The End of Suffering

The End of Suffering

The End of Suffering

How we think about spirituality and how we position spiritual philosophies to the general public matters. Once a specific type of belief takes hold in the collective and becomes popularized, it’s like inserting a piece of code into the human program. It’s just accepted as fact and no one thinks to question it.

One of those assumed facts is this fundamental notion that souls incarnate on earth specifically to experience suffering, that we require suffering to grow, and that our souls make contracts with other souls to abuse and be abused in horrific ways so that we can learn lessons.

These kinds of ideas came into being during a time when people (or specifically to people who) didn’t know anything about physics or the physical nature of the universe, so their ideas of reincarnation and soul contracts were understood through a linear lens. We now know that time is only experienced linearly through human perception, which means the linear view of incarnation is a distortion. That distortion has taken root as a fundamental belief in new age philosophy and gets perpetuated as the idea that we choose abusive experiences, that we have contracts with our abusers. This leads to all kinds of problematic ideas and beliefs, and heavily contributes to spiritual gaslighting, victim shaming, and a lack of personal and social accountability.

Learn more about why soul contracts are problematic.

We’re at a time now where consciousness is expanding and we’re learning more about our physical universe and science and that means that we need to review these old beliefs and recognize that they’re not totally accurate.

New Agers talk about ascension as being about Christ Consciousness returning to earth.

The first thing Jesus did in the time he was living was to start telling the people why the Old Testament is bullshit, and show them a new way. That’s why he was considered a heretic.

We’re in that time again, now. The old ways are dying, and that includes old toxic spiritual beliefs. It’s time to start viewing New Age fundamentalists in the same way we view Christian fundamentalists.

Mainstream spirituality: We choose to incarnate on earth to experience suffering.

 

My spirituality: We choose to incarnate on earth to facilitate healing. Earth is a shit hole. Our previous incarnations made it this way. We choose to incarnate on it to correct it and help end the suffering. We experience suffering in the process because… Earth is a shit hole. You know that thing that psychics say about people incarnating here and “getting stuck in karma”? That’s what they’re talking about. Falling into the toxic patterns that were crated on earth instead of healing them.

One of these belief systems leaves us open to a purpose and the promise that things can get better, if we do what we came here to do (clear Earth’s karma). The other is just… senseless suffering.

When I present people with the idea that the ways they’ve been thinking about spirituality are toxic, fear-based, and distorted, they immediately push back. They always have. People want to cling to their cages because their cages feel safe and familiar.

To quote my friend Susan, “We are here to usher in the end of suffering.” That doesn’t just mean the physical manifestations of oppression and abuse that we experience in our lives, it means excommunicating it from our philosophies and our belief systems.

You were not born to suffer. You were born in this time, in this place, create a new world, to heal and thrive.

Xo,

Ash

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New to Spirituality?

Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.

How Toxic Spirituality Taught You To Gaslight yourself

How Toxic Spirituality Taught You To Gaslight yourself

How Toxic Spirituality Taught You To Gaslight yourself

An unfortunate side-effect of toxic positivity and love and light brainwashing is that it not only creates the perpetual repression of emotions which are deemed negative, but also increases the likelihood of codependent behaviors like people-pleasing, or fawning.

Toxic spirituality is mired in spiritual narcissism. As such, many of us experience symptoms of narcissistic abuse under the guise of spiritual teachings. By dismissing your own perceived negative thoughts and feelings about others, you are conditioned to turn off your internal guidance system which might otherwise alert you to predatory behavior.

You begin to engage in self-gaslighting, ignoring your own intuition, boundaries, morals, and values.

Learn more about spiritual abuse

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched people–healers even!–try to talk themselves out of being angry or disliking someone or speaking out against someone who is obviously and blatantly doing or promoting things that are antithetical to spirituality because they confuse it with being negative or self-righteous or just a projection of their own shadow.

It’s OKAY to not like someone who is doing a disservice to the collective.

And when you gaslight yourself into keeping quiet about those people, you enable them. When it comes to toxic behavior, you don’t have to stay in your lane. Expressing your anger is not being negative. Standing up for what IS right is not self-righteousness.

Certainly, ask yourself those questions when those kinds of feelings arise, but the answer is not always that you are just jealous/envious/triggered/self-righteous. Sometimes the answer is righteous, especially if you know yourself, and have done the work, know your values and what you stand for.

We have A LOT of problems in the spiritual community and A LOT of problematic people, but they continue to do harm and lead others astray because as a community, we’ve been brainwashed that to challenge someone or be challenged is being “negative,” and a lot of the people being challenged will gaslight the fuck out of you by accusing you of projection and being egoic.

Learn to identify the five toxic spiritual people you should avoid.

