Seven years ago I found myself crying in my car at a red light on my lunch break. I was 24 years old. I had it all — A career in financial lending at a bank, a long term relationship, and my dream car; but my life was missing something. This sounds like every other awakening story you’ve ever read. Someone young without much life experience leaves the corporate world to pursue a life of enlightenment and authenticity while working a four hour work week in Bali making six figures a year. Good vibes and manifestation changed their life and they want it to change yours too! The self-help books, coaches, and healers can get you there with radiant light and it will be a beautiful loving journey. I bought into this love and light and thought all my bad days were behind me. Like someone diseased walking down the church aisles to be miraculously healed by the almighty televangelist, I dove — and I dove in deep. To clichely quote Radiohead, ‘For a minute there I lost myself’. You rarely hear the real stories. They are messy. They are miserable. They are long. You can’t snap your fingers and land in the universe of light.
Back to seven years ago at the red light: Like many others in the spiritual community I told you the shiny parts. Why? Because whether you want to believe it or not, humans are like fish. We are suckers for shiny things in life — objects, stories, beliefs, and other shiny human beings. Manipulate us with something or someone shiny and reel us right on in without a fight. What you didn’t see at the red light was the misogynistic corporation that slowly sucked my soul away, eight years of a prescription cocktail for mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, a long term abusive relationship, and an overpriced BMW that I bought to impress people I hated. Stories like these are depressing and are harder to sell, but they are the truth and it’s time the love and light community owns up to them. My spiritual awakening began at that red light. A voice came over me and asked ‘What the hell are you doing with your life?’. Due to my heavily medicated and regularly inebriated existence at the time I won’t claim this was a higher power because I honestly don’t know. Hell, I don’t even know if this is how it all went down at the red light, but it’s been my story for this long so I’ll stick to it. These are the myths I’ve encountered in the last seven years of a spiritual awakening. I’ve called bullshit on a few, but like too many others I fell for most of them.
Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
Be sure to check your low vibe upon entering that crystal-encrusted door to your awakening — you wouldn’t want to pick up any low energy commoners during your astral travels. The theory behind this thinking is that high vibe energy/ frequency will bring high vibe people and opportunities into your life. It’s often taught that lower vibrational beings and situations will fall away naturally if you keep raising your vibration. You’ll lose friends and maybe even family but it’s okay because you’re raising your vibration and they are bad vibes.
Here’s the deal: I truly believe you should try to raise your vibration through the food you eat and the things you consume mentally, physically and emotionally. Not because you’re trying to attract your tribe. Not because you’re trying to attract high vibe opportunities into your life. Do it for your physical and mental health. A higher vibrational diet is actually healthier for you and can decrease your risk of illness. Being mindful in what you consume mentally and emotionally is just plain good for your mental health. The ugly truth is that the spiritual community treats raising their vibration like some kind of religious achievement — the higher the vibes, the closer to God! While I can vouch that I do feel closer to God when I’m doing what I can to live in a way that raises my vibration, I know my whole life is not reliant on high vibes alone. Lower vibrational people and events are still going to enter your life. After all, no extraterrestrial superhero has beamed you up and you do in fact still live on Earth. Lower vibrations are supposed to enter your life when you learn to raise your vibration. Whether it be people or opportunities, you should do all you can to help them as long as it’s not harming you or anyone else. Stop using high vibrations like some sort of ranking system.
A Positive Mindset Creates a Positive Life
#GoodVibesOnly am I right?! Seems harmless enough — a bunch of young carefree beauties on social media without a care in the world. In the real world, this can be summed up to the term Toxic Positivity. The person who is battling mental illness cannot simply stop being so negative. The mother who is worried about paying for housing or providing food for her children cannot think happy thoughts to stay afloat financially. The man wrongfully accused of a crime can’t just be happy in his cell while he’s missing out on growing old with his partner. The harsh truth is that the good vibes only culture is heavily drenched in privilege. I’m not knocking optimism. I firmly believe in spreading positivity when and where you can in life, but you cannot preach positivity to everyone and every situation. Positivity alone will not create a positive life.
