I Gave Up Spirituality; It Caused Me Too Much Stress!

Firstly I want to discuss the title of this post. It is modelled on the title of a book that Dr John Demartini had been working on called ‘I Gave Up Happiness; It Made Me Too Sad’. I enjoy the irony of it and so I wanted to take that concept and write about my perspective. For the last 4-5 years I have been waxing lyrical about Demartini and his work. I may have jumped the shark a little. 

In the midst of working 60-80 hour weeks and still struggling financially I turned to a life coach to try to figure out where I was going wrong. Tony Selimi is a fantastic coach and has worked with Demartini for a few years now. He is very intuitive and experienced and the level of awareness I developed under his tutelage was far greater than I ever expected. However, I found myself running away with some of the spiritual aspects that he would talk about sometimes. Impatience 1, Paul 0. 

Despite having spent these last years learning about spirituality by watching YouTube clips, reading books and discussing with various people, I cannot, for the life of me, actually tell you what it is. All I can muster up is that it is about faith. Faith in the universe to deliver the goods. Faith that everything will be just fine and work out as we want it. 

It all sounds wonderful doesn’t it? I had been pretty damning of the New Age Movement at various points on my journey as it makes out that life should be good and that we should be happy. I have come to the opinion that this is actually a toxic mindset and belief. And though Demartini is also trying to emphasise that point with the title of that book, he too has been very influenced by this New Age concept. 

He has spent many years studying theology so naturally he is going to believe that there is a God. I have never believed in religion but in the midst of my spiritual studies I convinced myself that there was an “infinite consciousness that permeates the entire universe”. Or words to that effect. My ‘belief’ pendulum has been back and forth for many years now and I can finally say with absolute conviction that I am an atheist. Here’s why…

Firstly, I am beginning to develop a scientific mindset and training myself in certain skills to understand the scientific method and how it applies. Therefore I am appreciating more and more the need for evidence. When I started this journey I was very impressionable because that was my survival instinct. I needed to believe things in order to have certainty that was lacking. 

This leads on to the second point of wanting to be fact based in my dialogue. I cringe at how many times I may have made claims about certain things in my areas of interest. All because I didn’t take a step back to review the information and question it. I wanted to be an authority so I said anything that could potentially make me look smart. Ironically coming across very stupid in the long run, perhaps. Therefore, removing the idea of a ‘God’ from my life made me look closer at how things actually are. 

Thirdly, and possibly the most important for me personally is that I don’t want faith. I don’t want to wish that everything will be ok and I don’t want a Ferrari to turn up on my driveway or a £1m cheque to come through my letter box. I want to take on challenges and figure things out for myself. I don’t want the ‘universe’ to ‘open up’ for me. That is pure fantasy. The universe doesn’t operate like that. 

Having gone through some kind of existential crisis in recent years I feel as though that there is no meaning to the universe. It is too big and too vast to give any consideration whatsoever about little old Paul from Kent. It dawned on me a few months back that life is hard. Something I would ordinarily bemoan. This time I was awash with a sense of relief because I realised that is how it is meant to be. 

I was sold on the New Age dream of everything being all nice and rosey and that I should be able to have whatever I wanted and be eternally happy. Little did I know that I was just being turned into a increasingly sensitive snowflake. Being sold the dream and wondering why it wasn’t happening made me question my self worth. I felt that I was doing something wrong. Worse still, I thought I was someone that was wrong. I thought I was broken. 

Shying away from the world and not getting involved. Losing my social skills because I didn’t feel good enough to be around people. Being completely lost in myself and not knowing who I am, what I stand for and what I want. Locking myself away and ‘studying’ more and more trying to figure out why was feeling that way. Falling deeper and deeper into a nonsensical rabbit hole. 

Anxiety and depression took root in my psyche. I worshiped Demartini a lot and though I don’t follow him so much anymore, he does have some material which I have found very useful. He would say how depression is caused by comparing one’s life to a fantasy. I think in my case this is true. I was expecting high levels of success and accomplishment and all the riches that came with it. Ignoring the fact that I am only in my early thirties. I slumped. Big time. And I gave up work to seek help. 

I began to rationalise things in my mind a little more and found myself coming out of my funk a bit. Things were improving but I couldn’t shake the anxiety. I was convinced that money would be the answer. If I was making loads of money then I would be able to relax more and start enjoying life again. 

In under three years I went from making around £1500 per month to between £6-7k and yet the feeling was just the same. The money wasn’t working. Even though I was saving most of it and building up a cash reserve I was still highly anxious. I figured that maybe it was the debt that I was still in that was keeping me anxious. Nope. A couple of years later I became completely debt free and still earning a good amount of money. The anxiety persisted. 

The New Agers can argue that the universe brought me that extra income because I was wishing for it and that the Law of Attraction made it manifest. And I would rebuttal with two points; firstly, I’m pretty sure it was my hard work and willingness to do what others wouldn’t that got me more work and secondly, if that was the case then why didn’t it address the feelings I was having?

It is all too easy to wish for and go after the ‘stuff’. I see now for myself that the stuff doesn’t make you happy and bring you as much fulfilment as you thought it might. It is a wonderful thing to discover actually. Again, relief. I was going after the stuff because I wanted external validation. My insecurities had such a grip on me that I would do whatever it took to be successful in order to gain respect and recognition. All the while losing self respect in the process by way of being too relaxed with my own integrity. Irony is in full force in this post!

This need for recognition and validation created the FOMO mentality that took such a strong hold on me. I wanted to master as many things as possible because I didn’t want to have any weaknesses show. Again, as irony would have it, I started breaking down. I kept looking more and more into spirituality for answers because it promised ‘unconditional love’. It was all just a downward spiral. How could I be so trapped by something that promises liberation.

Believe it or not, I’m not knocking faith. I think it is important. Only that is faith in oneself, of course. I don’t need ‘God’ or the ‘universe’ to serve me with all my wishes and desires. I want to take on challenges and grow as a person. I want the world to be a dangerous place, I want life to be hard. Because that way I get to grow and develop greater strength. I don’t want ease with out difficulty and pleasure without pain. I want to earn what I get. I can no longer do work purely for the money. I want to build a reputation and operate with integrity. I want to do work that will help me develop as a person and enable me to compete with my former self as opposed to with anyone else. 

In my opinion, at the opposite end of the spectrum to (external) faith is responsibility. All I was doing was shirking responsibility. I wasn’t taking responsibility for my feelings and sensitivity. All I needed to do was just ‘Man-up’ and start accepting things for how they are rather than how I thought they ‘should’ be. Letting go of ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’ and ‘ought tos’ has been an incredibly liberating step in itself. 

Having gotten more involved with science, objective reasoning, critical thinking and logic I am content with only going by evidence. Therefore I am happy that if there is no evidence for something then as far as I am concerned it doesn’t exist and therefore no need to worry about it. And that is liberation at its finest ladies and gentlemen!

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