In the previous post, I shared how family , friends, and co-workers reacted to me when I shared my experiences from the spiritual path and my changed belief system. In this post, share how I experienced the interaction with other people who are also on a spiritual path.
Before I started blogging, I was particularly afraid of the reactions of materialists. Would they pooh-pooh my worldview and experiences? Would I have to argue with them, justify and defend my point of view?
But it turned out that even if I shared the link to my blog or the link to NDE stories with them, I would not get any reaction. So, I concluded that I must be somehow invisible to them and this fear that I would have to argue with them did not come true. Instead, an unexpected challenge arose, and that was interacting with other people on a spiritual path.
Travelers on a spiritual path
I met several wonderful and interesting people, not only online but also at work. I learned about other people’s life’s journeys and how they coped with partly tremendously difficult challenges.
I learned about several different spiritual traditions and also about many different forms in which people express what they have experienced and learned on this journey.
Some share books and youtube videos which resonated with them. Others share parables. Some create poems. Others are into photography and share their most amazing and beautiful pictures. A few people dedicate themselves to interviewing others. So, there are webpages, blogs, or youtube channels who interview only enlightened people, or only Near Death Experiencers, or only channelers. Some blog often and basically share their journal entries openly. Others package their story into fiction and create a book from it. And much more. There is such a variety of ways to share and contribute.
I got many new book recommendations for my long reading list. Also, I got plenty of encouragement for my writing and was very grateful for that.
I also learned which parts of my stories do and which do not resonate with others who are also on this path. That was valuable to learn.
But in addition to all the wonderful and enriching effects of meeting others on the spiritual path, there were also some aspects which were a bit irritating.
One thing that I needed to get used to was the language. Seems like people in every subculture (Buddhists, psychologists, lightworkers, Christians etc.) have their own language. Which is not a problem per se, of course. It can just be very confusing to suddenly be flooded with a multitude of terms from which the sender assumes that the receiver surely knows what they mean.
It becomes even more confusing when the terms sound like everyday language but mean something completely different. When someone used terms like ‘dharma’ or ‘metta’, I could look them up, but I remember how confused I was when a woman said that her task as a co-leader of a workshop was not to teach anything but to just ‘hold the space’. I had never heard that term before and tried to imagine what that would probably look like when someone opens their arms and grabs space with their hands and simply holds the space. LOL. It also took me a while to find out what people meant when they used the term ‘grounding.’
While I became used to the unscientific and ubiquitous use of the term ‘quantum’ in some lightworker texts, I still cringe when I read texts which state that our bodies are allegedly going ‘from carbon-based to crystalline’ ( – and in addition, some were seriously suggesting that the carbon atoms somehow turn into silicon atoms).
I encountered the need of others to put me into a certain box. For example, when I first started blogging here on WordPress, I was greeted with “Welcome and how wonderful to meet a fellow lightworker!” That other person just meant to say a nice ‘Hello’, of course, but at that time, I didn’t even know what the term ‘lightworker’ meant, let alone whether I would belong to that group.
Others had different types of categories into which they wanted to put me. So, I was asked whether I was a pantheist or a panentheist or a theosophist and whatnot. But I was not familiar with any of these categories. I only had some experiences to share about the beneficial effects of inner peace. My reading background was mostly books about personal accounts of other people’s stories of awakening and enlightenment as well as some channeled texts.
I wondered whether they expected me to look up all these new terms of lightworker, indigo, gridworker, pantheist, theosophist and so on in order to be able to answer the question in which box I did belong.
Unsolicited advice from various belief systems
I share my own experiences on this journey. And I share not only the good and blissful stuff, but also the ugly parts just to show what traveling on this path can feel like.
But sharing the more difficult parts has the side effect that compassionate people from all walks of life felt called to help and fix me and so they jumped in and offered unsolicited mental diagnoses and advice. It happened quite a few times that people of various other belief systems tried to offer their point of view to me.
For example, some people of Christian belief sent me emails regarding my blog telling me that my path was dangerous and that I should refrain from it and rather study the videos they suggested which talked about sin, punishment, and hell.
A few people from Eastern spiritual traditions let me know that according to their beliefs spirit guides didn’t exist (and they suggested that I adopt their point of view) and people who heard an inner voice or had an inner vision should just meditate more. And, BTW, signs and synchronicities didn’t exist either in their opinion and so they advised me to stop paying attention to these things. (I want to mention, though, that I have also met people from Eastern spiritual traditions who do pay attention to signs and synchronicities. I have even read about someone who channels a Buddhist spirit guide.)
