Growing Our Human Potential

The Role of Faith in Personal Growth and Self-Discovery

Heart chakraI heard the expression, “wise mind” recently from a therapist who uses this expression to help their clients learn how to make a connection with a healthier source of wisdom vs. their head which is often polluted with unhealthy beliefs, issues, etc. This reminded me of the concept of “higher power” within the 12-step programs. I long for a time when we begin teaching our children at a young age to connect with their own wise mind or higher self. For anyone who actively pursues this, I see a greater sense of peace and kindness towards self and others, just as was the case with me.

One of the topics that often arises in my talks on the topic of personal growth and self-discovery, is the role of faith, and what faith is. For many faith equals organized religion which I view as mankind’s interpretation of the universe and life itself. After years experimenting with so many religions to find the Truth, it was a line from a church leader that pointed me in a new direction. He said, “I am beginning to respect God more, and man’s interpretation of God less.” It made so much sense to me because the God that I had come to know was all loving in only an unconditional way with none of the conditions that seemed to permeate so many of the religions. There was no right or wrong faith, which for centuries was the basis of wars and hatred against others who chose different beliefs. How could this be? It made no sense at all. There is only one guiding principle, which I found at the center of so many religious beliefs, which is that love is the only truth!

AloneHowever, faith is typically lost when we experience abuse and trauma. We can only experience the pain and come to what is a legitimate conclusion that there can be no god or higher being if this is what life is like. Our world around us, which was tainted by the trauma we experienced, becomes darker. We succumb to this dark place which often relies on one of the many addictions to survive until such time that we make a choice to overcome the pain.

I was approximately 12-14 years old when I decided I would talk to my priest about the abuse I was experiencing at home. I thought for sure I would find some solstice in a “man of god”. Instead I was sternly reminded of the 10 commandments and that one of these was to Honor They Father, which in his case was interpreted to also mean my dad, my father. I cried so much that night since I was now convinced that my world was indeed dark and with no hope.

In my early thirties, once again in a rut, I found my way to a church where I would be “saved.” I felt terrific that day, believing that I had finally found my way. However, it was not long before this feeling began to dissipate. I began asking a lot of questions about interpretations they had shared with me. They became frustrated with me and scorned me for questioning them. Once again, man’s interpretation let me down, although at that point I took this to mean that I was wrong or bad to question or not worthy of their god.

ForestThe concepts of higher-self, wise-mind, higher-power, etc. provided me with a way to incorporate a belief system into my recovery without the dogma associated with religions. It was up to me how I wanted to define it, which gave me a sense of power I never felt before. Others on similar journeys in large part agreed that there was great value in believing in something to help us overcome our unhealthy and destructive patterns. A sense of higher power could come from any source whether it be the support group we attended, our sponsor, another person reaching out to us who truly understood what we were going through, and sometimes just described as nature around us providing a brief sense of peace and serenity.

DM Cover Front 2Ultimately this was the basis of my spiritual journey as a part of Discovering Michael. It allowed me to open my mind to new truths. I continued to participate in various religious activities and visit different organized religions. There were so many beautiful people within the different walls who used these beliefs to become better people and more loving. This reminded me that faith can take place in numerous ways. Outside of these organizations were different practices such as yoga, meditation, metaphysics, and others that used these practices for similar gains. There are indeed many ways to Home!

Central to most beliefs is that we have a soul which is our connection to this higher power. Our goal on this spiritual journey is to re-connect with our soul to lead us out of the darkness and into the light. We develop a foundation which helps us to keep going even when life is so difficult. I believe we are all on some sort of spiritual journey here which is what we all share in common. Rather than seeing all the differences in how we choose to achieve this, I see now similarities. I can empathize with others in the darkness since this was all I experienced for many years of my life. I know the suffering, the negativity, sadness, anger, misfortune, etc. My hope and purpose is to share my own story as a hopeful source of inspiration to helping them consider a way to get out of their darkness. In this way we each become the inspiration and light for others to possibly follow. It is how we recognize that we are indeed all in this together, needing to help each other.

HigherSelf 2The world today is becoming increasingly negative and we are seeing the consequences of this in so many aspects of life here. It is time to set aside our judgement and simply find ways to love the unlovable. If not for us, it is for our children who are inheriting the consequences of our negativity. As the banner on my screen saver states, “Just stand in the midst of all you resist and instead of letting judgement take you over, put your entire focus on the light. The light makes a way where there was no way.”

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