Life After Religion

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Over the past two years, the majority of people who have contacted me for mentoring or taken my classes have either left, or are in the process of leaving religion.

Many empaths and highly sensitive people find religious environments debilitating to their sensitivities because it is often spiritual bypass2preached that emotions are “wicked,” and unreliable. Many religions ignore emotions at best, or demonize their purpose and function.

(So why do we have them, then? Small malfunction on God’s part, I suppose?!)

Although Jesus’s message was all about the heart (and he was the ultimate empath), many churches value the mind, “right practice,” and “right doctrine” over personal experience, and prioritize doctrine above individuals. Spiritual bypassing is rampant, congregants bury their emotions in duty in an attempt to “die to themselves” (rather than nurture and expand “the well-spring of life”  — which is THE HEART – Psalm 4:23), and in the end, they’re left feeling spiritually empty and exhausted. They kill their passion, lose heart, and call it moral fiber.

Being ardently committed and passionate about doctrine or a “plan of salvation” is not the same as spiritual growth and expansion, and for empaths, this kind of “mind over emotion” environment is deadly.

Because I have SO MANY empaths contact me who are in this transition period out of religion, I thought I’d share some common themes I’ve noticed, things to be aware of, and resources that may help the process.

Themes I’ve noticed:

*Most people who outgrow religion feel they have nowhere to go. They either carry a chip on their shoulder about religion and turnemotional bypass

off all aspects of spirituality out of (understandable) anger, OR float around aimlessly with no sense of connection to others and no clear moral compass.

*For those who come from a strong Christian background this is especially true, as most Christians have a deep sense of community/family, and when you leave, no one knows quite what to do with you. It’s not that they’ve stopped loving you or no longer care, they just don’t know how to relate to you anymore. And leaving the religion feels like you’re leaving THEM. And in a sense, you are.

*Many who leave religion often go through a pendulum swing, trading a life of duty/service/rules, to a maelstrom of drugs, sex, and partying. This swing typically causes them to eventually go back to religion and shut down their hearts even further, because they never learned to trust themselves. They never learned moderation. They never figured out who they are OR resurrected their hearts. They simply tried to numb the pain by releasing all their suppression in one fell swoop. And because they made a mess of things, they feel even further convinced that they “need” religion to babysit them, because they’re convinced they are sinful to the core. In my experience (with the people I’ve worked with), this is the most debilitating conclusion one could come to.

Having a system that babysits and monitors your behavior might be good when you’re spiritually young and immature, but Spiritual abuseyou are meant to eventually grow-up. A parent wouldn’t keep their kid in a play pin for the rest of their lives. That’s abuse. We are meant to grow, make mistakes, and learn how to take care of ourselves. Sadly, many churches and religions foster an unhealthy dependence on their system, emphasizing that without them and their rules/standards/structure, the people would be utterly lost and hell-bound. This is the most destructive and emotionally/spiritually stunting system a person can submit themselves to.

So what can you do?

If you’re coming out of religion, here are some tips to help you stay grounded/healthy:

*Connect with others who are in your shoes: When I first left religion, I didn’t have friends for a while – at least not any that I felt truly understood my heart. I still believed in (and had a relationship with) that which I called “God,” but I was exploring what that meant outside of the programming I’d been raised with; I had no desire to abandon it entirely. I simply needed to feel authentic, a feeling I deeply lacked in the religious environment. There were too many things I did not resonate with, and I just couldn’t lie anymore. It wasn’t until I connected with others who were on a spiritually “open” (and expanded) path that I began to truly find myself again.

Check-out Meet-up groups in your area, or connect with groups on online (Facebook has a ton). I also explored YouTube videos and found others like me (YAY), some who have become very close friends. Finding your “tribe” is an important part of the exit journey. You might be surprised how many people out there are on your same path.

*Know the withdrawal stagesThis will vary for each person (depending on how severe the religious programming hasYield to Love been). For me, it wasn’t entirely excruciating, because although I was raised around religion my entire life (including fundamentalism) I managed to escape all the extremes, and the one church I grew up going to was pretty mild, open, and free (emphasis on having a relationship with Jesus, not on the “church” itself). But I also never deeply connected to it. I’m not sure why that is, but I have NEVER been able to connect deeply to any organization. It just didn’t resonate…and never has.

But for some of my friends/family who were in pretty extreme/fundamentalist groups, it is a much more painful, excruciating, and even terrifying process to exit. If you were raised or deeply programmed in a religion that preaches legalism and constant fear of hell, it’s extremely difficult to leave (and all the more crucial that you do, when you’re ready).

*Join support groups – especially if you’ve been in anything that resembles a cult. Again, Facebook and Google communities have groups that help people who are leaving fundamentalism. It’s important to connect with others who understand the process you are going through (so you don’t feel alone). And it wouldn’t hurt to consider therapy. A lifetime of religious programming takes time to be free from. You don’t walk away unscathed. A lot of unhealthy beliefs stay with you. And frankly, most religions don’t equip you for living a healthy life outside of their boundaries. Get the support you need.

*Have compassion on yourself. I think one of the biggest challenges people who leave extreme fundamentalism have is spiritual abuse 2the ridicule and tone of ridiculousness they (and others) have toward them(selves) “how could you have ever believed in that?!”

