Do you have a strong spiritual path or do you approach spirituality with a “buffet style” — take a lot of different classes and pick which ones that feel good for you?
In this episode:
- Debi and Rob share their personal journey to find their own spiritual path
- Know why we seek a spiritual path and the difference between seeking and finding
- Understand the two basic philosophies – materialism (duality) or one consciousness (non-dual)
- We talk about Carl Jung and how he influenced much of the “new age” movement
- Learn how important it is to have a strong philosophy in order to create your life.
If you are a woman with a mission and want to explore spiritual psychology and grow yourself based on Jungian path of individuation, check out our Women’s Leadership Program called, EVOLVE. Applications are now being accepted for 2019 at http://creativewomenleaders.com
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TRANSCRIPT OF THE PODCAST:
Debi: Hi, this is the Debi and Dr. Rob’s Show. We have a great topic today. Hi, Rob.
Dr. Rob: Good to be here, what is the topic for today?
Debi: It’s seeking and finding your spiritual path. So how do we do that? We get questions like that all the time from our listeners. They say, “How do I find my spiritual path? How do I know I’m on the right path?”. There’s so much out there and so we’re going to talk about that. What do you think?
Dr. Rob: Well, how did you start when you were starting out?
Debi: When I was little. [laughs] Well, I was raised Roman Catholic, so my spiritual path that was my family origin was go to church, pray a lot, and if God blesses you and feels it’s right, you’ll get the things you pray for. It was all about being a good girl. Don’t make any mistakes, don’t be bad. Ask for forgiveness, be a good Christian and good things will happen to you.
Which was great until I was in my twenties and I was so terrified of not making Mass that I would do anything just to make sure I was there. I thought if I missed one week of church that God would punish me and I’d be single forever. What I discovered, too, was that it wasn’t giving me the answers that I needed to apply in my personal life. I had a really bad relationship and the sister of the guy I was dating actually gave me a book called, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.
It was a self-help book, I’d never read self-help before and the first thing she said was that “Your thoughts create your life.” I said, “My thoughts create my life? I thought God was in charge.” It really changed the power from feeling this powerless person to praying and hoping that I’ll be blessed to actually, I can have a say. I can ask for what I want. My thoughts are actually creating more of my problems than me just being a bad Christian or a bad person or making sin.
It really fit for me really well and that started my path of trying to read a ton of self-help books. They didn’t have the internet back then so let’s go to the bookstore and try to figure out why my life wasn’t working. I really do believe that if I had met someone at got married at 23, I don’t think I would have been on the spiritual path that I am. I actually think it’s a gift when we have these questions in life or things aren’t working out because it drives us to seek. How about you?
Dr. Rob: Well, I guess I came across a lot of the same New Age ideas that you did, maybe a little bit differently. There is a connection because Carl Jung, let’s say my mentor in psychology, is considered the grandfather or the father of the New Age. A lot of the books that you read like Louise Hay was probably influenced directly or indirectly by Carl Jung. One of the first books that I came across that really inspired me was The Portable Jung which is really Carl Jung’s work edited by Joseph Campbell, the mythologist.
The other one was The Bhagavad Gita which was teachings of Krishna. Those two books really formed the foundation of the rest of my life. One was my academic training in psychology, the other one was my spiritual path along an eastern philosophy path.
Debi: I kind of did some eastern philosophy. I was more in the New Age. I lived in Colorado so there’s a lot of New Age people and crystals and healing and energy healing. We did a lot of that stuff trying to take negative energy out and clear myself so I could find love. I remember I would read tons of books. Any new author comes out, Marianne Williamson or Wayne Dyer, I would always get the book. I had tons of books and when I met you, you said I said, “Oh, have you read Wayne Dyer or have you read this book?” and you said to me, “Oh, I don’t read any of those kinds of books.” You said, “I go right to the source.”
That was the first time I ever heard that. I thought that this was how everyone does spiritual work. You either read the Bible or stay with your religion or you do the self-help version. You gave me the book The Way of the Bodhisattva, and I read it and I was completely confused but I knew there was something there. There was something that was different about it and the more I studied eastern philosophy, it really started to gel. What it did was, it gave me a foundation so then I could see all this surface stuff that was on top and say, “Oh, that doesn’t fit anymore and that doesn’t fit anymore.” It’s almost like the pruning that happens when we’re kids. Our brain has all these ideas and then it kind of prunes away and takes away all the things that don’t fit in anymore or aren’t useful.
I felt like I had so many different philosophies and teachers that I followed and then it started pruning and pruning and pruning until I started really focusing on Vedanta. When I did that, I feel like everything changed in a rapid way. I feel like things started happening. Like I was able to create my life in a better way. What we talk about with a spiritual path is the seeking is a very important part of it. You’re going to talk about why we seek and the difference between seeking and finding. When you’re in your seeking mode, you’re not going to get much trajectory in your life. You’re going to be seeking and it’s going to feel a little confusing for a while.