A psychologist who was also on a spiritual path said that it sounded like multiple personality disorder when I heard an inner voice which told me to do something which I didn’t want to do. In addition to the unsolicited, free mental diagnosis, he was so kind to prescribe a certain kind of prayer which I should do to heal that condition. Even though he meant to be generous and loving, I was pissed off. But then I tried to see his point of view and I could understand that someone who probably had never experienced the inner voice of guidance and in addition had been trained in psychology could easily come to the conclusion that having a discussion with a spirit guide resembled a mental disorder.
In an online forum, another guy wanted to draw me into a battle about my beliefs. He had the opinion (A) that spirit guides do exist, but all of them are either completely deluded or evil and (B) that we should not just agree to disagree, but discuss until someone had won the discussion. He was seriously thinking that this way he could do a huge service to the world, just discuss the wrong beliefs out of everyone.
No, thanks. I kindly but firmly refused to engage into a battle. In retrospect, I thought that this was a lesson about trying to withstand the urge to justify and defend myself.
Dealing with unsolicited advice
What should I do with this? Avoid all the interactions – the pleasant ones as well as the unpleasant ones – , withdraw into cave time again and shut up? Or set boundaries?
Whenever I felt irritated by this onslaught of well-meant, but unsolicited advice and didn’t know how to react to it, I was reminded of the following little story that happened with my one of my sons when he was about one year old and just able to walk. I was in the bathroom, upset and fretting about something. My child saw this. He couldn’t talk yet, but he had enough understanding to know that mommy was upset and feeling some compassion, he looked for a solution.
So, he went to his room and came back and brought me his pacifier, signaling to me, ‘Put this into your mouth. It has helped me to calm down when I feel upset. I am sure it will help you, too, when you feel upset.’
How cute! I couldn’t help but break into laughter.
Now, when adults did this, I found it not nearly as cute as my toddler trying to calm me with his pacifier. But it came from the same line of reasoning that what had helped them would surely help me, too. And therefore, in all their love and compassion, they felt the urge to give me advice.
And sometimes this advice was very useful. But at other times, it came across as “Oh, your path is dangerous. Don’t go there, this is sinful, or else you will suffer in hell.” Or a bit like someone telling me, “Don’t travel too far out in the world because I believe that it is a fact that the Earth is flat and I really want to protect you from falling off the edge of the Earth.”
So, while my fears about negative reactions from materialists did not come true, what did happen was unexpected reactions from fellow travelers on one of the spiritual paths.
Now, some more reflections on reacting to this.
Sometimes others can be mirrors of my blind spots and could be an invitation to do some shadow work. So, I asked myself whether I did that to other people, too, to offer unsolicited advice to them which might not be exactly right up their alley. And, yes, I admitted that I did that, too, sometimes and made a note to self to avoid that in the future. But that did not mean that the influx of unsolicited advice and unsolicited mental diagnoses stopped afterwards.
It says more about them than about me
Later something else happened which made me think. During one time period, three people made comments about what they perceived as character traits of me. Their comments came independently and out of the blue without me asking for their opinions. Two of them said that I have a lack of patience while the third one said that I was way too patient.
I thought that this was a lesson which was meant to show me that people would have an expectation of what is normal or what their baseline is, so to speak. And when I deviated in a certain way from their own baseline, then I was ‘too impatient’ or ‘too patient’ – in their opinion. Or maybe it was that they projected their shadow on me. I couldn’t decide, but I settled for the explanation that some of the reactions which people showed to my writing said more about them than about me.
While sometimes I could just ignore the irritating comments of unsolicited advice, at other times, especially when I expected the behavior to happen more frequently coming from the same person, I firmly stated my boundaries with as much kindness and politeness as I was able to muster.
I was aware that it would almost break the other person’s heart if I refused their advice. After all, they came from a place of love and compassion and they only meant well. And in addition to that, they were so darn sure that they were right. So, how dare I refuse their advice which was given in the spirit of love!
But I stated my boundaries anyway. And this turned out to be an important step on my journey.
It did not mean that afterwards everything was all roses with regard to the relationships with these other people. For example, one woman became upset when I said “No, thank you, I don’t feel like going to your spiritual teacher, even though you have already insistently told me many times to sign up for her class.”
But even if the other person was pissed off, I found that it was better to set my boundaries than to withdraw and shut up completely.
In addition to setting boundaries, I have learned not to invest in useless battle over whose viewpoint is right or wrong. After all, when my guides sent me to do this blogging adventure, the mandate was to share my experiences. But they did not say, ‘Go out into the world and proselytize everyone.’
In summary, this was a time of loneliness among family and friends, but also about finding enriching connections to others on a similar path. It was about being encouraged about my writing, but also a time of being challenged. It was about letting go of attachment to praise and also of avoidance of criticism. It was also about learning to resist the need to justify, defend, and prove my point of view.