I just finished reading David Spangler's Apprenticed to Spirit, and it's been eye/brain/mind-opening. Last summer, I got interested in the practice of "spiritual bypassing," as something to avoid. The phrase refers to the tendency to use spiritual practice to avoid dealing with this-plane difficulties, and I could see that it was extremely seductive, for me and for those I teach, now and in the future. It's very appealing, the idea that one needs to look only at the good, without regarding the bad....Except sometimes, the bad is all one can see, and then what? Refusing to notice is a way of trying to eliminate what is, and that can't be right. I'd been ascribing all this trouble to the personality level, which is where it seems to happen, and dissing it. Something about the spiritual bypassing thing seemed to bug me. It wasn't that I felt something was missing, I just didn't want to do anything wrong, with myself or my students.
Imagine my surprise when I found this, from John, the spirit who came to collaborate with David to build a partnership with the subtle worlds in order to bring blessings to this one:
John, on the personality: From our perspective, you are a singular being, whole and undivided. Yes, you have different parts, and at time those parts do not achieve coherency, but these parts are not inherently in conflict. Each part is important and contributes to the whole…..What you call the personality is to us a function of particularization and focus. It enables you to be a part of your incarnate world. Yes, the function can be misused and carried too far, but the solution is not to eliminate it…..What you call soul and personality are both parts of a larger wholeness of identity. In the incarnation context, they are intended to work together as partners. To set them in opposition to each other or to privilege one over the other is to deny and break that wholeness, making the enterprise of incarnation that much more difficult. p.131-2
A function of particularization and focus...enabling me to be part of the incarnate world....!!! Now THAT'S useful! Suddenly I could see that every choice I've made has been part of the uniqueness of my strand of the tapestry, and that it is valuable. I looked around my house, and saw the evidence of some of those choices: yarn in beautiful colors, interesting books (some spiritual, some recreational), decks of tarot and oracle cards, hand-knitted afghans by every chair, at least one project basket with a knitting work in progress, and my sweet Benzie, standard poodle extraordinaire. The value of it all dropped into my awareness...appreciation and gratitude to myself, for making those choices, and to all the beings that helped me to do it (including in no small part, my ex-husband and my parents).
A page or so later, here came the next part:
John: The function of the personality is to particularize and to create bounded conditions. It draws and binds to itself in order to have definition, distinction and focus. This is its purpose, to create a specific chalice that can hold the larger energies of the rest of you. But left on its own it can particularize and bind too much. Attunement to sacredness, to that which is greater than you and of which you are a part, counteracts that. It opens you and expands you, bringing spaciousness into your being and preventing you from collapsing into a closed container, a box instead of a grail. p.134
Isn't that gorgeous! Of course I want, maybe we all want, to be defined, distinctive and focused. And I love the idea of a chalice that can hold the "larger energies of the rest of you." That's right, the rest of me....I knew there was more to me than my personality, and I knew those energies were larger. I also know that bringing awareness to the big space, what I've been calling the heart space, brings spaciousness, ease and more choice of how to identify (until you don't need to).
So now the world is with me in a different way. Not as the only way, but as a focused way. And I have the ability, as we all do, to change focus as needed to the bigger picture with no loss of value to the smaller one.