That’s when that foundation comes in. The tracks are set for you and you start to move forward in your life.
Dr. Rob: Let’s say from the spiritual psychology perspective, the seeking is an essential part. It’s okay when you’re in that seeking mode to take your time with it and to really allow yourself to be a little skeptical, a little confused. That’s what seeking is, it’s essentially saying, “I don’t really know what I believe. I don’t claim any particular path, any particular religion right now because I am in that questioning mode.” It’s right to just take your time with it and seek and ask the right questions.
A lot of people give up though because the answers don’t come easily or don’t come in a prepackaged–
Debi: Santa didn’t bring their gift.
Dr. Rob: Right. It’s painful in a way to be in that mode of questioning.
Debi: Constantly and not getting the answer?
Dr. Rob: Right.
Debi: I know you had said that it’s sort of like you’re digging holes. If you keep changing your paths, it’s okay for a little bit but if you keep staying there you’re going to dig a shallow hole. Your ego’s actually designed to keep you from the truth.
Dr. Rob: Right, it’s a metaphor that says that the seeker who keeps changing path is like a person trying to dig a well to find water but they stop at about three feet and then start another hole. By the end of the year, they’ve dug four or five holes but haven’t hit the water because they keep changing it up to the next one.
Debi: It’s almost like when they just get close to something really good, they see a shiny object. It’s the ego going, “Oh, look over there. Look at this new video that’s out by this new teacher. They have this new best-selling book. Now I’ll follow that person and I just remember-” You can see this happening online, you see people– It’s like a flood, momentum toward a teacher has a great book out.
I remember Eat, Pray, Love. Everyone was in the Eat, Pray, Love mood for a while. Then there was another book and everyone’s into that and then this author has a book and everyone’s doing Eckhart Tolle. Then the masses gel to the next big thing but then what happens is we don’t go deep enough. Since we’re not deep enough, the roots of that understanding don’t keep us there and we really need to go a little deeper.
I always say that when you’re finding that path, it’s the path that you don’t leave even when things get tough. Then you know you’ve found your right path. You love the path, you understand it, you believe in it. Let’s talk about, how do you know if it matches your belief? How do you know what we believe? Let’s go deeper. Let’s go to the water.
Dr. Rob: One way to think about it is, what is your worldview? Is your worldview consistent? We run into people a time that are presenting a certain idea but if you start to examine their ideas they appear to be contradicting themselves. They might say well, I believe in oneness or in spiritual power but there is negative things out there are trying to hurt me.
Dr. Rob: There’s spirits or negative energy. That doesn’t make sense because they’re contradicting themselves in buying into this worldview that both is one and at the same time dualistic.
Debi: Well, a good example of that is if you’re, “I’m a spiritual being but there is things I need to be afraid of. There is things externally from me that are a threat to me.” That if we understand what the true spiritual being is oneness then you’re not seeing that separation. You’re not feeling that there is something else coming in, you are everything. It’s just a really different way to do it. The same thing with psychology, self-help has been hijacked by psychology.
Religion some way creeps its way into spiritual work and then people make it religious or the religion in itself starts to distort our ideas even new consciousness ideas. The ideas of the Law of Attraction and how to create your life. It actually gets a little religious versus philosophical.
Dr. Rob: Right. One of the most common let’s say worldviews out there is the materialistic worldview. Often it’s a dualistic because they say, “Well, there is a material world but then there is a spiritual world as well.”
Dr. Rob: Those two things are dual. They’re saying there is two elements here. A material world and a spiritual world. How those interact then becomes the question and often they don’t have a really good understanding or philosophy as to how that interaction happens. It’s an incomplete worldview to say the least.
Debi: Is it this idea that in science there is a matter and then there is consciousness and that arises out of matter. Is that what you’re talking about materialistic?
Dr. Rob: Yes. In the West for a long time this idea that our brain is so complex. We have a hundred billion neurons firing it at once or in different sequences and out of that complicated interaction of these neurons we get what is called consciousness. Meaning awareness. Just we are aware of ourselves of the world of the universe. Now, that for most people it makes an intuitive sense that, “Yes, of course, when I wake up in the morning I was asleep and then when I woke up I see the world as it appears to me. Now, I’m conscious, I’m aware.”
Even in science now with a new physics coming in, quantum physics especially, and even in the way we perceive the perceptual science that’s not really what happens in consciousness or the way we experience the world. The way it really happens is that our brain actually makes up a 3D model in our head about the world and how it works and everything, and then that’s what we are experiencing. We do not have direct access to the physical world out there. It is essentially a mental experience that we’re creating.