Remember that the reasons you were in religion is because on some level it served a purpose, and the purpose is different for everyone. For some, religion was simply a stepping stone on their path of spiritual awakening, for others, it served as an escape from a destructive or abusive life.

Extreme religion often appeals to those who’ve been abused because of the strong boundaries many fundamentalist uphold. The organization will often feel “clean” and “safe” and offers an immediate sense of family and support. This is not only appealing for the abused person, but can initially feel deeply healing. The strong boundaries gives the initiate an opportunity to feel “safe” and hear messages about God – and that initial experience, regardless of how abusive the church/cult may turn out to be, is always the hardest thing to grapple with when one considers leaving. They feel the church “saved” them or that God spoke to them (or led them) there, and if they leave, it would be denying that experience.

Leaving religion also causes people to question their ability to hear God speak. This alone can be devastating. When you are raised in an environment that teaches you to listen to them (or their doctrine) above your own intuition/inner-knowing, it severely damages your ability to tune-in to your own inner guidance system. Putting your faith and trust in something external from you is disempowering. Period. It is impossible to be truly (ultimately) free when you give your power away to a person, an organization, or any doctrinal idea.

It’s okay to honor and respect your decision to be in religion. You don’t have to demonize the experience, but you also don’t have to stay in it. Every experience we have is here to teach us, and when we judge the process, we limit the understanding.

However, it is equally important to realize we grow out of things. Just as we go to 1st grade, then 2nd, then 3rd, we’re not meant to stay in the same place spiritually forever, and after a person gains a sense of safety/foundation and feels strong enough to go deeper, they often feel stunted and trapped, the once appealing religious standards now become stifling to further growth.

This typically causes one to feel a tremendous amount of guilt, (with the extra bonus of fear if the church is one that stressed the consequence of eternal damnation.)

Leaving fundamentalism can be a huge psychological mind f*&K and it takes some time to be free from the fear. But Spiritual abuse 3freedom does come, and often, if you love yourself enough to continue to go deeper with your spiritual growth, you find more freedom, love, and harmony than you’ve ever had in the church/group you were a part of. God is not a building, and spiritual growth is not limited to a group of people. Peace and expansion, as well as a deeper (and more freeing) experience of the Divine awaits all who love themselves enough to receive it.

God is not in a box. Why should you be?

Here are some resources:

Withdrawal Stages from Spiritually Abusive Systems (check out link)

(For those who ARE Christian, but have left religion or are perhaps feeling spiritually dead, this John Eldridge talk is the perfect reminder that there is nothing religious about Jesus. It’s possible to be a Jesus follower and be deeply in touch with your heart, your emotions, and your vulnerability. In fact, it’s essential:

For those who are ready to move beyond religion entirely, here are some things to challenge your spiritual journey for further growth:

Meet Jared Domenico: Chakra Center’s Newest Contributor

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We are thrilled to introduce you to Jared Domenico, musician, energy healer, and our newest (and first male) contributor at Chakra Center. We asked Jared to stop by today and chat with us a bit about his life, his unique form of energy work,  his creative ambitions!

Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about your Awakening? (What got you interested in all this spiritual/quantum/distant healing/esoteric stuff?)

It’s always been there. I remember being a kid, laying in Sun_and_Moon_by_Ziasbed at night and sometimes having long conversations with what adults might call God, Source, The Universe, your guides…of course as a child I didn’t have or need a name for it. I’ve read that a fair number of children speak to themselves at night in some manner or other.

I’m not sure what other adults may recall of such experiences, but I distinctly remember feeling like I was connecting to something deep inside, and yet also “out there” in the vastness. During adolescence, I became attracted to crystals and meditation for a short time, but then put that down for years. I did, nonetheless, make a conscious choice in my early teens that what felt good and true to me was better than being perceived as cool, which changed my peer group and my life.

The rest of my teens and early twenties were filled with abundant creativity, and though those old friends I shared that with are not the first people I think of when I think of  a site like Chakra Center’s readership, all of that artistry around me made me fluent in connecting to my intuition and the life force. Plus I was surrounded by kind and loving people.

I can’t separate my creative life from my spiritual life (though when I was younger they felt more separated, and I struggled with it). They feed one another. I feel that I draw from the same source whether I’m writing a song or sending energy healing.

Additionally, while growing up my parents had a lot of books on the shelf about positive thinking or spiritual topics, which of course shaped me as well. As did their unconditional love. I just followed my nose, and as I got older I got deeper into more books I’d find on my own, as well as healthy eating,  meditation, yoga, starting to receive energy healing…

I also must mention that as a teenager, I was involved in my (Roman Catholic) school and church for a few years. I remember, for example, doing readings at mass, and trying to understand what the words were conveying. And being involved in the retreat program at my high school. And being moved by the message of Jesus. I also returned to a church for a time more recently to explore it as an adult, that time a Protestant church. I was looking for the roots of Christianity–it gave me a stronger sense of what that tradition can mean at its core, and also about Judaism (the church I attended had a lot of sermons that were more like a course in Bible history) but ultimately, I did not agree with the doctrine. These experiences, however, are certainly part of my story and drive for understanding.

I did have one period around age eleven or twelve when, out of the blue, I experimented with sending healing (in this case hands on) to a close family member who was complaining of a chronic physical ailment. We did this on a few occasions and the ailment subsided. But as funny as it sounds, I never really followed up with doing more of that type of thing until recently. It remained just an outlier experience in my life while growing up.