Those people are the ones projecting. Reality is not as subjective as they would like you to believe. Not everything is a matter of perspective. Some perspectives are based on delusions. And some people are objectively in the wrong.

I’ve seen this a lot. Hell, I’ve been this person. But over the last three-four years, I’ve stopped telling myself that I need to like everybody. There’s been a multitude of experiences that have helped me realize that.

One was a girl who, upon seeing her photo in a group of friends for the first time, I immediately got a bad vibe. There was nothing in particular about her appearance that was off-putting. I just knew she was bad news.

 

Later, a mutual friend asked me to take her on as a client. Even though I had a really bad feeling about it, I told myself that “lightworkers should help everyone who wants it,” and kept ignoring and dismissing my visceral dislike of her, even going so far as to tell myself it must be a symptom if my own insecurity.

 

Fast-forward two weeks after she had taken what I told her in our session and posted it to her social media followers as though it was her own, and my visceral dislike was thoroughly validated. As if that wasn’t enough, she would later go on to lie and use me as a means of hurting said friend and sabotage our relationship, and hurt both of us deeply.

 

If I had listened to my gut instead of thinking I had to be nice to everybody, I *may* have avoided some pain.

Another example from several years earlier:

My ex father-in-law had gotten into politics and was hosting a meet and greet for an up and coming gubernatorial candidate named Eric Greitens. Lots of people I knew had been talking him up. He was a Rhodes Scholar, attended Oxford, was a former Navy Seal, humanitarian, book author, and founded a nonprofit for veterans.

 

After I actually met him in person, I had a very different impression.

 

In the car on the way home, I told my ex husband, “I don’t trust that guy as far as I can throw him. He’s fake. Everything about him is calculated.”

 

But he went on to win the race, and shortly thereafter, my intuition was once again validated:

 

A scandal broke—he’d handcuffed and blindfolded his married mistress during his campaign run and taken compromising photos of her. He was using revenge porn as a means of blackmail to keep quiet. His wife was pregnant at the time. Real classy guy.

 

In addition to running on a family values platform, he also beat the whole, “I’m not a career politician” thing to death on the campaign trail. Never mind the fact that he purchased ericgreitensforpresident.com seven years prior to running for governor.

 

As I said: calculated.

Listen to your intuition, boys and girls. Sometimes that strong disdain is there for a damn good reason and if you keep your mouth shut, those people go on to wreak havoc.

Xo,

Ash

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Trauma-Informed Spirituality

Trauma-Informed Spirituality

Trauma-Informed Spirituality

Not all forms of modern spirituality are equal. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I have talked a lot about toxic spirituality, especially lately, and have always held up fear-based beliefs or otherwise questionable spiritual ideas for scrutiny and examination.

The main issue with toxic spirituality is that it lacks the kind of nuance which is required for it to be applicable to the lived experiences of all individuals on the planet, which is somewhat ironic considering the entire purpose of existence, according to New Agers, is to live and experience.

According to the Buddha, and many other mainstream religions, as well as Friedrich Nietzsche, to live is to suffer.

At least we call agree there: life on earth as we know it is inherently traumatic.

And yet, modern forms of religion and New Age spirituality, particularly in the West, have a tendency to gloss over this trauma and encourage people to ignore it, think positive, and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Trauma-Informed Spirituality

Trauma-informed spirituality acknowledges the impacts of trauma in individual life experiences. Rather than dismissing trauma through overly-simplistic spiritual concepts, trauma-informed spirituality accounts for nuance and trauma’s impact on the nervous system and aims to create a safe container for individuals with trauma to reconnect with and feel safe in their own skin. In order for them to do that, the practitioners and communities themselves must be well-versed in the ways that trauma affects the nervous system and the impact this has on mental health, as well as tactics for creating safe environments. Its goal is to utilize spiritual philosophies and practices to aid in the healing process.

Trauma-informed spirituality understands the connection between trauma and society, as well as ancestral trauma and the ways this trauma is passed down from generation to generation through familial relationships and cultural climates. It takes into account the kinds of trauma that people may face depending on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any combination of those things.

Trauma-Informed Spiritual Practitioners

Trauma-informed spiritual practitioners not only understand how trauma impacts one’s thoughts, they also understand its ongoing influence on the nervous system and know how to recognize the signs of a trauma response in progress.

Trauma-informed spiritual practitioners look at their practices through this lens, whether it be a physical or emotional healing practice, or forms of divination.

For example:

  • a trauma-informed astrologer or tarot reader has a thorough understanding of nuance when it comes to victim-shaming and creates a safe container for their clients.
  • a trauma-informed reiki practitioner or somatic healer understands the nuances of touch as they pertain to victims of physical trauma.
  • trauma informed spiritual practitioners understand how certain triggers may affect a client and are careful with any material that may feel threatening to a client’s nervous system.
  • trauma-informed spiritual practitioners are aware of the power dynamics at play in the practitioner/client relationship and understand their role in wielding that power responsibly.

