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  • Laura Schopen

Living Your Life as a Spiritual Bridge: Part 1- Find a Teaching

Updated: Jan 18


I see many clients who have found themselves changing in remarkable ways, often spontaneously. "Something" (It is the Truth of their Being calling even when we don't recognize it yet) causes them to seek outside conventional thinking for solutions to their problems. Maybe the old ways just don't work anymore. Or perhaps they may have hit rock bottom in their lives and are finally ready to surrender. Maybe they are experiencing altered perceptions of reality or new phenomena. Or they may find themselves questioning many previous assumptions about medicine/healing, the religion they were raised with or have followed for many years, "life as we know it," etc.


It can look like something on my list above, or something completely different. The common thread, though, is that the person can't go back to the old routine and have any satisfaction. Something irreversible has shifted.

There are many roads to spirituality, and the word means different things to different people. Without appropriating language from a specific spiritual teaching, I would define spirituality for myself and those I help this way:


The cultivation of a relationship with a Higher Intelligence that ultimately leads to awakening (or the transcendence of personal identity/suffering), both the process and and the attainment of which also facilitate the end of suffering for others.


Once in a place where the old worldview and relationship to life is dropping away, what next? Or when you just feel a new sense of "there's got to be a better way"...what to do then?


In this post, I suggest a simple four-part structure for approaching life from a spiritual perspective, and I will expand on the first. Living your life from a spiritual perspective turns your day-to-day decisions, relationships, and experiences into a bridge that takes you to awakening.


In A Course in Miracles, the focus is Forgiveness, which is called the bridge to the "real world." This is a beautiful path with a rigorous text, workbook, and teacher manual. There are other paths that lead to the same outcome, which is a Universal Experience. We come to it by the way most suited for us.


Let me set expectations here upfront: For almost everyone, whatever our spiritual path, it is a life's work.


Within the four focus areas I suggest, we can all be free to gravitate to the teachings, teachers, and practices that resonate for us. Having a basic structure to keep us focused, however, will help us use our life wisely and cultivate our inner peace.

* * *


I didn't have a structure to begin with, but as I reflect back on the last 25+ years, I see that it unfolded spontaneously. Structure is helpful in a few ways: to avoid getting lost in the mind, to begin to undo the selfish, fear-based thought structures that have defined us, to develop Trust in a Voice that knows our way out of suffering, and so we have a "North star," -- a Holy Goal to give our time a New Purpose.


I have found in my own life that all the efforts and focus that I have spent on spiritual pursuits can be categorized in four ways.

  1. Find/Study a Teaching: Fill your mind with Thoughts from a Higher Dimension.

  2. Cultivate a relationship with your Inner Teacher: Develop a trusting relationship with this Presence of Love.

  3. Tend your garden: Take care business...deal with your "human-ness."

  4. Give selflessly: Apply the new teachings, give what you would have, teach what you would learn.

In actuality, they all work together...while you are studying a teaching, you may be feeling a connection to a Loving Presence/Inner Teacher, for example. But for discussion's sake, let's talk about them as distinct areas.


1) Find/Study a Teaching: Fill your mind with new ideas from a Higher Dimension.

At some point early in our investigation of spiritual ideas, we do well to choose a new teaching and stick to it. The right path for you is the one that you deeply resonate with. It should have an attraction for you...a Love that you can feel as you read and study, or when you hear about it as shared through others. Your path captivates your thoughts, and you might go a little (or a lot!) "obsessed" about it.


Your path should be coming from a very high teaching...one that is grounded in non-dual principles that lead us away from "good vs. evil" ideas. I say this, because anything else will ultimately keep us in judgment and fear and will not lead to awakening.


Why we need an Intervention

Our egoic consciousness continually "teaches" us, however, it can never produce anything truly new, because all of its "solutions" come from a system of thought that stems from a false belief. This false idea is that there has been a real separation from Unity. This single thought is baked into every specific that it seemingly produces, much like a fractal that replicates in a million forms that all contain the same (in this case, false) kernel.


To awaken from this 3-D experience of false thinking that drives all of our perceptions and experiences is our challenge, or the ultimate goal of spirituality. This goal obviously requires a Teacher/Teaching that comes from outside the system of ego consciousness, but which can can reach us deep within it (where we think we are)...and then lead us out.

