Blog

Deeper Perception Made Practical

Being a Spiritual Person, Taking It Personally

Governor George Wallace, how spiritual was he at this time in America's Civil Rights Movement?

Governor George Wallace. Undoubtedly sure at the time that he was a wonderfully spiritual man

Photo credit comes to us via the Civil Rights Movement in America and, more specifically, Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report Magazine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Definitely, this photo comes courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. In no way is it implied that the photographer or the subject endorses either me or this use of the image.

What does it mean to me, Rose Rosetree, calling someone “A spiritual person”?

After days of conversation here at the blog — and more comments on this topic to come, I hope — it strikes me as important to add my personal opinion. Just to set an example.

Having your own opinion is what matters most, of course, Blog-Buddies.

Why is it important, deciding for yourself what it means, being a spiritual person? So you can live up to your ideals.

Also, this can free you when behavior from others has been hurtful to you. Or confusing. Or (worst of all) the iffy behavior has gone unquestioned. Because that person did something horrible but other people chime in, “No matter. Her heart is in the right place. She is such a spiritual person.”

You see, old definitions and beliefs live within us subconsciously, causing expectations. Then we can get weirded out consciously by reality, entangled in our smelly old illusions like wine in the cellar that has turned to vinegar.

At least if you consciously examine what you believe now, that can protect you. You can recognize when somebody widely considered “A spiritual person” may clash horribly with your own deep standards. Clear and current standards, congruent with your present level of consciousness, can spare you a great deal of anguish.

Anguish like what? Like the quiet anguish that I suspect lay behind our first prize-winning contest entry from JESSICA. She admired Orson Scott Card’s writing for years and, I gather, admired him as a person because of that writing talent. Then (also my interpretation, admittedly) JESSICA felt personally hurt at the homophobia in his writing. And why wouldn’t she?

If you have followed this thread, you know what happened over at Anti-bullying mixed with homophobia, an aura reading of Orson Scott Card. I was touched by JESSICA’s contest entry and proceeded to do aura reading research on Orson Scott Card. In Comment 2, KAREN courageously spoke up, as someone who personally knows the bestselling science fiction writer. She called him “a very spiritual person who deeply loves God.”

This was based on knowing him well, and knowing the religion he follows (plus, of course, her own definition of what it means to be “A spiritual person.”)

And thus, with true beginner’s luck, KAREN set off one of the bigger controversies we have had here in a while at “Deeper Perception Made Practical.” 😉

Well, I won’t shy away from sharing my personal view of what it means, being “A spiritual person,” so here goes.

My definition of “A spiritual person” begins with this

Every human being has the right to self-define as “A spiritual person” and have credibility as such…

if that person also displays ethical behavior…

given the standard of mainstream culture at the time.

Really, who else would have the right to define that most personal thing, being spiritual? It’s like having the right to self-define what it means, connecting to the God of Your Understanding. This is a sacred right, inextricably connected to each individual’s unique sacred path.

However, there are laws on the books today against hate crimes. Legally there is such a thing as right versus wrong.

So I wouldn’t not consider JOE “A spiritual person” if he murders somebody because, he believes, that means following his religion.

And I wouldn’t think much of JOE’s religion, either, if it sanctioned such a crime.

So do I consider Orson Scott Card  “A spiritual person”?

Has he murdered anyone? No, unless perhaps the occasional fictional character. 😉

Certainly I appreciate that, in the past, Orson Scott Card has met my standard as  “A spiritual person.”

Except for now. In Rose Rosetree World, the man is now — pardon my saying — on probabation. As “A spiritual person.”

Simply because collective consciousness in America has progressed to the point where it is no longer appropriate to publicly sneer at lesbians and gays, nor okay to deny them legal rights, nor to flout well established scientific research — according to which being born homosexual is neither a hobby nor a choice nor a lifestyle.

American society was not always this awake. Similarly it was once socially okay to own slaves, perfectly fine for a spiritual person to do. And later it was considered just Georgia peachy keen for a spiritual person to sneer and segregate, or make it a crime for people of different races to love each other.

