I am on a path of spiritual discernment. With that comes with the baggage I lug around with me. I dance with a sense of heaviness that anybody else on a similar trajectory would also be managing.
So often, I feel the imposter syndrome creep in, permeating my entire being. Here I am, studying in an interfaith seminary to pursue spiritual leadership. I cannot help but think, “What makes me qualified for this?”
I’m still figuring out what my spiritual practice even is, whether my struggles with prayer and meditation make me unworthy. Am I a hypocrite for seeing so much beauty and compassion within fellow sentient beings, but cannot equate that same essence in myself with my everyday mental chatter?
Optimism is not ignorant.
In fact, is such a path one riddled with ignorance? I feel like optimism is shrouded in a cloud of disbelief. I could preach from every mountain top all the problems we have. All the things we should be doing as a society to improve our lives.
And yet I also believe that we have limited control in how much darkness seeps through the universe’s pores. What is a moment of light without the backdrop of clouds? A constantly sunny light is damaging to our eyes, but it’s also damaging to try and read in pitch darkness. And what may be woundedness for someone could be reframed as a joy and treasure for their neighbor.
Where am I leading us in these thoughts today? I’m simply outpouring myself, embracing the messy. Questioning what we judge as good and bad, pretty and ugly, right and wrong. Whether optimism is ignorance in a broken world, or the answer to our prayers.
We flow through the accepted channels, interpreting the world through our own pairs of lenses. We tend to avoid the moments of silence, because it’s then we can really dwell in our woundedness. Let’s continue to move, to speak, to think about the trivial matters that distract us.
There’s so much talking and judging. Not much space is left to listen. And if we do ponder and seek presence, what is there to feel and embrace? Chances are, there’s a substance that feels uncomfortable. It prickles underneath your skin. You struggle to sit with a looming sense of confusion, a foreign object to—as we’ve done all too often—lock in a cage. Burn at the stake. Evict from the premises. Banish to a fiery Hell.
The desire in my being.
I come to spiritual leadership from a unique perspective. On the autism spectrum, I’m learning my strengths, and one that continually arises in my heart is the strength in a different perspective. In what is deemed unquestionable and universally accepted, I doubt.
There’s so much chaos in the world I see outside my window. Cars driving by, people behind the steering wheels who go to work for a certain quantitative amount of time, only to drive back to shelter and repeat an endless cycle. We must pay to exist. That in of itself sounds so outrageous to me.
So here I am, feeling guilty because to be productive and employed equates to worth. I’m ignorant for being optimistic because the cultural elite point fingers. We blame one another for problems we never created or asked for. Hatred is easier than understanding. It’s more acceptable to criticize than it is to love.
Is my optimism ignorant?
My everyday worries blind me to the systematic problems we choose to perpetuate. I question my worth, my abilities to fit into this status quo that was never meant for people like me. The thought of trying to fit in leaves a sour taste in my mouth. What are the alternatives?
All we have is this moment. Rather than jumping upon the mindfulness bandwagon, let me offer this thought: beneath all the layers, what is left? Unpacking all the baggage we each carry, that the human race carries, what essence lingers?
While I don’t know how yet I will serve in this capacity, what title or position I may hold, all I see is an opportunity to acknowledge that underbelly. To shed away the dead cells we label and decide to take as our own.
Worthy of respect.
To respect means, at its roots, to see again. To take the effort for a second glance. That’s the complete opposite of ignorance, and yet such an act is, in my opinion, optimism.
Perhaps I can become a spiritual leader, but my job isn’t to heal. Instead, I acknowledge all you are, all we are, and hold space for that in a world where we toss the heavy things aside if they don’t fit in a news headline, or tweet, or morning greeting. It’s that type of deeper connection that goes far beyond the superficial conversations and embraces that which is mirrored in myself and all of creation.
That spark of life you possess is good. It’s love and compassion and beauty in every capacity imaginable.
We are creating Heaven.
I don’t pretend to understand it. I’m not above it to say I’m a “healer.” All I can do is to accompany you and empathize and make known that these impermanent details that we identify and determine as “our lives” are so not important.
None of this is to devalue the pain in our world. The continual suffering that, in some manifestation, is innate to the universe. I’m passionate about making a positive impact and bettering this container of society and culture. But to truly, effectively do so, we must be optimistic. One cannot call themselves an activist, or a politically aware person, if there’s no hope for something more.
And no, that “something more” isn’t something out of our range, or something that is yet to come to fruition. It’s already within us. The Kingdom of Heaven is upon us.
Do not call optimism ignorant. No. Anything but optimism is slowing down momentum toward the divine evolution in our midst. Pick up that optimism. Look at it in your hands. Then realize you’re a vessel already producing it.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
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