In my case, what people might call an “Awakening” has been a knob gradually getting turned up, rather than a switch getting flipped. Having said all that, there was a period of compromised health I experienced last year that came out of nowhere and is still something of a mystery. And that period turned out to be a huge amp up for all of this. I had to put a lot of my life on hold, which lead to a lot of reflection, and a tremendous increase in the amount of material I could take in via reading, videos and podcasts. I lacked energy to such a degree that one good side effect was that it got me more out of my head and into the intuitive heart space.

It was during this period, with my defenses down, that I re-discovered my energetic healing abilities. Within days of that discovery, I also dug up a notebook of old poetry I wrote when I was a pre-teen and very early teen.  The writings talk of, among other things, mental travel, telepathy, the network of shrines and temples around the world, Egypt, Atlantis, Stonehenge, hidden knowledge, parallel timelines, rituals, communicating with all kinds of life…a whole bunch of things. And a lot of which I had little to no conscious knowledge or understanding of at the time. This was before I was older and read those aforementioned books on my parents’ shelf, and even so, their books were of a much different ilk.  Discovering those poems floored me and confirmed a lot.

What does healing mean for you?

A journey of aligning with the inherent balance and universal loving intelligence that undergirds your particular individual expression in this life. The more you let go and align with this, the more support you have for your sovereign journey (the ability to move with ease and grace, increased wisdom, energy, joy, peace of mind, abundance, etc.)

Sometimes it is the healthiest body that reacts strongest and quickest to imbalance, because it is in touch with this true life force essence. Therefore I take a more quantum and broader view of health. Is the person who temporarily appears energetic but runs on caffeine and alcohol and turbulent emotions healthier than someone else sick in bed whose body is trying to purge what’s unnecessary? I’d say the former may just be better aligned with the imbalances of the modern world! But that will eventually bite you in the ass.

What is Distance Healing?

It’s energy healing. The only difference in distance healing is that the people involved use means other than physical proximity by which to connect. I know that sounds funky to some. It took a while for me to wrap my head around it. I started as a recipient and had no idea I’d one day be a healer.

Ultimately, if cellular phone signals, electricity, and other forces can travel great distances in the blink of an eye, it makes sense to me that the more powerful and varied energies that emanate from a human being can do the same. The fact that everything is ultimately one thing doesn’t hurt either!

Energy work focuses on the subtle (non-physical) aspects of a person’s makeup, but of course that can affect the physical expression as well (as evidenced from some of the feedback I’ve received when I send healing). It’s kind of like an actor preparing for a role. Some of the work is inner and emotional. But putting on the costumes and getting on the set–the physicality of it– furthers the actor’s ability to inhabit the character. I believe people would do well to optimize both, and of course the relationship between the two. Which ultimately aren’t two things. It’s all one thing.

I currently see this energetic work as a great complement to (NOT a replacement for) more physical approaches, be they established modern technologies, or “alternative medicine.” Discernment is always paramount.

From the feedback I receive, there’s a few ways in which people typically derive benefit (there’s a lot more to it, this is a broad summary). One is that something subconscious just lifts or is cleared. The recipient feel good. Sometimes that’s enough. In other cases, from that state of feeling good, the recipient is more apt to discover what will keep them feeling good. Sometime after the session, with an increased awareness of what they need, they make a discovery or decision. Say they realize that they need a cleaner diet. Then they finally have the clarity and conviction to go to a nutritionist.

At other times, a recipient of the healing may discover something new and specific, something brought to light, in my follow up email (because I get energetic readings during the sessions I perform as well). These sometimes bring subconscious patterns to the conscious mind. Again, that act can be a healing in and of itself, or bring someone to the point where they then know what they need next.

Tell us a bit about your new website (what are you intentions with this new project?)…

Some of my intentions:

-Sharing my values of creating and experiencing “beautiful fun” and thriving in life.

-Creating a place where great people can connect and inspire one another.

-Sharing the different things I do in a dynamic yet united manner.

-Exercising courage.

-Transmuting and re-framing a lot of  mainstream cultural assumptions, and aligning with/participating in the aspects of the world that hold the most    love, light, and evolutionary power.

I move energy and reveal energy as a musician, healer, and general communicator. Creative expression through the arts was intimately connected with healing, prophecy, energy work, and the unending quest for wisdom in many older societies. I feel I’m part of a through line bringing that tradition into the present time-space. My new website serves as one of the main ways for me to share it all under one roof and communicate with others.

Anything I create, the way to contact me for healing work, and any news will go through the site. However, I was very very keen on creating a community. I love conversations, and a couple of online groups I’ve been part of have changed my life (funny since I never used to be one for that). So there’s also ways people can share their own things on the site, and connect with one another.

This is all brand new at the time of this writing (early Feb. 2013). It’s going live as I debut here on Chakra Center and also have my first major radio interview (on the wonderful Molly McCord’s Conscious Cool Chic podcast).

What about your new column on ChakraCenter.org? What kind of information can people look forward to?

It’s called Ever Onward. The name implies unending expansion, evolution, growth in the light, the soul’s journey.

While admittedly broad, what gives it more focus is that I will often take topics or issues from mainstream culture, or things perhaps with a challenging or controversial undertone, and examine how they can be flipped around to benefit those walking the path of the heart. Or, how changing our perspectives on such topics can serve as a way to develop deeper compassion for those individuals choosing life experiences that may be denser, more turbulent, less conscious.

