Balancing the spiritual and material in manifestation practice:Part 3
When all that glitters isn’t gold…
When I met my ex partner, I’ll admit I was somewhat dazzled by his looks and apparent professional expertise and confidence. At the time, I was in the throes of starting the business of my dreams, which was challenging me physically and emotionally on every level. He met me at a difficult time and offered me what looked like a warmer, more secure version of my own dream. But it wasn’t. I knew the path was fraught with danger but it looked easier to walk than mine as I thought he was going to be holding my hand and he was very pretty to look at to boot. Unfortunately, the path was actually a damn site harder… unimaginably so in fact and left me worn physically and mentally to the bone. He had looked at me as an asset to his business – an object he could use to his advantage – and when that asset proved more expensive than he’d predicted and plans went awry, he wanted rid of it.
So in the long run, the decision to abandon my own hopes and dreams as I sought relief for my immediate material discomfort eventually left me destitute in Spain and I almost lost everything that actually mattered to me – my animal family – as a result. Through fundraising, a slog of a job working as a housekeeper in a mansion over Christmas and the support of the universe which connected me with my current partner, I was able to hang onto three of the four of them. However the difficult journey did not end there and the universe determined it was going to get a clear answer from me on the question – what’s more important, spiritual or material?
So what’s driving your decision making process?
Often, when we dig into what it is that motivates us to want more: a bigger house, better car, a bigger carat diamond ring, we start to realise that its often because we want to fit in or are looking for approval from those around us. Or alternatively, that we don’t feel full-filled because our own cup of self-love isn’t full. This makes us do one of two things: distract ourselves from that lack or make ourselves feel worthy of being loved by others. Is your own approval enough? What can we do to overcome this? Practice Yoga and Loving Yourself. Check out my previous blog post on SELF-LOVE
The well-known therapist Marisa Peer described a client she had who suffered with anger and depression in spite of having ‘achieved’ beyond that which our society considers success – he’d won a BAFTA award, drove expensive cars, lived in a grand huge house in an affluent area but struggled with depression and verged on anti-social behaviour focusing on the added pressures his ‘dream-life’ had now brought him. Within a very short time frame, Marisa worked out that the root of his discontent was a gnawing feeling of never being enough. He’d distracted himself from this discomfort by acquiring awards and material items yet the wound persisted. With some simple tools and techniques, Marisa assisted him in healing this wound and he was able to ditch many of these ‘trappings’ to enjoy what he described as a normal life believing he’d never been happier.
Where does happiness dwell? If we are to seek or desire, what is healthy to desire?
Perhaps the answer lies in looking to other cultures; particularly those who live closely with their animals. For example, the Fulani tribesmen are “encouraged to love life, nature and each other while also challenging people to grow beyond their own instincts and limitations” (Linda Kohanov, The Power of the Herd) – or in other words, to evolve.
“I think that many Westerners feel that our culture does not offer anything worth striving for… for myself and others who share this feeling, then, the search is for something to want, rather than for something we know we want… Riesman admits that his search “begins from a feeling of essential non-relatedness to the rest of the world, while for the Fulani the beginning is in a set of relationships that the person finds himself to be in with other beings [on a very intimate level].”
The practice of shamanism could provide the solution to the hole in Western culture offering a ‘rite of passage’ encouraging communion with the earth and her creatures and/or, equine led personal development along with other spiritual practices such as yoga or Buddhism. These offer the sense of tribe or family to those taking part at the same time as experiential based ‘goals’. Additionally, seeing the Earth as the creatrice of all life cannot be argued against by science and transcends all religion offering a narrative explaining human existence which is universal to every human.
When we begin to look at health and wellbeing in these terms, I can’t help but wonder if the progressive sickness in society is the greater denial of our authentic selves who want to make love, laugh, run, dance and play on mountains and in streams; to write and tell stories or paint and roll in the hay in favor of what we feel we should be doing – spending long hours in front of screens conducting relationships via digital links. Furthermore, a combined lack of purpose fragments society and encourages our disillusion. In viewing the discourse on facebook, it becomes clear that the issues which bring cultures (for the most part), together in spite of their cultural beliefs and religion are those involving saving animals and/or the planet. Perhaps therein lies a clue the true pathway to happiness.
Michael Denney, the Thunder Shaman would argue that above all else, we must follow our joy regardless of the obstacles and fights we may enter on the way. Should we die in ´battle´so much the better for we´ll be given immediate entry into Valhalla. We can then be sure that we are following our true purpose for and honouring the pact we made for the growth of our soul. Implicit within this is the knowledge that the path may not be easy however, thinking about what it is we desire puts us into a state of bliss.
I can now tell I am back on the path to achieving my dreams as the pathway there is far clearer and easier. The mistake I made? Choosing short term material benefits over long term spiritual growth and happiness. But don´t worry, the universe will always give you more than one chance!
If you need to start getting clear on your dream, join my upcoming vision board workshop to turn them into reality. It´s much easier than it seems