I’m older than many of you Blog-Buddies. So I can remember watching network news on TV and seeing George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, in a symbolic attempt to keep his inaugural promise of ‘segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.'” As pictured at the top of today’s article, he tried to stop the desegregation of schools as he stood at a schoolroom door, blocking the entry of two black students.

People fought hard for their prejudices back then, their way of life, their “lifestyle.” Although the word lifestyle wasn’t in common usage back then. Had it been, folks might have said they just wanted to protect their “beautiful, traditional, Southern lifestyle.” Whereas living in a body with dark-colored skin represented “an inferior lifestyle” or even “a choice that these souls made before they were born,” so they must have deserved to be treated like slaves or inferior humans.

But slavery isn’t legal in America now. Nor is segregation. Nor is it legal what happened recently in South Carolina, shooting an unarmed man for the “crime” of being an African-American.

Similarly, in our lifetimes, collective consciousness and the law have evolved to the point where gays and lesbians are beginning to have basic rights formerly denied them as citizens.

Well, people evolve and change their minds. All of us can keep up with the times, growing and adapting even though we don’t like it. Orson Scott Card has the right to change his mind about homosexuals, along with plenty of others whose sexual fears or bigotry had been sanctified by religious beliefs.

And then, personally, I might think and feel something like this:

“Yes. Here is a spiritual person. Another child of God. Not exactly like me with the same set of struggles. He is a different one.

“Now somehow he found the strength to do something so hard and courageous, letting go of that old thing he had been taught. He has cared so much about God that he was willing to let his pride go. I love how he is letting in more of that light. For years he has said that God mattered so much to him. And now he has done this wonderfully human thing.

“May God bless him. His God. The one he loves more than anything or anyone, his inspiration as a spiritual person.”

Americans — and I hope humanity worldwide — together we are evolving. We can grow beyond that old sort of prejudice. Personally, I have said some stupid and ignorant things about homosexuals. At least there was never malice.

Never in my life, not for a second, did I consider that there was anything wrong with being wired differently from me sexually. (Of course, I have had to overcome plenty of other problems. Just that particular one wasn’t in my set of things to overcome in this lifetime.)

I believe that a truly spiritual person must keep up with the nation’s collective awakening into what is fair and good, more true, more worthy as a way to treat others.

Three cheers for political correctness!!!

Usually the term is used sarcastically, I know. Yet here is what “political correctness” means, to me, “It is now socially and legally unacceptable to keep up the old prejudices and insults. If I do this in public, people may not think well of me. So I had better shut up. Until I get home.”

When folks complain about having to act politically correct, it’s understandable. And not unlike a sulky kid who is being punished by parents for good reason, then retaliates with resentment.

Until people willingly throw off their small-minded, out-of-date prejudices… let them complain about that oh-so-nasty-and-cruel political correctness.

I’d rather have people blame politics or society than to keep on demeaning people by calling them retarded or queer, use the N-word or any of the many ethnic slurs that are as old as dirt.

A spiritual person still needs to save face, like anyone else

All of us need to save face. That isn’t about being spiritual, just being human.

We need the termPolitically Correct now — or an equivalent term, used without irony — because society is changing so fast.

How fast? Hello, we’re living during the Shift into the Age of Aquarius. Never on earth has so much about life changed so fast.

Meanwhile, being “A spiritual person” according to our lights is a grace note. Like balm applied to a wound, true spiritual compassion and integrity can make such a difference in this world.

So many of us today feel raw. We are hurting. So many beautiful spiritual people are struggling now.

Being kind to others whenever we can — it isn’t all that’s required for being a spiritual person, not to me — but it could be a very good start.

Share this

Join the Discussion

  1. 1

    Incidentally, I still would like to share a teaching tale about one (hard) way I learned about being a spiritual person, from back when I was living in Springfield, Illinois about 35 years ago.

    Maybe my next blogging….

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    “I believe that a truly spiritual person must keep up with the nation’s collective awakening into what is fair and good, more true, more worthy as a way to treat others.”