In other words, I’ll often use decidedly “non-spiritual” topics as springboards for discussion. I like Eckhart Tolle’s quote “everything can be used, but nothing is needed.” We can go through and transmute some of the stuff we encounter in day to day life that at first blush seems dense and limiting.

I anticipate that the writings will veer more towards being essays that offer the reader some for food for thought, rather than being instructional in nature. While there are certainly times for retreat,  I generally believe in facing the world and walking through it and in it. This provides a means by which to grow in your own light, and offer light to others. Participating, being the change you wish to see, as Gandhi said.

People with interests like ours can be catalysts and alchemists.

What is the Ultimate Dream for your life?

This question implies putting your better days in the future, which is tricky. In the general sense I’m already living it–I’m at peace with myself, surrounded by love, get to create and express what’s in my heart, and share with others in mutual growth and benefit. Everything else to be added is icing.

I understand that the question is a way to ask me what I value. And of how to negotiate this human life on Earth, which necessarily limits and fragments the Ultimate.

I would say then, that my dream is the same for me individually as it is for everyone else and the entire world: to be so radically present and so on fire with love that all else burns away and transforms in that.

What advice would you give to others who want to find their joy path but aren’t quite sure how to move forward?

Haha I feel funny giving advice. If someone feels blocked or in pain (and of course I do too at times), then I can only repeat what so many others have already said.

No one can give you anything, but rather provide you with clues to help you open up the box of treasures that you’re already sitting on. Be present.

When you feel pain and don’t sit with it to understand its message, then the root cause remains. The root is something imbalanced that needs your attention. It’s a signal. Do not distract yourself. Let there be times in your day when you’re not using your phone or computer or fantasizing or analyzing. Let there be entire days like that.

Breathe deeply and feel your body. Feel your being.

Be aware.

Be present.

There are a lot of “New Agey” words and phrases thrown around these days. What does The Shift mean to you?

That a way of being is becoming more prevalent. That the path of the spirit and heart is getting out there a little more, and being seen as a little less woo woo by more and more people.

It is ultimately not an attempt to spread an idea, and therefore not a religion or political ideology. Sure, there are ideas that support and fuel it, but it is really a posture, a feeling, an understanding  that animates your life. It puts such different emphases on the menu of elements that comprise a human being, while awakening what have long now been dormant elements, that any attempt to interface with it using old paradigms falls short. That, in fact, is partially why many people in what we call Western society (which really is everywhere in the world now) dismiss this stuff with that “woo woo” label.

For many people, there’s no framework, support, or language for a lot of this.

It takes such a different energetic and mental posture, that it’s actually sometimes beyond the analogy of  “speaking different languages.” It’s beyond, say, translating a poem from English to French. For some, it might as well be trying to translate a poem from English to math. There’s no common reference, no similar architecture. That is, if a person is only trying to use the intellect (which is largely how we’re all groomed of course).

I love the intellect, it’s a prime human gift, am thankful for my education, and hopefully am using it decently as I write this! But as I stated above: it’s about new balances among the elements that make you a human.

It is the heart and the intuitive mind that can initially make the leaps over the hurdles the intellect just wants to study. As they say, the intellect is a great manager, but in the grander scheme of your life’s vision, an over-cautious and ineffective CEO. So individually and collectively, we’re looking at an opportunity for a re-structuring.

Having said all that–I respond to the way people feel to me, and the heart they live with. That takes a back seat to doctrinal beliefs. While I don’t call myself any one religion and do not believe in an anthropomorphic creator-being watching over us, I’m still comfortable with the world  “God.” I mention that to say this: I’ve met people who call themselves atheists who I feel are on a very spiritual path and living a heart-based life. So in that instance, it is just a difference of language.

Your actions and lifestyle communicate your real beliefs.

What we call “spirituality” is the language and framework that resonates with me, that makes sense to me.  It’s my native tongue. But at the end of the day, I sniff out and respond to people’s hearts and spirits.

As I said, “the shift” we sometimes hear about concerns a way of being, it’s hopefully spreading, and you know it when you feel it in another. And when you don’t feel it in another, all you can do is still be your authentic self around them. A debate likely won’t change their mind, but maybe feeling your energy will open their heart.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I love hummus.

Jared Domenico is, among other things, a more detailed aboutmusician, energy healer, and communicator. His Chakra Center column, Ever Onward, often utilizes topics that are atypical to spiritual seekers as springboards to discuss transmutation and growth, and to create re-framed perspectives, more understanding, and broadened points of reference. JaredDomenico.com, which started in Feb. 2013, is where you can find him online.

Check-out his first article for Chakra Centerhere.

What is your View on Christianity? How does Writing Help Us Connect to Other Dimensions? FAQ

FAQ, Features, Spirituality, The Crown Chakra, The Heart Chakra

I am in the process of answering a series of frequently asked questions at Chakra Center. I will be posting both audio and regular videos in attempt to answer the questions I receive. Here are my first two:

“Are you a Christian?”

“How does Writing Help You Connect to Your Higher Self?”

How Can it Be? by Teal Swan

Spirituality, Teal Scott, The Crown Chakra

How can it be that the things which cause us the most pain are blessings in disguise?

