willing to see and accept the things you don’t necessarily want to know about yourself. Be open, and allow yourself to evolve and participate in your transformation journey.

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