    Bravo, Rose.

    I would add that a truly spiritual person needs to stand up for what they believe in. And to question bad behavior and be willing to say, even if no one else does, “This is not ok”.

    Sneering at people with disabilities – not ok.

    Sneering at people for whatever their sexual orientation – not ok.

    And many other examples.

  3. 3
    Julie says:

    I work around someone where this comes up as an issue. There really is nothing uglier than a sneer. And in silence there is consent, so it is important to say…something. Even if it’s just “What you just said…that’s not ok”.

  4. 4
    Zelda says:

    I avoid using the word “spiritual” in the context of using it to describe a person other than the label “spiritual teacher,” for instance, like Rose.

    It’s become one of those loaded words, thanks to the New-Agey world, that has taken on connotations that don’t sit well with me.

    I really do just avoid it because of all the baggage it’s picked up, especially in my neck of the woods.

  5. 5
    Julie says:

    I find my definition of what it means to be spiritual is changing. It used to more about perception, and being aware, and noticing an extra dimension to life.

    Now it’s more about what do I value and how can I live that through actions. How can I get along with the many people here on earth and coexist (somehow) and yet not compromise on what I believe and what the core values are.

    What is light, what is goodness, and can it be strong out in the world? These are things on my mind that I wouldn’t have realized but for this discussion on the blog.

  6. 6
    Lilian says:

    Thanks Rose for your thoughts. You know, at a time when alternative spirituality has descended into new age gibberish (with sinister overtones regarding the cords of attachment to those in extreme spiritual addiction), it’s so nice to see that intelligent conversations about all of this can exist!

    Yes, anyone can play the God card and say that they have the Divine on their side. I even had someone say after their divorce that their ex is going to hell, it’s just how it is as they are righteous and their ex is not. :-p Really ?!?

    I don’t quite relate to the US, it’s history and values. The UK is it’s own experiment in civilisation. We don’t use the God card as blatantly. I think people claim to have the most “common sense.” That made me laugh. Maybe that’s how we play the God card!

    Much love xxx

  7. 7
    David FB says:

    Well – I thought about this and realize I frame it differently.

    Firstly, I’d suggest, being spiritual and being ethical are distinct. An atheist can be ethical, for example. Also, if a spiritual person moves from one country to another, they may have to learn a few new local ethical standards. They vary.

  8. 8
    David FB says:

    Secondly, I would not say someone is “spiritual” because they have concepts or belief about being spiritual. That’s driven by mind and inherently ego and does not lead to ethical behaviour. Ego is self-serving and will behave “spiritually” or ethically if it thinks it personally appropriate. Going to church or reading spiritual books does not make a person spiritual necessarily. A teacher of spirituality may not yet themselves be “spiritual”.

  9. 9
    David FB says:

    To me someone is spiritual when they have an experiential and energetic connection to source. They know directly that they are made of and from a quiet peace deep within. (or some various description thereof) This perspective then informs all our actions and inclines us to ethical behaviour without much thinking about it.

  10. 10
    David FB says:

    The old texts tell us that until we shift from being identified with the ego to being identified with that inner Being, we will inherently be self-motivated and make mistakes. Thus, it’s not until someone has stepped beyond the ego that we could say they are fully established in “spiritual”.

    Until then, I would suggest we are students of spirituality. We are learning to be spiritual. And ethical. But as long as there’s an ego in there driving our thoughts and emotions, we’ll stumble.

  11. 11
    David FB says:

    We should hold our standards high but not have illusions about our capacity and ability to mess up. Giving ourselves and others premature labels is a setup for disappointment and failure. But seeing those on the path as students of spirituality? It’s a recognition that we’re all learning and growing. That to me is a healthy approach.

    And yes, I learned this the hard way, seeing leaders of spiritual communities behave in all sorts of self-serving ways.

  12. 12
    David FB says:

    Postscript:

    Even the awake, “established in right action” can have deep old shadows that crop up (Frozen blocks per Rose), getting in the way of the flow. That takes time to heal. We should never expect any human to be perfect. They’re here in earth school to learn, however “evolved” they appear to be.