Trauma-informed spiritual practitioners have a thorough understanding of boundaries and personal safety, and can guide their clients back to a sense safety during a trauma response to avoid retraumatization and aid their clients in safely processing that trauma.

Most importantly, a trauma-informed practitioner has identified and worked on their own trauma so that it does not complicate their ability to work with others.

When you consider that everyone has some form of trauma, and that trauma is at the root of almost all of our societal issues, the importance of becoming trauma-informed, especially when working with others in a spiritual guidance or healing capacity, becomes abundantly clear.

Tips for Creating a Trauma-Informed Spiritual Practice

  1. Thoroughly understand the nuances of healthy boundaries
  2. Learn to identify signs of trauma responses: fight, freeze, flight, or fawn
  3. Consult with clients about their triggers and trauma history before a session
  4. Learn about the mental and emotional struggles that trauma victims face, including societal backlash
  5. Work through your own trauma first
  6. Understand that you may not be qualified to work with every kind of trauma

 

Xo,

Ash

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New to Spirituality?

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Abuse and The Law of Attraction

Abuse and The Law of Attraction

Abuse and The Law of Attraction

For a community that is supposed to be focused on love, light, and healing, New Agers have invented and contributed to some of the most toxic, harmful, bullshit ideologies on the planet, and nine times out of ten, the Law of Attraction is behind it.

One of those toxic ideologies is that people manifest their own abusive experiences through Law of Attraction, including children. I’ve written previously about the topic of manifesting abusive experiences, but I didn’t go in-depth on the Law of Attraction in that post, which I will do today.

I’m just going to come right out and say it: No. Unequivocally, children do not manifest their own abuse through Law of Attraction.

What Law of Attraction zealots want you to believe, particularly those who are making money from coaching people to manifest the life of their dreams, is that you are the all powerful, absolute creator of the totality of your experience, the God of your own world, and you can have absolutely anything your heart desires–all you have to do to harness this power is think positive thoughts and set an intention about what you want, and the Universal vending machine will deliver it up to you on a silver platter!

It’s bullshit.

Try manifesting a physical living breathing unicorn in your back yard using that ideology and let me know how it goes.

This line of thinking is actually a form of separation consciousness because it downplays, ignores, or outright denies the interconnected nature of our human experiences. Yes, you are a creative being and you have the ability to shape the world around you, but it is not as simplistic as these opportunistic gurus would have you believe.

I’m going to return to the book that I refer to as my bible today, Conversations with God.

Thought + Word + Deed = Manifestation

There’s a reason that magick involves intentions, incantations, and rituals. They are the thoughts, the words, and the actions to bring one’s vision to life.

And not just any ole thoughts…the sponsoring thought.

What is a sponsoring thought? The sponsoring thought is your deeply held beliefs about yourself and the world around you, much of which exists on a subconscious level until you engage in the appropriate amount of shadow work to uncover them. Until that point, you’re manifesting from your trauma, your wounds, and your self-limitations rather than fully-embodied consciousness.

Learn about shadow work’s role in spirituality.

Chances are, the shit you’re trying to manifest if you haven’t done this work is going to be materialistic and egoic and end up causing more harm than good.

Another famous line from Conversations with God:

 

“My will is your will, but your will is not my will.”

What that means is, God wants you to be the creator, and that entails having the free will to do what thou wilt, even if it isn’t in alignment with the highest good, however, what God wills for you is that you rise to your highest potential. Once your will is in alignment with God’s will, you have become the creator.

In simpler terms, once you’ve done the work, your idea about what might make you happy and the things that you desire will be on much healthier footing, and you’ll be able to manifest them a lot easier because they will be in alignment with your higher consciousness, not your lower desires, which typically end up creating nasty karmic consequences–the old “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.” Watch Wonder Woman 1984 for a general idea of how well that might go…

This is precisely why a lot of the better spiritual teachers out there will tell you that attempting to manifest anything is a useless endeavor until you’ve done the work, and why some witches abide by the three-fold rule (whatever you do comes back to you three fold). It’s why the ancient mystery schools had initiation processes, and its why most orders still do today (If you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend listening to this podcast interview with Damien Echols), and the ones who are trash are just reinforcing toxic positivity, spiritual bypassing, and rampant materialism.

So no, your passing thoughts and random fears are not going to literally manifest if you think about them for two seconds. Or even an hour. It is likely, however, that a great deal of your thoughts and fears are a part of some greater subconscious belief system or attitude which you are helping to perpetuate (and thus, manifest) into the world around you.