There are things a person can experience in life which are incomprehensible; things that are so horrific and unimaginably hard that there is no way to covey them. A person can experience things in life that they never come back from. If they do not physically die, a part of them dies and their life changes forever.

To understand how all things come to bless us, we must understand the design of the physical dimension itself:

The physical dimension was designed as a kind of full sensory mirror; a hologram into which a being could project forth over and over again, in various forms in order to have a 3D experience of its own thoughts. We call this 3D experience a manifestation. The immersion experience into its own thoughts was meant to help the being come to preferences (desires).

Once the idea form of those preferences came to fruition, it was intended that the being would then focus purely on the new idea and thus, the 3D hologram would shift to reflect the new idea. And from there the process would begin again and continue endlessly in each life until the being decided that the hologram no longer served in their own expansion in which case they would withdraw their consciousness and cease to engage in the hologram.

The physical dimension was designed to help the Consciousness (so often called “God”), to understand Itself. Through every thought you think and every new idea you give birth to, God not only knows what to become, but also what it is. And as our consciousness expands, the physical hologram begins to reflect the higher dimensional, universal truths that exist beyond it.

Every physical manifestation (whether we call it good or bad), is meant to do one thing: Help us create and comprehend new dimensions of understanding. To help us to learn. Manifestations do this by bringing us to new desires. Our job is to figure out what we are meant to learn from those manifestations, and what we desire based on the experience of those manifestations. After that, our only responsibility is to focus on what we desire (the new idea). This is where we ran into a speed bump.

In the beginning of our incarnation into the physical dimension, we all knew that we would create the hologram of our realities with our mind. It was decided collectively by those observing the physical dimension that this “knowing” was holding back expansion instead of serving it. It was decided that if Oneness can only be understood from the perspective of separateness, then coming into the physical dimension consciously knowing about our connection to God and knowing that we create our own realities with our minds was not enough. It was decided that we could not understand nor desire oneness (that which we really are) unless we came into the physical hologram with a kind of amnesia.

The beings that chose to project themselves into the physical hologram collectively chose to deactivate certain aspects of their DNA. They consciously affected the interface between non physical and physical perspective so the hologram could feel more real and thus inspire us more accurately and intensely towards new desires. They chose to affect the interface so we could fully experience what it was to be separate and thus find our way to the understanding and desire of that which we truly are, which is one.

The problem (really the solution) which occurred when they did this is that collectively, humans in their perspective of disconnection began to believe fully in the hologram. After all, they had deactivated their awareness of what was beyond it. The hologram therefore became more and more real. Humans began to believe that they did not create their own reality.

Instead, they began to believe that reality happened to them. They decided that it was important to accept a static reality, that owning up to reality and studying it according to a Newtonian understanding, was the only way to prevent disaster and pain. Given this new understanding (or lack of understanding), people began to focus on the negative manifestations of the hologram even after the negative manifestations had caused them to give rise to a preference (positive idea).

The manifestations of disconnection (war, illness, loss and victimhood) were getting more and more extreme – extreme enough that the desire to know what was beyond the physical and to feel connected (instead of disconnected) was hatched by a few individuals. When they focused on those new desires, the means by which to re-activate the portion of their DNA which had been de-activated came to them.

Their hologram began to reflect their new desires and understanding and they went on to teach others about their “awakening”. Jesus was one such being. Buddha was another. There have been many. You have called them by a great many names.

But now it is your turn.

It is your turn to see beyond the hologram. Your turn to experience the freedom of creation and understanding. Your turn to reactivate your own dormant layers of DNA.

Why do you worry? Because you are not yet convinced that you create your own reality. You have not looked deep enough to see that you do.  It is survival instinct for you to give attention to what you do not want because if you prepare for (or are at least aware of) the worst case scenario, it will not blind side you, and therefore it will not hurt so badly. What you do not know is that your reality is becoming the exact reflection of whatever you give your attention to. In your worry, you weave the fabric of reality to reflect the image of your own horror and pain.

How can it be that spiritual teachers can simultaneously say that we are all one, that not a single rain drop falls that does not effect us all, while at the same time saying that we create our own individual realities, where no one can impose themselves upon us? It is because this physical reality is a subjective, time space reality.

This is a learning hologram which serves expansion. While oneness is an objective truth, to understand oneness, we must hollographically experience separation from one another. For some who have already expanded past the separation, they have chosen to come back into life with their perceptual instruments (senses) wired towards perceiving the interconnectedness of the universe.

For some, this life will be the life in which their perception opens up to include this truth. For others, it will be many lives before they desire their way into the experience of this truth. Only when you open up to the higher dimensional truth of interconnectedness can the hologram which you call “life” reflect it and prove it to you. When this happens, the only life to live is a life of compassion. You will not be able to bring pain to anyone else without suffering. All are affected with every thought and movement. But not all focused into the physical hologram perceive that yet. Their realities cannot yet provide them that experience.

Our collective reality will contain suffering as long as we do not open ourselves up wide enough to see the interconnectedness of this universe. Our collective reality will contain suffering as long as we do not open ourselves up wide enough to live our lives with compassion. It is all too easy once you open up to compassion, to virtually drown in the pain of what we have collectively created here in this hologram.

