From this 5th floor hotel room, the orange roofs of the buildings of Prague extend outwards in all directions. The sight of them is soothing to me now. It means I have returned back to the city that has claimed my heart. The magic of this city survived the various wars that crawled their way through Europe. Wars that destroyed other cities were not able to harm Prague. It is as if Prague was cloaked and frozen in time. Walking through the streets of old town, I can still hear the sound of horseshoes on the cobblestone. I can still feel the sweet simplicity of the life that people lived here beneath the castle walls. There was pain here. There was torture and there was killing and there was plague; all the inhumane things that graced the rest of Europe over the last thousand years. However, suffering does not hang heavy over this city. It’s streets and buildings are not poisoned by trauma. The spirit of the city itself is so alive. The spirit of this city feels invincible. The esoteric way of life that was so integral to the people who called this city home has blessed this city and protected it. This city speaks to me. I feel it calling me when I am across the sea. Something in me clicks into place when I am here.
After landing on this soil, I was driven to a workshop that I had been hired to co-host. But sitting on stage, I felt myself getting sadder and sadder. I could feel myself parting ways with all my fellow spiritual teachers. I felt myself on stage alone.
My approach to spiritual practice is so often the exact opposite from other people in this field. It is the opposite because my perspective is so vastly different and also because I was that person for whom traditional spiritual practice did not work. When I was first trying to piece my life back together, it did not work for me to ‘decide to be happy’. It did not work for me to ‘focus positively’. It did not work for me to ‘practice forgiveness’. It did not work for me to explain away my pain with some enlightened sounding spiritual principal. In fact, for me, all of these things just made me worse. And when I started looking around, I saw that it was not just me that felt this way. So many people sitting in the audience of a spiritual workshop feel the exact same way. They are wondering what the hell is wrong with them because all this spiritual shit about unconditional love and happiness that they are told like a promise every day does not work for them, but it seems to work for everyone else around them.
Being completely authentic with you I must tell you that the world of ‘spiritual people’ is often the most frightening social world of all. It is the world where the ego has the most elaborate disguises. It is the world where people are the most in denial about themselves. It is the world where people call themselves conscious but can in fact be the most unconscious. The identification with how a spiritual person should feel and how they should act and what they should look like has created a community of people who judge and condemn people who do not fit into that mold. Sometimes, it is a relief to sit down with someone who is completely unaware of themselves and of spirituality in general. They are not pretending to hard to be who they want the world to see them as.
I want you to imagine that there are three layers to earth. And this earth represents you. There is the core (center layer), there is the mantle (middle layer) and there is the crust (top layer). Let’s pretend that the core is who you really are. It is the being-ness that is eternal. Let’s pretend that the mantle is the shadow, everything that is preventing you from really getting to and connecting with the core. And the crust is where you see the light. It is what is conscious in your waking life. Most spiritual practice and nearly every spiritual teacher walking this earth teaches you how to get from the mantle to the crust. Spirituality 101. Most people’s entire spiritual practice is about getting back to the surface of the crust (back into the light) when they sink into the mantle (shadow). But when you do this, you will never actually find yourself. You will certainly never experience an enlightenment. Because enlightenment is found in the core and to get there, you need to swim down instead of up. You need to go the entire opposite direction than most people point you in to get to your core. You cannot escape from the shadow into the light and become illuminated. You must dive into the shadow with the light of your consciousness to reach your core.
The enemy of this work is bypassing. For any of you who do not understand bypassing, I have a video on YouTube all about it. But simply put, consciously choosing to rescue yourself out of your pain into the light will never, ever work long term. It will simply unnecessarily prolong your process of expansion. Only diving into the pain as deeply as you can, will transform it. People take years to figure this out for themselves. And often it takes them experiencing a situation that they literally cannot bypass for them to begin the work of diving into themselves.
The problem with being a game changer is that you are often on the stage alone. You are the odd one out. You are the one who does it all differently. And because your way of doing things does not validate the rest of them, they resist you like the plague. My career is really shaping up this way so far. I am not aligned with what most spiritual teachers say. And sometimes, like right now on this trip, I find this really sad. I feel the pressure of being the one who is leading people in a whole different direction despite extreme resistance. Looking at my ‘demographic’, it is easy to see that my perspective appeals to an entirely different group of people as well. Often times my event organizers comment on the fact that people show up to my events that no organizer would ever expect to come to any spiritual workshop. It is a whole different audience. Mostly full of people who have suffered so much that the traditional methods of ‘feeling better’ just have not worked. Yesterday’s audience was more of a traditional spiritual audience. And I could see just how deeply the coping mechanism of bypassing runs here.
Two years ago, I wrote that the people of the Czech Republic are affected with what I call “the iron curse”. The iron curse is a mental condition that comes out of having to survive extreme emotional circumstances. It is the idea that you have to just “get on with it and be strong no matter how you are feeling because there is no other option”. It is a common vibration amongst people who have been victimized and literally have no other choice but to die or physically ‘get on with it’ despite dying inside. They are not hardened or cold people, but they expect themselves to be as strong as iron inside. It is solitary condition. It is a condition that expects to receive no nurturing of any kind. This vibration, which is a byproduct of this nation’s history, has now been passed from grandparents to parents to children. It is by far the most unanimous vibration I have seen in the collective conscious of this country. It is hurting the people here greatly. But it also makes the Czech people the least ‘entitled’ people I have ever met. They expect nothing from other people. For people who are affected by this iron curse, spiritual bypassing (using positivity as a life raft to rescue oneself from negativity) just comes with the territory. And so, I am going to spend the next several appearances here trying to accompany people into what is real and helping them dive downward instead of upward. In this area of the globe, spiritual practice is used like a whip that people abuse themselves into shape with. The will is in control of the ship and it is not a benevolent leader. The inner child is screaming and continues to be told, “there’s no reason to feel bad, and it’s your choice to turn that frown upside down”. What is funny is that several of my close friends who have accompanied me here are a perfect match to this dynamic and so Prague is serving as a beautiful mirror for them.
Today, I am present to the fact that my calling is to bring people through the shadow to the light of the core and not out of the shadow up into the light of the sun. And this may be a lonely position for a while because it is the road less traveled.