Ignoring the Baby Octopus – Why Spirituality May Make You Feel Low
Think about the time when you got interested in spirituality.
What was the turning point? That moment when you needed to know if there was more to life.
Did you arrive to spirituality from a solid foundation where you had done your shadow work, inner child work and healed your traumas with a great therapist?
It’s ok, I didn’t either.
Spiritual calling may be the first step towards less materialistic life. Or, maybe spirituality called you after a serious ego hurt and you felt like you needed to find some hope? Yes, spirituality offers hope. We can see a vision of our True Self in prayers, rituals and meditations. We instinctively know we’re more shining, loving, expanded than we ever allowed ourselves to understand.
And you’re right, we all are indefinitely deep, wise and beautiful.
True Self is however a bit cheeky, it shows up in special moments and gives us a little movie trailer. Ah, that definitely looks like riding off into the sunset!
Oh but wait, my horses shoe just fell off and it started to rain, where did all this mud come from…
The little glimpses of beauty keep us being motivated, meditating, drinking our green juices and keeping the crystals dust free.
But, at some point, the soul really starts to emerge: the True Self stays with us for longer and longer periods of time, without willing. That starts to happen if we dare to look at icky parts of our personality with a strongly embodied therapist, stay present with strong emotions and come in clear terms that we’re pretty much as hellish and annoying as everyone we hate and blame.
The funny part if you try to pray or meditate yourself directly into eternal True Self, without doing the integration of your denied and shadow sides, is that it kind of works. We arrive there for couple of seconds, minutes, even hours. Bliss, oh my Buddha, it feels amazing. There’s no more pain. Drink from the well of eternity.
Yes, you can feel high while praying and meditating. However, soon after the practise is over there might be a blunt “real life sucks” check out.
This may lead to an idea of becoming a nun/monk and pray or meditate 24/7.
Or we simply solve the problem by developing a new spiritual subpersonality that enjoys the shadow side. Welcome ShivaShantiShaktiShusha! Hello Eternal Sunshine:
“By looking at you I think your aura needs cleansing, oh you don’t want it? Many people who are not ready for it, they say the same. You will be. Our paths will cross it’s the right time. Here’s a crystal to heal your anal clenching. Namaste.”
We may start practising spirituality to avoid feelings of shame, emptiness and loneliness. The practise becomes an avoidant behaviour, the spiritual bypass.
Except that you need to come back. Your True Self offered some yummy previews. Your life awaits, the real work is in the relationships, growing up, commitment, responsibility, self nurturing. All those things that really give us freedom in the end. Maybe find a beloved who completely messes up your…ahem…slightly shallow inner peace. What a great opportunity! The need for ego healing is becoming more and more obvious. The inner child, the Baby Octopus needs human nurture and care.
Life with bills, rotten carrots in the back of the fridge, early mornings, supermarkets, stiff shoulders, boring tasks and annoying neighbours. You try to send love and light to the seagull that just pooped on you, they said changing your thoughts helps…yes, it helps for five minutes. But to keep going like that, you need to consciously keep doing that, with your will.
And willing is slowly becoming yet another addiction to cover up the shame of being a human, with human needs.
Ego healing, nurturing the little Baby Octopus, is not fluffy or easy. You know it’s time to heal the inner child when you become extremely judgemental towards other people, especially the ones who practise spirituality. Yes, it is nice to think about gods, but if one ends up more and more dry and uptight or — in the other end of the spectrum — chaotic and impulsive, there might be some very young part in the system craving for nurture and commitment.
True Self awaits for you after you’ve said “welcome shame, murderous thoughts, rage, self hatred, envy, greed, aggression and sexual obsessions and the whole knitting club next door”.
Ok, maybe not all of them at once. It’s a snail paced dance.
About Letting Go
So we have embarked on the journey approaching the subconscious with different methods. Great! We have danced, sat, walked in meditations, practised yoga. We’ve done emotional release, laughing, rolling in the mud, sacred sex. You named it, the world has delivered.
Except that part making you feel there’s something wrong with you, because you “can’t let go”.
You are totally perfect if you can’t. You are a human.
The ego, the little Baby Octopus can’t let go, because it would not have all this pain if we had the choice of “letting go” in the first place. The ego needs not to let go of anything, it needs love and integration. If you can think more like “let it all be and I’ll take care the best I can”, it can be a huge relief.
We’re dealing with a human ego Baby Octopus and it will always need tender love and care.
If the Baby Octopus lets go of your need to be dependent on others, its natural need to be loved, held, looked into eyes, it basically is failing its ego purpose of keeping you safe and in connection with your intimate partners and other loved ones.
Yes, anyone can “love and light” someone random for 2 days on a retreat from a transpersonal point of view, but to really be in love with another human being for 2 or 20 years…that calls for a solid, grounded ego. The Baby Octopus needs to be safe and well nourished to be able to genuinely love others.
The more we get shaming of our basic needs, the tighter the Baby Octopus will want to hold on to its safety. We wouldn’t be in this soul searching situation, with all this trauma, if our needs were met in the first place.
There’s sometimes an admiration for people who withdraw into the mountains, live in solitude and transcend the body and eat only stardust. In current society, facing incredible challenges with supressed rage and fear, we simply can’t afford more people like that. Disconnection and unconscious behaviour is already an epidemic: we’re more familiar touching our phones than our beloved’s body.
Please don’t shame yourself or allow anyone shame you for having natural human needs.
“Go into committed relationships and make that your spiritual practise.”
That’s one of the best advices I’ve heard.