When I first fell into spirituality I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t be the happy, shiny positive person I read about in self-help books or saw on social media. They made it seem so easy. They didn’t tell me that during my spiritual awakening I’d go through a period of anger and hate. They didn’t tell me that I’d have days were I didn’t want to get out of bed or even that I might still contemplate suicide. They told me positivity would enlighten me, and I practiced it to a fault. When I realized my positive mindset wasn’t changing my life I fell hard, and it made me feel even more hopeless about life than when I started. Don’t buy into this lie. Positivity is beautiful when you can be positive — but even when you’re spiritually awakened you will have bad days, you will have to face demons, you will still get angry, and you will absolutely still have ‘hate days’.
Manifest Your Dreams
Remember the six-figure, four hours of work per week Bali ex-pat with the shiny story in the beginning of our journey through these myths? — Well, this one’s for you boo. You’ve seen them on cheesy Facebook ads or possibly even yelling at you through the screen before your selected YouTube video plays. They want to share the five things they did to manifest their dream life. If you join their easy life-changing program for an undisclosed amount of money you will manifest your dreams too.
It’s a hard pill to swallow but manifestation is being used as a get rich quick scheme in too many circles. While manifestation can be a great tool for your life it simply cannot give you the dream life and wealth you desire. You must do the work yourself — I know one of the steps is working towards your goal but that’s not the work I’m talking about here. You have to do the internal work. The work no one wants to talk about. The ugly, messy, emotional healing. Without this internal work, you’ll arrive to the dream as a sham. No one else may notice, but the one person you can’t get away from will definitely notice… yourself. Believe me, when I say, the get rich quick scheme never works and absolutely nothing about spiritual awakening is quick. I feel I should also ask if most of your spiritual awakening revolves around manifestation is it really a spiritual awakening?
I’m not referring to the scarcity vs. abundance theory. You should research that on your own because it can actually benefit you when used correctly. This abundance mindset is more closely related to our friend manifestation. When did the spiritual community become obsessed with promoting a six-figure income? Is that why you became spiritual? Every time I turn around there’s a new spiritual coach teaching people how to create a six-figure income with their abundance mindset techniques. I will celebrate your financial successes but please PLEASE stop selling this lie to everyone. The abundance mindset is not the missing link keeping you from wealth, and a spiritual coach isn’t going to make you rich. Building wealth is complex. It’s a combination of privilege, hard work, mindset, emotional health, breaking limiting beliefs and learning to uncondition yourself from what modern society has taught you. If you build a business around helping others spiritually I’m not saying you shouldn’t get compensated. Everyone has to make a living, but this six-figure obsession in the spiritual community ain’t it baby.
Rituals: Alignments: Crystals: Sage
Basically things… all the things. You don’t need more crystals. You don’t need more sage or tarot cards. No need to keep performing rituals over and over and over. Spiritual consumerism is very real and can actually steer you away from your awakening. Everything you need on your journey through an awakening is within you. You arrived at the challenge with enough. You rarely hear the love and light community speak on this, but I encourage you to study Buddhist teachings on attachments. A large portion of awakening spiritually deals with the releasing of attachments — so why is it that our mascot in the love and light community is practically a personified amethyst burning sage while reading tarot cards at a new moon ritual? These things are simply tools. Nothing more and nothing less. The greatest tool of all is you. Sitting with yourself in silence will do for you what these outside things cannot. Don’t get so caught up in spiritual consumerism that you forget yourself. Of course, I have crystals and smudge bundles and use them during the occasional ritual, but they are not comparable in the least bit to what I’ve learned in silence.
My intention isn’t to drive you away from the spiritual community, it’s actually quite the opposite. I’ve witnessed too many people buy into the lies only to stop mid-journey because they didn’t think they were ‘light’ enough or couldn’t reach ‘high vibes’. My spiritual awakening has been life-changing. It’s helped me heal from mental illness and find joy for life that I never knew existed. The awakening is a life long journey filled with messy truths, incredible highs and natural lows. In no way do I intend to bash the love and light community. I’m simply requesting we drop the facade and show the spiritual journey for what it is. The good. The bad. The ugly. It’s time we take the woo woo world of #GoodVibesOnly out of the spiritual community and bring realness to the surface. Normalize relatable awakenings.