Enlightenment, in whichever form it comes in, can be one of the most amazing experiences in one’s life. To be able to see that the way one lived or viewed a situation was wrong or incomplete gives one the confidence to do better in the future.
However, it can also lead one to an unconscious downward spiral and by the time one recognizes how far one has sunk, it is difficult to find the escape ladder, even when others are pointing at it.
Unfortunately, it must be said — spiritual and/or woke people can be annoying, hypocritical and blind. Certainly sport fanatics, politicians and clergypeople can be labelled these things too, but the spiritual/woke guy or gal has a more difficult time doing this. Why is this?
The answer lies in their answers to the following two questions:
1. Which is more important, happiness or emotional well-being?
2. Which is more important, happiness or truth?
Spoiler alert: if you chose happiness for either of those two, I invite you to read and consider why that may not help you in the long run.
Happiness versus Emotional Well-being
“Too often in life, something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. So the point is, we all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations or to not accept situations.” — Tom Brady
First off, if you really scrutinize the options of happiness and emotional well-being, you could say that they are the same thing. If I am emotionally well, am I not happy? If I am happy, then I must be doing well emotionally, right? Not necessarily.
People who go after happiness will seek whatever it is that will get them to that state. This therefore means that they might avoid things that will cause them to be unhappy.
How are you going to do any shadow work by running away from your demons? How are you going to manage your weaknesses in a given situation? What is your emotional regulation going to be like when you are put under stress? How are you going to treat others or yourself when these things go unchecked because you pursued the righteous path in order to feel good?
Spirituality or knowledge then becomes a vehicle for you to continue your destructive behaviours under the guise that you feel amazing and blessed. In reality, you simply aren’t allowing yourself to feel the fear, pain, guilt, etc. In reality, you are guilty of emotional bypassing.
“Spiritual bypass shields us from truth, it disconnects us from our feelings, and helps us avoid the big picture. It is more about checking out than checking in — and the difference is so subtle that we usually don’t even know we are doing it.” — Ingrid Mathieu
If you parented a child in this way, they would become egomaniacs or chronically depressed. There is something beneath the surface that they should be allowed to cry about. Painful emotions are okay. They show us what we don’t want so that we can move towards what we prefer.
The spiritual or woke person who chooses emotional well-being over happiness realizes that if they address the problems under the hood, they would then achieve happiness by default. What is left when the agents of suffering are all gone? Nothing but peace.
Happiness versus Truth
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. — Winston Churchill
Here’s the funny thing about the truth: once you find it, it often leaves you quite upset. Sure, sometimes it is exactly what you wanted to hear; other times it is your biggest fear.
Having said that, if you are a woke person who feels good about themselves because they have the truth, you may end up being on the right side of history but you are a liability to your cause.
If you are a spiritual person who lords themselves over others because they have the spiritual insight or knowledge that others lack, you’re endangering yourself.
The truth can be inconvenient, especially when we are so invested in seeing ourselves as good people. We’ve watched movies, read stories and sung songs where the good guy wins. We want to be good. We want to win. But what if there’s something about you that is cruel? What if there is something that causes you to lose no matter what you try?
You have to have the courage to be wrong because only then can you ascertain the practical knowledge to be and do better in your life and in the lives of others.
People don’t like some spiritual or woke people because they are self-righteous and think they’re always right. They cling onto some quote by some person and use it regardless of context and then conveniently forget it when they are in violation of it. They parrot some talking point that they never fact-checked and when they are shown evidence to their error, they cannot admit they were wrong.
As I said earlier, these folk can be annoying, hypocritical and blind. It is due to the same spiritual bypassing I mentioned earlier.
To the spiritual and woke people who choose truth, they realize that truth is relative. For example, “listen to your intuition” is something that people really champion. But guess what? Your intuition’s opinion can change! One’s level of awareness can affect one’s ability to use their intuition. So sometimes, using logic is actually a good option.
Another example is “if you believe you can have something, then you have it.” Is it true? Yes and no. Many people will attest to this being true and they have evidence to back it up. However, there are just as many people who have experienced giving up, and once they did that, they got what they wanted. It wasn’t necessary for them to believe they had it; they just had to believe they could have it and then understand that there were things that were simply out of their control and let go of trying to make it happen.
The spiritual or woke person who wants truth will see these things and many more. The one who is focused on being happy will undoubtedly be unhappy and cause unhappiness in their frustration to be happy.
Finally, I want to ensure that if you did find yourself wanting happiness over truth and emotional wellbeing, that you understand that you are normal. Most of us are guilty of this! We aren’t happy, we know that something’s wrong or something’s missing, so we seek out the biggest buzzword in our cultures — happiness.
Happiness is really just a by-product of having purpose, living in accordance to your values, being healthy and the exorcism of our inner demons.
Even after reading this, you might admit that you still are more focused on happiness than emotional well-being and truth. Emotional well-being means finding out all the stuff in the background that caused you to search for happiness in the first place — and that’s scary. Truth is finding out that the stuff that we think are propelling our journeys are actually super useless or even counter-productive. We will lose the sense of self that we sometimes hate but can’t let go of because it’s all we’ve ever known.
This is okay. Ultimately, we all have to go through this. I certainly had to and the reason I got out was because I ran into dead ends so often I just wanted the truth and if it meant true soul-searching then so be it.
You will find your way out of the spiritual/woke forest and step into amazing vistas at some point. If this has helped you in any way, I welcome you to a new summit. There will be more dips along the way, but for now, enjoy the view.