  13. 13

    DAVID, this is an illuminating set of comments indeed.

    One technical point about that Comment #13:

    You’re close to what I call the cause of “deep old shadows that crop up.”

    They could be frozen blocks. Or they could be one of the other 15 kinds of STUFF identified in the field of Rosetree Energy Spirituality.

    What matters most is that STUFF can always, always, always be healed.

  14. 14

    Beyond that teensy point, DAVID, I wonder if I have been clear enough about the central distinction I have attempted to make all along. So I’ll make a little blog post about it.

  15. 15
    Lilian says:

    Comment 11: “The old texts tell us that until we shift from being identified with the ego to being identified with that inner Being, we will inherently be self-motivated and make mistakes. Thus, it’s not until someone has stepped beyond the ego that we could say they are fully established in “spiritual”.”

    This played on my mind. I realise that David has a very refined concept of “ego”. To me, loving self, ie not just the drop of ego inside me that sees itself as “I”, has been a big part of coming closer to God. However, I’m not that into self-renunciation and seeking to extinguish self, as such, so my brain had the following thoughts.

    See Rose, I am commenting, just not spilling my tangential rambling all over your blog!

    http://zofia-jones.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/individualisation-and-connection-to.html

  16. 16
    David FB says:

    Hi Lilian
    To be clear, I am not endorsing “extinguishing” the self or ego. That’s actually impossible because an ego is at the core of our functioning as a human. What I’m speaking of is detaching our identification with it as “who we are”. Shifting from being a small me into being cosmic.

    This is known as Self Realization. The ego is not lost, it just shifts roles. It is no longer the centre but is a function like mind. Stepping out of the box is what allows a vastly closer relationship with God. As one teacher said, we cannot know God until we know who we are. 😉

  17. 17
    Amanda says:

    Hello all 🙂

    I see it rather as David does. Thank you for expressing it so well, David.

    Even something good and helpful such as the institution of gay rights can be used by a conflicted and divisive ego to make fusses and fights, heroes and villains, victims and oppressors.

    Thereby reducing the peace that I consider central to (my personal) view of spirituality.

    🙂

    Amanda

  18. 18
    Amanda says:

    I realise that this puts us back in the age-old ‘ego good or ego bad?’ debate.

    I’ve been on all sides of this one. I don’t think egos like being challenged in this way and will work hard to defend themselves, as is their job.

    However, a sense of separation from the whole is not only uncomfortable, it is based on an unnecessary fear.

    Egos see the world in terms of destruction, defence and selfhood. Relaxing into peace puts them out of a job!

    Amanda

  19. 19
    Lilian says:

    Absolutely, David, ego is a function of the mind and knowing the bigger self is a big part of the journey to God. Well put.

    I was just trying to write down what your thoughts and words triggered in me. I’ve never really had to seek God. God has always been there. My questions have all been about how to live life in response to that awareness. What response of good enough, pure enough etc? So experiencing human ego is a massive gift. Survival instinct forces a response, and an action, and these experiences educate the soul, as much as the body. Human life, to me, is a lot about gaining self knowledge.

    http://zofia-jones.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/embracing-ego-and-survival-instinct.html

  20. 20
    Karen Burrell says:

    I still say we can disagree with someone’s choices in a loving way. Do we make fun of them or beat them up? No. But we don’t have to agree with what everyone is out there doing. I certainly don’t. Now, I’m far from enlightened but I hope I will always have the courage to speak up for what I see as right. Even if the majority of the world has no problem with it.

  21. 21

    Absolutely right, KAREN BURRELL. That’s self-authority.

  22. 22

    Thanks to all who have been commenting about ego.

    I must confess, I don’t find this particular thread especially relevant to my helping you’all at the blog.

    Because one’s personal sense of identity is what it is.

    And knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.

    Concepts about the ego, one way or another, do not move a person into Enlightenment.

  23. 23
    Lilian says:

    lol. OK, that’s actually a relief.

Click here to comment ...

Leave Your Comment