It is easy to let the “reality” of suffering drag us into lending energy to the belief that this world is broken, dark, and wrong. Beings that live with compassion are met with the world’s suffering every day. But it is those beings that are open enough to the higher truths of this universe, that do not let themselves drown in the suffering that surrounds them. Rather, they vow to constantly transform the darkness into light. Those who gain a higher perspective understand one minute of joy for one person, is one minute joy for us all. Because of this understanding, they are constantly converting suffering into joy, hatred into love, and powerlessness into limitless freedom.

The questions those with a higher perspective ask in the face of suffering are the questions you must ask if you are to understand how your greatest pain is a blessing in disguise.

And the questions are thus:

1. What am I meant to learn from this?
2. What is this pain causing me to know that I want?
3. What is the positive which has come or could possibly come from this?

These three simple questions are like threads with which to weave your way towards enlightenment. With them you will come to understand this universe. With them, you can learn to lead a wonderful life.

The mysteries of your deepest pain can be exposed as the seeds of your greatest joys. And you will make an enemy of pain no longer. You will cease to convert pain into suffering. And all will stand in gratitude to you. For in your greatest experience of freedom and joy, you set each and every single one of us free.

Teal Swan ,”The Spiritual Catalyst” is a well known Esoteric,  Extrasensory who writes and speaks publicly about spirituality, the meaning of life, God, The Higher Self and the road to health and happiness. Teal is part of the first 1980s wave of indigo children. As a result of her unusual abilities, Teal was taken into a local cult at the age of six and ritualistically tortured for 13 years. Since her escape, Teal has become a spiritual leader, utilizing her extrasensory abilities to educate people about the united, energetic nature of this universe and to teach people how to find both health and bliss in the midst of even the most extreme circumstances. Her book, The Sculptor in the Sky, is available on Amazon, and at most major book retailers.

To find out more about Teal’s life, workshops, teachings, and extrasensory abilities, visit http://www.thespiritualcatalyst.com

Or visit her YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSpiritualCatalyst

Finding Purpose in the Past: An Interview with Teal Swan

Interviews, Teal Scott, The Heart Chakra

‎”Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it, or learn from it.”     -Rafiki, (The Lion King)

“What is my purpose?” It was the name of a Teal Scott video I randomly clicked on YouTube. The question was pacing my mind just moments before the title appeared, so I took the synchronicity as a sign. I knew nothing of Teal Scott. Yet that was all about to change…

But let me back up.

I had just arrived in the States after spending six months in Italy – a place I thought would be a permanent residence, until one afternoon while meditating upon a particularly mournful cloud wandering in the Florentine sky, Spirit said to me: “Go home.”

Home?! What home? Prior to Italy I had spent the past 10 years in Portland, Oregon – the weirdest and most liberating place I had ever been. Portland is full of tall trees, wide rivers, and farmer’s markets – plus it’s considered the most “un-Churched” city in America – my favorite part about it.

Apart from grey skies, I could handle going back to the land of hipsters and hippies, but Portland wasn’t the Spirit’s call, and I knew it. My insides tightened at the thought of what was coming…Utah. The word hung in the air like the moody cloud drooping above my head. How could God want me back there?!

Don’t get me wrong, Utah is not a bad place. The mountains possess a noble, native magic, and the summer skies are full of violent purple, and thunderous mountain tops. But the vast, dry valley carries my own shadows, and memories I’d rather avoid.

My father was a Mormon polygamist.  Between three wives he managed to have 16 children (of which I am the youngest).

Mainstream Mormons do not practice polygamy, so my family history was not exactly dinner conversation with friends. The Church of the First Born convened in Mexico (where polygamy was legal) but a bloody religious war had caused my family to go into “hiding” in Utah.

The killings happened before I was born, but my dad (then an apostle of the church) and family were on a hit list. That’s all I ever knew about it, but I still have memories of church members coming in and out of our house, hushed whispers, and that constant, uneasy feeling that some foundational part of our lives had been shaken.

My mom left the church (and my father) when I was quite young. Luckily she found a small, Christian church to attend, and with it, a relationship with Jesus.

I experienced first-hand the peace that filled her heart (and our house) after her conversion. But some in my family were still attached to inherited belief systems, and with her death when I was 12, came fear among certain family members that God punished her for leaving the “one true faith.”

I didn’t experience the hell my siblings went through, but I resented the religious bondage I felt had been tied around our necks — and something about Utah always reminded me of it.

And now here I was, two weeks after arriving from the heart of the Renaissance, spending a pointless afternoon on the internet, aimless and lazy, and loathing my decision to ever come back.

Enter Teal Swan.

When I first heard her voice, my head tilted slightly sideways and up, the way humans tend to move when they listen intently. Something was familiar. Oddly familiar.

A couple weeks went by and I continued to watch Teal’s videos, incessantly trying to put my finger on what was so vaguely recognizable. Unsatisfied, I headed to her website and was shocked by what I discovered:

One: She grew-up in Utah.

Two: She was abducted into a religious cult at the age of six and ritualistically tortured for 13 years.

I contacted her that day.

Teal Swan was not like other children. It wasn’t long into her young life when it became apparent she had unusual abilities. Spontaneous healing, clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience, manipulating electromagnetic fields, and communicating with entities, were all normal occurrences in her daily life. It wasn’t until word got out in the community, that she understood something about her was very different. And it was a difference she would  pay for.

