If you count yourself in the rapidly growing ranks of the “spiritual but not religious” you will probably resonate with the question I receive routinely from readers of the Stonyhill-Nuggets newsletter.
“How can I embrace an authentic spirituality that isn’t religious? I feel called to live a more spiritually grounded life, but I don’t know how to do that without going back to the church and religion I left years ago.”
When we are spiritually ungrounded and struggling with life, we search for meaning in the values of our culture, and in the teachings of our religious traditions. Our need for stability and balance creates hunger for a depth of spirituality frequently missing in the religious beliefs and theologies of our culture’s religious institutions.
This hunger for an authentic spiritual growth outside of traditional religious teachings is leading many of the “spiritual but not religious” toward the kind of non-religious spiritual life coaching offered in the Stonyhill-Nuggets newsletter—–a spiritual, but non-religious focus on the practical insights, skills, and day-to-day spiritual practices required for authentic spiritual growth in the modern world.
It’s helpful to understand the differences that exist between the goals and teachings of “spiritual life coaching” from those of traditional “spiritual direction”.
Traditional Spiritual Direction
Traditional spiritual direction is focused on developing a personal relationship with a theistic being called God—-and creating an active prayer life with that God.
The roots of traditional spiritual direction are embedded in the mythic stage of human cultural development and are an integral part of the sacred scriptures of the world’s mainline religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Spiritual Life Coaching
Spiritual life coaching can exist side by side with the practice of traditional, religiously based, spiritual direction, but is more focused on coping with life in the here-and-now, learning to “see” the reality of “what is”, and embracing the skills needed to become the person you were born to “be” in “this” world.
The focus of spiritual life coaching is on awakening your consciousness and learning to bring grace and compassion into the world through your behaviors, not your religious beliefs. It’s about living more authentically and embracing the reality that your true authentic self is pure observing consciousness, not your ego.
Spiritual life coaching is not based on a primitive, first century, theistic understanding of Ultimate Reality. It embraces a 21st century scientifically literate understanding of reality, it incorporates modern biblical scholarship in our understanding of both religious teachings and religious history, and it understands Ultimate Reality as the non-theistic creative evolutionary impulse to “become” incarnate in all of creation—-the evolutionary impulse of infinite becoming that has been creating our universe for the last 13.7 billion years—–the creative impulse we call Spirit.
Authentic Spiritual Growth In Spiritual Life Coaching
In spiritual life coaching, we believe we become what we think about, so if we are to develop an authentic spirituality, we have to learn to think differently. In spiritual life coaching, authentic spiritual growth is about learning new ways to be present in our world, and learning to “see” the world through new eyes.
In spiritual life coaching an authentic spirituality is based on the idea that you need to be conscious of the energy you send into the world because that is the same energy you will attract into your life. You need to be careful what you believe because what you believe is the world you will create for yourself.
Authentic spiritual growth requires awakening to the presence of our inner-child’s unconscious, self-absorbed primitive ego, becoming intentionally self-aware of the negative energy our primitive ego sends into the world, and most importantly, bringing to consciousness the unconscious beliefs our primitive ego uses to create that energy.
When our energy is narcissistic, self focused, and driven by the religious beliefs of our primitive ego’s dualistic black-and-white thinking, it is all but impossible to develop a compassionate, authentic spirituality——-because no thing or person is as revered, or as important to our narcissistic primitive ego, as our “self”. The only “ultimate reality” that exists for the primitive ego is “self”.
Spiritual life coaching introduces spiritual practices that affirm and embrace the reality that we live in a never-ending, changing, emerging, evolving universe. It acknowledges that we are part of a 13.7 billion year process of emergence in a universe that is using deep time to go somewhere. It embraces the reality that we are all kin——stardust that has evolved from pure hydrogen gas into matter, life, consciousness, and classical music—–the universe and evolution becoming conscious of itself. That we “are” evolution—-a unique, individual expression of Infinite Becoming.
Spiritual life coaching explores and examines the unconscious limits that our primitive ego places on what is “possible” as we make this amazing human journey from our primitive ego consciousness to an awakened adult consciousness. As we grow and evolve our consciousness, spiritual life coaching acknowledges the co-creative urgency to evolve and open our hearts to what “is” possible—-the urgency to use our individual unique gifts to collectively bring positive change in the world by creating that which is needed——but has not yet been created.
Authentic spiritual growth, success, happiness, meaning, and healthy relationships with those around us——-all depend on our individual
- willingness to embrace change,
- to intentionally awaken our consciousness through growth in self-awareness,
- to forge an unwavering commitment to fully embrace reality, and the
- courage to live fully “present” to life.
Spiritual life coaching believes that living into the fullness of the evolutionary impulse is necessary for humanity to birth the collective awakened consciousness needed to create a sustainable human presence on this planet we call home——-a presence that would indeed be a compelling example of authentic spiritual growth.