The Lonely Road

Posted on Posted in Spirituality and Discussion

It been a long time since I’ve posted anything (the last thing I wrote was a ‘snazzy’ piece on masculinity) and a lot has happened since that last posting. I was going to write about some of those things today but I wanted to talk about something I haven’t spoken about before and something that is so important to me – spirituality. After writing that word I’m sure I have lost half of my readers so if you are still with me, thank you, and I hope you will find that I have written this particular post in such a way that there are some useful insights and bits of information. I’m not here to preach or push my views or ideas on anyone or make any promises, I just wanted to share a few points and ideas surrounding the topic.

My big issue with spirituality is that it comes across as useless, ‘new age’, mumbo jumbo. But if it is done and thought about in the correct way, it is crucial and vital to our very existence – an existence which is commonly fraught with anxiety, fear and doubt. Spirituality has become such a dirty, fluffy word with the perception that those who follow it are spineless and easily roll over, in case they cause bad vibes/karma. I call this bullshit.

Spirituality has nothing to do with being a good person, it’s about finding and being yourself and sometimes there are aspects of ourselves that are not positive and do make us feel uncomfortable. The key here is to find out why, why do you perceive something about yourself as negative? Why bury it and cover it up, why deny that aspect of yourself which is only going to rear its ugly head further down the line? Accept what you are and know that it is okay. No more shame, no more hiding – you are perfect in your own individual expression.

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There are many definitions as to the exact meaning of spirituality, such as ‘concerning the spirit.’ What is spirit? It comes from the Latin ‘spiritus’ – ‘a breathing’ – and is related to ‘spirare,’ “to breathe.” Strap in guys because here it does get a bit fluffy and peace, love and light. Breathe. This is so crucial, breathing is automatic, but ‘to breathe’ indicates an awareness of what you’re doing and if you are doing that you are present. Your mind is in the room, it’s not focusing on what type of chips you want for dinner and it isn’t focusing on what that bitch in the office said yesterday.

Breathe. When you think about it, how present are you throughout your day, how much can you remember? I mean actually remember, for example let’s take your last lunch. Can you remember what it actually tasted like? Or do you have the memory that ‘lunch was good’ because you tasted it and formulated that opinion, therefore it acts as remembrance of the event. But this is not the same thing. Don’t spend your life on autopilot, live, look and see. Breathe and be aware of what your mind is doing. Be present.

A concept that I’ve recently come across is what truly makes us unique? I mean think about, there is nothing new under the sun, skills, talents, emotions, thoughts – it has all been done. So what really makes you unique? Nothing. We are taught how to feel, how to think, how to behave, how to perceive and depending on your teacher you could be fucked from day one. What makes us unique? Our ability to step back from the way we have been raised/conditioned which we do in our own way perhaps? But how do we go about stripping away this learning? Question everything.

Question me and what I’m telling you here because who am I to you? Find what you believe in by what feels right and what feels correct to you. Where there is a glimmer of truth to someone somewhere it will not be the same for all. Question.

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Know yourself – do any of us know what we are about? This builds on from questioning. Question everything you do and why, where does it stem from? Where was this reaction/behaviour learnt?  Who or what do you give your power to? By power I mean your independence, your ability to stand on your own two feet. What do you use as your crutch when you can’t deal with things? What figures do you rely on? If it’s your parents why, what do they give you that you can’t give yourself? Do you still need their permission? Why? Find that permission in yourself. Be yourself and strip away anything that doesn’t serve.

Question your authority figures – who says they know better? Your dad wants you to become a doctor? How nice of him. Your boss wants to you stay late because it’s expected? Fuck him and his expectations. Expectations never made anyone happy. If you pursue what is expected of you then when do you do what’s good for you?

Feeling – in our current society we are taught that feelings don’t matter (especially to males), that they are secondary and are things that hinder us and get in the way of life. When we ignore them we suppress vital signs as to how our emotional health is doing. Check in with yourself – what I am feeling now? Sit with it and accept. Let it be and don’t push it down, and question why you’re feeling the way you are. It could be unpleasant but personal growth usually is. How much do you use distractions to hide what you’re feeling, how long can you distract yourself before the covers are ripped off and the situation is so bad you feel like you could drown?

Spirituality to me means stripping away your conditioning and going to back to a ‘raw’ version of yourself which is going to be healthier, happier and free. Acknowledge the ‘bad side’ yourself and accept it. It can be a lonely road but it’s a liberating and real one. Breathe, question and feel.

Stay real.

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After completing a 2.1 in law and deciding a normal life was not for him, Michael worked in a soulless office for 9 months to raise funds to move to London. Once there he began to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a model. So far it seems to have paid off and he hasn’t looked back ever since.

4 thoughts on “The Lonely Road

  1. Beautifully expressed, Michael. Good on you for speaking out and reclaiming spirituality from the fluffy downgrading. And as for emotions? Yep. They are what make us human. Push them down and they don’t disappear. They sink into the body and lay in wait…

  2. Really nicely written and also refreshing to see a young man with so much self-awareness, thoughtfulness and a spiritual presence. You are a good example to your generation. I have 2 boys (one 33 and one 15) whom I raised to have similar qualities: to be aware of themselves, thoughts and feelings, and to question everything around them, particularly people and things that are out to manipulate us. They are lovely people for it, and it’s so nice to have meaningful conversations with my own children. And thanks for following me on Twitter! All the best to you.

  3. Fantastic words, Brother. I, for one, am glad you went there! The more we go there, and in a ‘real’ way, the more we make the conversation of spirituality acceptable and even necessary. If we don’t talk about the inner work, we’re neglecting 50% of Life – just dwelling in the ‘outer’. Can’t dance with only one partner! I agree – spirituality isn’t really about being good. The more we become the full expression of who we truly are, self-aware, and free of inner shackles, we will naturally express more love – whether as joy, or compassion, etc.. Trying to be good or do good can even serve as a poor substitute for, or a precursor to the spiritual path.

    Glad you called the fluff & out, too – bullshit indeed: Instead of avoiding bad vibes & being spineless… Spirituality is more about stepping out of hiding from ourselves, walking the path, facing our shadows, & reclaiming our power. Thanks for sharing, Michael! Journey well! Respect.

  4. I find your understanding of spritulity to be quite advanced. I agree wholeheartedly. It’s NOT about morality. Jesus was not a moralist. I HIGHLY recommend Richard Rohr OFM to you along with James Alison, a priest, gay man, and brilliant theologian.

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