Mormonism teaches authority to heal, receive direct messages from God, and other gifts Teal was demonstrating,  is only available through the Melchizedek priesthood. If a woman is exhibiting these abilities, the gift is believed not to come from God, but from the devil.

Living in the highly religious community of Logan, Utah, most neighbors became fearful of Teal’s abilities, and forbid her from entering their homes. Children were not allowed to play with her, and her parents received strange messages declaring their daughter was a sign of the second coming.

But there was another group who caught wind of Teal’s extrasensory phenomena. Unlike the Mormons in the area whose response was ostracization, this group (known as The Blood Covenant) believes it is their direct duty to rid the world of evil.

One of the leaders, a sociopath with an extreme case of dissociative identity disorder, infiltrated her family, abducted Teal at the age of six, and ritualistically tortured her for 13 years.

Teal was physically and sexually abused in religious rituals, forced to participate in sacrifices, repeatedly raped and starved, and made to have three abortions of children fathered by her abuser. Tied-up and left in a hole in his backyard, her abuser used her to be photographed for sadomasochistic pornography, prostituted her out of motels and gas station bathrooms, and repeatedly exposed her to electro-shock programming. And the list of abuse goes on.

Yet, despite the horror experienced at the hands of this man, Teal’s message is not one of revenge, but of forgiveness:

“…this book is dedicated to the man who ‘ruined’ my life. I find in retrospect you did not ruin it at all. I see now that we are only ever victims of victims. I am sorry for the pain I know you suffered in your life. I have stopped the cycle, and now I have you to thank because you were my greatest teacher (as difficulty always is). Without you, I would not have even thought to look for the happiness I now possess today. One day you will know that you are free.”

Those are the words Teal Swan wrote to her abductor in the  acknowledgement section of her book, The Sculptor in the Sky. I had read them just moments before she sat down with me for an interview at Café Supernatural, in Salt Lake City. The impact was still palpable.

“I was surprised to discover you lived in Utah,” I said, as  a waitress brought us our juice. “Something about you felt familiar to me the first time I saw one of your videos…but Utah must be it. I think I was picking-up on the Utah energy…”

Teal smiled. “Yes.” she responded, in a way that made me feel she wanted to say more, but thought better of it.

I wanted to say, “I know you from somewhere. I have this strange feeling we’re connected in a way I don’t quite understand. And I think you’re tied to the reason I’m in Utah.”

But what came out was:  “I’d love to hear more about your story…whatever you feel comfortable sharing…”

The details of Teal’s abuse are not the focus of her message. But just as it is difficult to see stars in the day, the backdrop of darkness is necessary to fully appreciate the intensity of her light.

She shared openly, demonstrating a graceful inner strength and conviction. For Teal, there is purpose in the abuse. To her, no part of the pain is meaningless. She sees past suffering as the very catalyst to give and experience healing.

But it shouldn’t have happened that way. It is said that severe psychological abuse is akin to death. In the face of extreme trauma, one is usually written off as irreversibly damaged. Doctors and psychiatrists who evaluated Teal after her escape declared her brain was “dismantled beyond repair.”

Though several years of therapy would prove that not only could Teal come back to a place of wholeness, but she discovered the techniques and visualization she learned through therapy were so successful, she was inspired to write The Sculptor in the Sky, as a guide to healing.

Teal now uses her unique abilities, her story, and her connection to the Source of Love, to inspire change. She’s coined the term, “Spiritual Catalyst,” to describe her work.  With her healing gifts, she acts as a medical intuitive to people with extreme physical conditions and diseases. She holds “syncronicity workshops” around the world to help people understand how to use their thoughts and emotions to raise their vibration and heal their life. She conducts personal consults once a month, and speaks out publically about the unproductive prison and jail systems, stating that “you can’t punish anyone into wellness.” Teal has devoted her life to help humanity heal.

Her story reveals our capacity to overcome, even the most extreme places of darkness. It shows us the way out of powerlessness. It gives a picture of life beyond revenge, and into a place of forgiveness and peace.

As we sat in Café Supernatural, I felt my bitterness toward Utah begin to dissolve. The anger from my own religious past simply faded in the glow of her overwhelming ability to love.

Later in our conversation I would admit I was unsure why I was in Utah. And Teal would respond:

“The reason you’re here is less of a mystery to me. There is a reason I wanted to meet with you in person. It will hit you.”

Watching someone face trauma with love, heal abuse with compassion, and take on anger with forgiveness, helped me let go of bitterness I held toward extremism. I was meant to come back to Utah. I was meant to see her video, and I was meant to talk to her that day. Teal reminded me that I chose Utah, even before I was born. There was purpose in all of it. Everything was exactly how it needed to be.

Teal’s ability to forgive showed me that I had the power to let go, and allow my purpose to be fully restored.

What happened that day when I stumbled upon Teal’s video,  was not a mere act of coincidence. It goes beyond synchronicity. It is bigger than this article, or Spirit’s reason for calling me back to Utah. What I saw that day with Teal, was me. Who I met that day, was myself.  I met  you. I met the whole of humanity, and I saw a glimpse of the future we are capable of entering.

If you asked Teal what healed her, I think she would say, ultimately, it was her faith. To believe beauty can rise from ashes is the impetuous that wills it so.

Every time an Olympic record is set, it changes humanity’s  belief about what is possible. Teal’s story sets a new precedent for the capacity of human love. She shows us we are capable of living beyond mere survival. We have the capacity to be fully restored to the light.