The Secret: Prosperity Gospel for the New Age

It’s a much better marketing gimmick if the charlatans can convince you that you’re the singular God of your own universe instead of a part of a divine global collective of interconnected beings co-creating together. It’s the influence of western cultural values that prize individualism above community, domination over cooperation, manifest destiny, and so on. As I mentioned earlier, this is a form of separation consciousness and an avenue to avoid social responsibility. Toss in a heavy dose of capitalism and materialism and you have Americanized spirituality.

But these overly-simplified ideas about Law of Attraction gloss over this important fact: we are not individually the only creator on this planet. We live in a co-created world with other people who are endowed with the same creative potential that we are, and we’re all co-creating our existence every single day, with every conscious or subconscious belief we have that influences our thoughts and attitudes, which in turn influence the words we speak and the actions we take. Our actions directly affect other people in the world around us. That’s precisely how we’ve manifested the world we live in today…and what a spectacular shit show!

Wait–are we responsible for this mess?!

Collectively, yes. Humanity as a whole, throughout time, created this world and all of the fear and trauma and oppression that exists within it evolved out of the unhealed wounds and the unconscious actions perpetrated from those wounds.

On an individual level, we perpetuate that trauma by manifesting–through actions, cause, and effect–from our unconscious belief systems built upon unhealed wounds–or, we heal it by expanding our conscious awareness of ourselves, eliminating destructive belief systems, choosing constructive actions, and taking responsibility for ourselves and the creative role we have in the world around us.

Child Abuse and Ancestral Karma

In a previous post on this topic I wrote:

A child’s first experience with abuse can never be the result of their own thoughts because the experience has never entered into their awareness. Especially when we are children, we haven’t yet fully developed a sense of self–our brains don’t even finish forming until we’re 25–and we are at the mercy of the adult/child power dynamic. Therefore, any abuse perpetrated on a child by an adult can never be the result of Law of Attraction.

Children don’t have the luxury of making their own decisions or truly thinking for themselves. They don’t manifest abuse, because abuse is karmic.

Remember this: karma trumps Law of Attraction every time.

When I say karmic, I don’t mean the notion that karma is some kind of punishment for past (life) transgressions. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Hurt people hurt people?” All of that stuff I just talked about–manifesting from unhealed wounds? The consequences of the “manifesting” we do (a.k.a. the actions we take) from unhealed wounds is our karmic contribution to the collective. Karma is the energetic legacy we leave behind us. It stays here on the planet and affects those who come after us.

Ancestral karma is when that energy is passed down through generations of a family lineage. Child abuse is ancestral karma: a learned pattern from the previous generation inflicted upon the next.

Children come into this world as a blank slate, with no deeply held belief systems. Our parents are the only reference we have for what the world means for the first several years of our existence. We are completely at the mercy of these people’s actions. They have ultimate authority and power over us, and because we need to survive above all else, that means attempting to bond with the people we are dependent upon for survival.

We have no real choice about what to think or believe at this stage of our lives. Abusive adults wield this power dynamic in unhealthy ways, causing trauma. That trauma, when left unhealed in an adult, manifests as more unhealthy power dynamics, abusive behaviors, and/or destructive coping mechanisms, inflicting more trauma onto their children, and so the cycle goes.

You were never responsible for what happened to you when you were too young to think for yourself, and you did not manifest it. Those experiences were inflicted upon you by an adult who held power over you.

So What About Now?

Law of Attraction advocates tout that you attract to you everything that you experience, like metal to a magnet. What if it’s the other way around? What if you’re not the magnet… but the metal? At least for as long as you exist in an unconscious stage of manifestation?

Let’s take relationships, for example: we’re often attracted to people who exhibit the same toxic or abusive behavioral patterns as our parents did.

Those who grew up in a household with an abusive parent or had an otherwise chaotic childhood learned from those experiences that this is what love looks and feels like. And that’s not their fault–it’s the only thing they’ve ever been exposed to. They subconsciously recognize and associate that chaotic feeling with love, and that’s what they are attracted to in potential partners. They probably walk past healthy potential partners all day long and never give them a second glance, or if they do, their coping mechanisms cause the relationship to self-destruct before it ever gets off the ground (ask me how I know…).

It’s not that you’re manifesting abusive experiences for yourself, it’s that you’re responding to your subconscious childhood programming–until you become aware of the patterns.

When we heal the patterns, we become the magnet instead of the metal. We can begin to discard old beliefs, recognize our patterns, heal our trauma, shift our perspectives and attitudes, and take actions that have healthier consequences–both for ourselves and everyone that we are connected to here on earth. We become a conscious co-creator of our collective reality. We liberate ourselves, and each other.