As I was preparing to write this post, thinking of spiritual growth and of the lessons learned in my own journey, my life suddenly and quickly took a turn. Let’s just say my last posts (click here to read), have something to do with it. Obviously, they were meant to be an introduction for this post as well, but synchronicity sometimes just slaps you in the face.  

It’s always been that way in my life … whenever I needed to preach on something or I was preparing spiritually for some occasions, life simply made sure to give me a full plate of what I was asking. It hasn’t been any different since I decided to start my blog. I knew that all the reasons why my previous blogs and videos had failed did not only depend on my lack of experience or followers, but also on my lack of of transparency. How can I preach and help others reach their goals when I can’t even speak and live the truth about who I am? 

So be it! Let the world read my posts and know who I am… Even the worst insults since my last posts, made me grow and heal more. 

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Seeking Spirituality, Means Making Place for Truth 

Needless to say, that when I finally decided to speak up, my life suddenly took a turn for the better, but the beginnings were frightening and destabilizing. I quickly had to deal with my deepest secrets, my dark shadows as Jean Monbourquette would call them. A quick parenthesis, I strongly suggest you read “How to Befriend Your Shadow” by Jean Monbourquette. If you do read French, I suggest you read the original version “Apprivoiser son ombre” by Jean Monbourquette. 

I’ll to try to give you a quick summary of what he means with the dark shadow and I’ll do it with the example that struck me the most in his book. The dark shadow is the part of us that we don’t want others to see and that can be related to bad thoughts, false internalized evils or negative tendencies. Our spontaneous and innate reaction is to quiet those thoughts and even deny or justify them. However, we often need to tame them to be able to learn from them and develop a better knowledge of ourselves. By doing so, we will be able to better understand and identify negative patterns in our lives or correct recurring mistakes. 

The Dark Shadow Explained

In his book, Monbourquette gives the example of an event that occurred in Gubbio, Italy at the time of Saint Francis of Assisi. The farmers from Gubbio were struggling with an evil wolf that kept eating their sheep and chickens. Some tried killing it and ended up being attacked by him, thus failing at their attempts. Exasperated, they finally called upon Saint Francis because he was known to speak to animals.

Upon arrival, Saint Francis went to the woods in search of the wolf. He was gone for days and the farmers were terrified at the possibility of his having been killed by the wolf. Suddenly, he came out of the wood and told the farmers that from now on, all they needed to do was to feed the wolf and that the wolf would not touch their animals. 

This may sound absurd … but not paying attention to the dark shadow within us can result in destructive behaviour. Feeding the dark shadow, acknowledging its presence and deepening its comprehension can only bring peace. 

Accepting to Be Naked, First Step for Authentic Spiritual Life

The same goes for our spiritual life. Denying parts of us is like Adam and Eve trying to hide in the Garden of Eden (ref. Bible, Gen. 3) It basically means that we falsify our relation with God. Isn’t that the problem in this chapter of Genesis? Adam says:” I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Gen 3, 10). The knowledge of evil is not the problem … it’s the “wanting to hide.” 

How can we establish a true and free relation with God (the Universe or life … call it as you want) and not accept all of who we are… truly naked before Him? No matter what you believe in, if you want to grow in spiritual life, you need to develop what Richard Rohr calls the “Naked Now” in his book (The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See) that I fully recommend.  

Real Spiritual Practices Will Bring Inner Growth and Change

Only by being true to yourself and to others, will you be able to be true in your spiritual life and spiritual practices. If not, you will develop false practices that will not change your negative behaviours and will become superficial and exterior to you; they will become food for your pride.

Let me make you laugh a little to better illustrate this last affirmation. As I was about to go celebrate a funeral, a great-uncle of mine was praying the rosary in church. At first, I was positively surprised. Let’s just say he was not known for his spiritual practices. He seemed totally immersed in prayer and I was truly moved and happy to see that.

At the end of the funeral, as everybody was heading outside the church and hanging out on the porch, the women were inside chatting a little. Impatient to leave, he suddenly screamed out of rage: “Where is my fucking wife!” Well, there goes the rosary. Lol.  

My Small Experience

Back to the serious stuff! My experience is quite limited and may seem irrelevant to many. I truly believe that this experience will only keep growing until the moment I die. To be fully transparent, I keep discovering negative stems in me that I did not previously acknowledge. They are like roots to all other forms of wrongs and bad behaviour or negative patterns. Every time I think I fully understand my dark shadow, I happen to discover more. But hey! I also truly believe that I keep healing and growing. 

The more I acknowledge my dark shadow, the more I succeed in being naked. Subsequently, the more my prayer feels fulfilling and the more I see results in my daily meditation. I’d say, the more I learn to love myself in all my positive and negative aspects, the more I can heal from my past wounds and bad experiences. 

Sadly, we often learn to imitate in spirituality. Imitate the saints, the gurus, the examples around us. We don’t often understand the reasons behind what we do … we keep count and take pride in what we accomplish and in what we know. We try to fake being humble but love to boast about how much we know and do. We unfortunately forget that spirituality is intimacy! 

And you know what? Intimacy is not about being perfect! It’s about being you! So, fuck those who think you’re a problem or even those who have a problem with what you think! Be you … that is where God will meet you!

Let’s try to grow together.

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