By choosing love, Teal did not only heal the darkness of her own wounds, she healed mine. She healed yours.

Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to the limitless capacity of love. Imagine what the world could be. Imagine what we could overcome.

And so it is with you…

For more information about Teal Scott, visit her website at http://www.thespiritualcatalyst.com/

Teal Swan ,”The Spiritual Catalyst” is a well known Esoteric,  Extrasensory who writes and speaks publicly about spirituality, the meaning of life, God, The Higher Self and the road to health and happiness. Teal is part of the first 1980s wave of indigo children.

Amanda Flaker is a freelance writer, editor, and creator of Chakra Center. She loves to travel the world and write about it.

Religion vs. Spirituality by Teal Swan

Spirituality, Teal Scott, The Crown Chakra

Religion does not have to get in the way of spirituality, but it often does.  It can cause us to look for the spiritual essence which exists beyond the material, but it can also be the obstacle that prevents us from finding it.

Religion is defined as beliefs centered around spirituality that concern the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe – usually involving  devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Spirituality, on the other hand, is both practice and principle. It  pertains to the incorporeal or immaterial aspect of nature – the principle of conscious life. Spirituality acknowledges that a supernatural, incorporeal being is animating the body.

At best, religion has the ability to make a practice out of spirituality.  But spirituality, which is the heart of religion, does not need religion to exist.

Religion, for many, is a system of security, faith, and hope.  Yet for those who recognize its inherent flaws, religion often becomes the excuse for deserting spirituality entirely. Negative experiences with religion cause many to “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” and therefore miss out on the experience of its essence.

Yes, spirituality is an essence. It is present within every religion, but when obscured by human rules, doctrine, penance, and idealized definitions of “righteousness,” that essence gets lost in superfluous details.  Yet at the core, it’s simple:  the heart of most religious teachings is love.

Sadly, when people commit to one religion, they often devote themselves to the institution, believing the system itself to be “the way,” rather than the pointer of the way. This devotion to the institution can become a block in the practitioner’s ability to go inside themselves and develop their spiritual connection to the kingdom of God within.

Despite the common thread of love through each religion, the denominational nature often serves to divide, resulting in a cultural war between people. When religion is used to justify atrocities, violence, and oppression, it becomes a blind fold, and the details involved with religious observance prevent practitioners from asking questions and understanding that all spiritual answers come from within.

It is possible for spirituality to exist without religion.  Spiritual practice focuses on the acknowledgement of spirit and higher knowing in every living thing.  A person who is confined to the beliefs of one religion (adhering to the idea that there is only one true religion, one true way) often misses out on developing their own spirituality by dismissing the spiritual essence of all things.

Spirituality is individual.  It is beyond human imposed worldview and is not limited by any religious institution. Religion, however, is an institutional practice of spirituality.  It is composed of human beings, invented by human beings, and influenced by cultural views.

Religion is at the mercy of the limited and flawed perception of the human mind.  It is at the mercy of human fear, human error, and human prejudice.  When permeated by human worldview, religion often becomes a tool to protect one’s own self interest and way of life against others.  It becomes a tool of exclusion instead of inclusion.

It has been said that spirituality can be compared to a succulent fruit,  and religion can be compared to the peel of that fruit.  While both spirituality and religion are parts of the fruit, many people get stuck in the peel of the fruit (religion) and never move on to the deeper truths and experiences inherent in the fruit (spirituality).

If we are conscious enough, religion does not have to restrict or get in the way of spirituality, because a truly spiritual person will seek out the spiritual nectar inherent in all religious philosophies.  Like a bee who flies from one flower to the next in search of the nectar within, a truly spiritual person can extract the “divine” from the “less than divine” that is present therein.

The Quran states all humans are born with the knowledge of god inside them.  The Bible teaches the kingdom of heaven lies within. The Bhagwat asserts salvation is found inward. And the Buddha taught enlightenment is found through the heart.  These divine truths clearly demonstrate that spirituality, which is at the heart of nearly every religion, is not found through the venue of religion. Rather, it is an inseparable part of us which is available, however and whenever, we choose to seek it.

Religion can be a map which sets us on course towards an inner quest to find the answers we seek.  But it is important to acknowledge that if misinterpreted or incorrectly written, that map can lead us in the opposite direction from where we want to go.

If we are aware that the answers to our questions have resided inside us all along, we can delve deep into our own individual faith and spirituality.  The kingdom within will guide us, like a north star, towards all that we seek.

Teal Swan ,”The Spiritual Catalyst” is a well known Esoteric,  Extrasensory who writes and speaks publicly about spirituality, the meaning of life, God, The Higher Self and the road to health and happiness. Teal is part of the first 1980s wave of indigo children. As a result of her unusual abilities, Teal was taken into a local cult at the age of six and ritualistically tortured for 13 years. Since her escape, Teal has become a spiritual leader, utilizing her extrasensory abilities to educate people about the united, energetic nature of this universe and to teach people how to find both health and bliss in the midst of even the most extreme circumstances. Her book, The Sculptor in the Sky, is available on Amazon, and at most major book retailers.

To find out more about Teal’s life, workshops, teachings, and extrasensory abilities, visit her website.

Or Youtube Channel

Stay tuned this week for our exclusive interview with Teal, featuring details of her incredible life story. You won’t want to miss it!