“Don’t believe in miracles — depend on them.” – Laurence J. Peter
For the first thirty years of my life I really wasn’t a spiritual person at all. I had attended twelve years of Catholic school so the concept of religion was certainly available to me, but the teachings didn’t resonate. I had nothing against spirituality, but I had no reason, I felt, to be paying attention to anything other than what I could see right in front of me.
Then, my wise Aunt Bea passed away. I think having someone travel out of this world into another turned my attention to everything to do with the “other side”. The realm of spirituality suddenly opened up. Now, I’m officially one of those “spiritual, but not religious” people.
I wondered why it took me so long to consider being a religious or spiritual person. I learned that in the same way our relationship with our parents affects how we relate to others, it also affects how we relate to the spiritual realm.
I know, I know, poor Mom and Dad get blamed for everything, right? Well, that isn’t what I mean. What I mean is, since our notion of authority is developed by our view of our parents as small children, most of us will unconsciously project that notion onto our view of anything related to god, the supreme authority. When forming or maintaining a relationship with spirit as adults, we can fall into transferring the attributes of our parents onto our notion of ‘spirit’.
Perhaps early in life you experienced your authority figures as a source of abundance, responsiveness and reliability. Perhaps you were consistently reassured that everything was going to be all right and felt well taken care of. If so, it could be easy to trust the divine authority and expect the same kind of relationship.
On the other hand, maybe you learned that help was not available despite how much you asked for it. Perhaps asking for help was characterized as “weak” and you learned that relying on yourself was the only option. In that case, it may not occur to you to rely on a divine source of support.
Perhaps when something bad happened to us that was out of our control, our parents told us that it was our fault. As adults we may be a member of a religion whose teachings blame us as well. On the other and, we may have reacted by steering clear of all things religious or spiritual. After all, why would we want to remain connected to a god that tells us that we’ve screwed things up?
What if we had parents who could not be there when we needed them? If parents could not be present, perhaps you do not believe a god exists. If our parents confirmed our fears instead of calming them, we may be hesitant to ask for help from the divine for fear we will learn that all of our worst fears are true.
Fortunately, whether we believe it or not, spirit, god, the universe or whatever you want to call it, is all loving. It doesn’t tell you that you can’t have something. It doesn’t tell you that you deserve to be hurt. It doesn’t tell you that terrible things are going to befall you. It doesn’t tell you that you are wrong, that everything is your fault or that you just have to get it right before you can really relax and enjoy yourself. It doesn’t tell you that you have to do one more thing for someone else before you can do something for yourself. It doesn’t tell you that there is something to fear.
It tells you there is love. It tells you that everything will be all right. It tells you that if you aren’t feeling that, that something earthbound is clouding your vision. It tells you that maybe you just don’t understand how things really work because if you did, you would understand that all is well, you are as perfect as you’ll ever need to be and there is an endless supply of good and light and happy right here on earth.
Why wouldn’t we at least want to try and redefine our relationship with the divine to be tapped in to these wonderful messages? In order to really connect with this uplifting realm, we have to remove the obstacles in our way. One of those obstacles is the transference of our early childhood view of authority. The result of holding on to a negative view is that we deprive ourselves of support – the best kind – at the times when we need it most.