We've been going around and around, in a maze of misperception that can be likened to a vast quantum mirror. A Course in Miracles and other teachings for thousands of years have likened this experience to a dream. As we begin to feel the call to awaken, the New Teacher meets us in the dream, but teaches us how to cultivate a new perception of it, so that we can awaken from it -- we learn to see we are the dreamer and we are experiencing the effects of our thoughts. We are not a timebound body in a world of death and suffering, but the One dreaming it.


Choosing a path -- or letting the right path for us be revealed -- is crucial. We need only ask.


"GOD, IF YOU ARE OUT THERE -- SHOW ME A PATH TO PEACE!"


Yes, all-caps means you can yell that into the universe if you feel like it! You are ready, and the answer will come. (I have heard all kinds of stories. Like people going to Barnes & Noble and A Course in Miracles literally falling off the shelf in front of them!)


So, in short, we need a new Teaching from a New Teacher -- or a consciousness "not of this world"-- because as Einstein said, "we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." We all, my Friends, need an Intervention from a Higher Order.

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” ― Albert Einstein

What's more, we will need to study, practice, and review the same potent ideas over and over and over in order to have an experience of the Truth behind them. The ego's thoughts have ruled us for a long time, and it will take a lot of repetition to end the resistance to new ideas from Truth.


Making time for study

Once you have found a path, please spend quality time with its teachings. Fill your mind as often as you can during your days. Use your new teachings to contemplate your problems and life from a new perspective. Make it apply to you and your current condition.


Taking my life as an example, you could say I am "obsessed," but I know many are like me. I read A Course in Miracles (ACIM), I practice the lessons, read books from teachers about ACIM, listen to Youtubes and MP3 recordings of lectures about ACIM ideas. I talk about the ideas with my husband (lucky me that he will listen!), certain clients, and friends. I listen to other teachers who have practices and perspectives that feel helpful and which don't contradict too significantly the ideas of ACIM (see the suggested list at the bottom). At night when I awaken at 2am (which is often!), I may put in my earbuds and listen to more thoughts...especially if there is a fear or anxiety lurking in my mind. When I'm walking or gardening or on the treadmill at the gym, I'm wearing my earbuds and listening to helpful teachings.


In short, I'm often thinking about Forgiveness -- and working to apply it in my life -- day and night. It's not something I do intentionally, even. It's something I can't not do.


You may be different. You may not be obsessed, and, in fact, you may need to remind yourself to read or practice. That is absolutely where we all start. It can happen to me, too, but in different ways and less frequently than it used to. Go gently, and remember, this is a process.


Study leads to feeling a Presence

One last note: As we fill our minds with High Thought/Teachings, we will begin to feel the Presence. This feeling is often what draws us to a particular teaching -- it is not the words, but the power of the Love or Truth that we feel when we read them. This Presence is the calling card for the Teacher within us of Love. This Teacher will direct our steps as we allow. It often takes great healing to end the resistance to following this Love consistently, but that is okay. We start where we start! (I will elaborate more on this piece of the structure in my next post.)


The Invitation

So this is my invitation to you to explore and choose a spiritual teaching to study and commit your time to learning and practicing. In our time of the internet and what seems like a global awakening, we are truly blessed to have easy access to so many teachers and teachings that have worthy expressions of Truth to share with us. Here are just a few I can suggest because I have varying degrees of experience with them:

A Course in Miracles

Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now

Byron Katie - The Work

Joel Goldsmith - The Infinite Way

Adyashanti

Jon Bernie

Helen Hamilton

Rupert Spira

Mooji

Robert Adams

Nisargadatta Maharaj - I Am That

Ramana Maharshi

The Bhagavad Gita



You may choose something/someone on this list to explore or something else. And if you bounce around, especially at the beginning, that's okay, too.


In the next three posts, I will unpack the three remaining areas of a structured spiritual life.


* * *

My intention with these articles is to offer practical tips and helpful perspective to spiritual seekers. My own path is A Course in Miracles, but I hope my guidance is useful to readers no matter what path they are on.


I also see clients one-on-one in my Reno office and on Zoom. Are you looking for support through Reiki, Angel Guidance, or Spiritual Life Coaching? Set up your session or 15-minute free consultation call by booking online.


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