Debi: It’s so mind-blowing. Quantum physics talks about that. We didn’t know that maybe 100 years ago. The ancients knew it. That’s where we’re seeing that science moving back into the spiritual realm.
Dr. Rob: Yes. If we look at the East they’ve always presented– there are different philosophies but in general, this idea that everything is consciousness. Meaning that they understood this principle that we are dealing with essentially within a mental experience of the world. A world that’s created in consciousness and they’ve gone with that for, especially Vedanta, for many years and centuries and thousands of years now that it is a conscious universe that we’re dealing with.
These two worldviews are really what’s shaping the way science and religion or faith has been playing out especially in recent years.
Debi: Dual or non-dual. Those two realities. That’s really a good basis for what is your path. Do you believe in a dual reality where you’re the separate being, separate from God, separate from the external world the Law of Attraction? Kind of, “I’m going to hold of vision and my vibration is going to go out and pull someone or something in,” or do you believe in the non-dual which is that you are consciousness. That what you’re experiencing is your own mind.
This is what Eastern philosophy has discovered and science has discovered so it almost makes sense to start thinking about would that be a better experience for me and more empowering for me? What we know is, and where I got lost for a long time, and I still sometimes forget that I’m one with everything, that the world it does feel separate. We have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s not. There is a lot of books, and psychologies, and new age stuff, and scientific ideas that are in contrast to that and they see everything dual- in dualistic terms.
You have to ask yourself which side am I on? Am I on the dual side or the non-dual side? Then you could start looking at paths that match that. What you’ll notice is once you pick a path and this is something that I’ve noticed for myself is that when I picked- when I started being really clear on what I believed that I believed in oneness I believe that consciousness arises from me, that there isn’t a separate independent reality that is influencing me that I maybe I’m not conscious of it but I still have access to it. That is empowering to me.
When I read other books or I see other philosophies I can again prune away and say nope this I don’t have to get distracted with this. This book looks distracting to me away from my core view. That’s what’s missing in a lot of– I don’t think people talk about this and that’s why people are so confused. I talk to people all the time and they’re like, “I’ve done know 20 courses and I’m still confused and I don’t know what to believe.”
We ask them well, “What do you believe?” and they don’t know. That is the most important question you can ask yourself on your spiritual path is, “What is it that I believe about reality and what makes up my reality and where is my power in creating it?”
Dr. Rob: Yes. When we say believe it’s not in the traditional sense because there is an interview on YouTube now, one of the last interviews Carl Jung gave where they ask him, “You’ve been studying spirituality for all these years. Do you believe in God?” They asked him directly and he says, “No, I don’t believe, I know.” We’re talking about a direct experience of these spiritual matters. Not a belief in the traditional sense that the church or synagogue or the temple gave you a set of beliefs and that’s what you were going to go by but more of a way of seeking and finding your own spiritual path, and having a direct experience of that reality.
Debi: The best way to do that is to keep asking questions, to have a mentor or a guide that’s going to help you. Ask those tough questions that has the same philosophy as you and look out for people that are just fancy objects. They have fancy names, maybe fancy videos, fancy marketing but they’re really contradicting themselves on their views. If they’re confused about what their worldview they’re not going to be able to how you decide.
Be really clear and that’s what’s going to really make big changes in your life. You’ll go from that seeking which is really important. In The Life of Pi, he was seeking, he was in India and he was trying all these different religions but he had an experience out on the water of what life was about and that’s part of the process. If you’re seeking you’re on the right path as long as you’re asking those questions.
When you find and you make a decision that this is what I want. I’m a dualistic philosophy or I’m a oneness philosophy, non-dual, then you’re going to see huge changes and it’s going to basically clear the clutter in your mind of, “Does this work for me? Should I try this technique? Should I follow this teacher? Should I buy this book?” It’s all going to make a lot more sense to you. That’s why we wanted to have this class because it really is so important if it all starts here with your worldview and your spiritual philosophy.
Dr. Rob: Absolutely.
Debi: What a great show. If you have any questions about this, any contradictions to what you’ve learned and want to test it out visit us on our Facebook group. It’s Debi and Dr. Rob show. Just search for us in Facebook and you’ll see us, you’ll join our group. Feel free to ask us questions, tell us what other topics you’d like us to speak about and find out more about us at www.debianddrrob.com. We have events coming up 2019. We also have some really great programs that you might be interested in as well. If you’re ready to do join the oneness bandwagon.
Dr. Rob: [laughs] The non-dualistic–
Debi: The non-dualistic bandwagon.
Dr. Rob: Thanks for tuning in and we hope to see on Facebook.
Debi: Take care, everyone. Thanks for coming.