Why We Struggle to Believe

Having difficulty maintaining a spiritually focused perspective? Is the spiritual life just another item on your to-do list? Not sure what team to bat for? Do not worry; the team doesn’t matter, and you’re not alone.

I’ve been contemplating this issue, and it seems most of us struggle with the spiritual genre because it feels like a conceptual exercise. In a modern age where we can access photos of deep space and videos of places we couldn’t imagine or ever visit, we’re conditioned to believe it only if we see it because of technology. But the reliance on technology has also made us socially isolated and spiritually complacent. Since technology enhances and saturates our senses, it may be the misplaced trust in the senses via technology that lulls us into a spiritual slumber. (perhaps that’s why monasteries and spiritual retreats forbid technology; the magic is beyond the senses)

So how did we get here?

Unconsciously, by watching and copying others’ behaviour, we’re conditioned from birth to believe that what we see is actual reality and that death means the end of our individual existence. We can see this even in cultures that have strong spiritual views. You will notice that most people don’t really live as a reflection of their spiritual “beliefs” or of an afterlife. If actions speak louder than words, then how people treat themselves, each other and what they prioritise betrays what they really believe and value. However, it’s crucial to realise that societal and cultural conditioning influence our beliefs and perceptions, limiting our understanding of reality. Therefore, to gain some spiritual traction, it is essential to question our assumptions and seek a deeper understanding beyond what we have been taught.

The Need to Wake Up

For most of us, we are sleepwalking through life much more than we imagine. To a certain extent, that’s a normal component of our biological construct; we become habituated to something (including a belief), stop thinking about it, and then operate on automatic. But the problem with a habituated but limited worldview is that it doesn’t give us an accurate perspective of ourselves, which usually leads to a chaotic mind and a restless heart. We become dismissive of new information, self-absorbed, and ultimately self-defeating. We don’t consciously evolve, or do so very slowly, because we live habitually, reactively, and unconsciously unless age or trauma change our priorities along the path to a consistently unexpected physical death.

Unconscious living based on conditioned beliefs is a comfortable habit. When new information arrives, we may think we’re being discerning, but actually, it’s just our primary conditioned beliefs that reign over our decision-making skills. We are rarely rationally driven. Indeed, we often react first and justify a “rational” explanation later. The external stimuli on our senses are too strong and convincing. Our minds are too distracting and persuasive. Our emotions are too addictive and overwhelming to control.

I get it.

It’s tough to snap out of our comfy belief blanket when we have very convincing sensory information telling us that this material existence is all there is. It’s tough to believe in an immaterial existence (spiritual woo-woo) when we’re satisfied with material comfort and effective technology. I know this because even though people are literally dying, coming back to life, and reporting no death of individual consciousness, we’re still not convinced there’s something divine beyond our physical focus. For many that are persuaded to look at the evidence, the penny won’t fully drop; the full implications of this discovery don’t seem to sink in. Conscious survival at death seems too surreal a concept!

If testimonies of people dying and coming back with tales of the divine spiritual realm weren’t enough, there are other fields with evidence of our spiritual natures. A few genuine mediums can get messages from the spirit world and pass them on with personalised accuracy. Some people are having voluntary out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and reporting verifiable events from miles away; or even meeting those who have crossed over. Some people have shared death experiences while alive and beside a dying loved one. It’s clear that our individual consciousness doesn’t need a body to survive but, in fact, expands when separated from the physical body’s constraints.

With so much overwhelming evidence, our survival of physical death is the single most important discovery for mankind’s perspective on himself—certainly for me and many others. This discovery challenges the way we’ve always thought about life and death, and it gives us new ways to look into the nature of consciousness after we literally pass on. It also has profound implications for how we view ourselves and our place in the universe. How we view reality is the fulcrum on which our self-perception rests and, therefore, how we think, feel, decide, and act.

A Change in Perspective

If my spiritually-focused perception remembers that this is akin to a school camp and that I’m here to learn new skills and work through any resistance, then naturally, I’m more likely to think, feel, decide, and act differently than I did in the past. I can’t change what I can’t see, and I want to see the truth of my existence. With a change in conditioned perception, self-observation makes catching my habitual reactions to anything I resist steadily more frequent. I feel better not going through life like a rabid vegetable—overreacting to anything that doesn’t fit my conditioned and unreflected preconceptions while sleepwalking through life.

Waking us up from our slumber to our spiritual origin is why highly evolved spirits come back to earth as the great masters we know and remind us to do the work. The work of waking up is to remember who we are and where we came from, take our incarnation as a healing journey, choose paths that open the heart and mind, and know what we’re here to evolve past what we resist. Through their teachings and examples, these great masters show us how to go beyond our conditioned views and remember our souls. By living consciously through the use of our will, we can find inner peace, joy, and fulfilment that are not dependent on external circumstances.

Remember, we have free will.

We can choose to hide behind our apathy and conditioned delusion and continue as we have in the past, but recognise that doing so will only lead us where we are: living on repeat. We can choose to blame our relentless thoughts, the ego, our childhood, somebody else, our broken heart and the kitchen sink for our dissatisfaction. But deep down, we know it’s all on us—we’re responsible for everything in our lives, even if it isn’t our fault. We may have been dealt a bad hand, but it’s up to us how we play the game. To play it well, we use the mind as a tool to recognise and work with our emotional signals; that’s what we’re here to do.

The mind isn’t the problem—it’s exactly the tool we need to recognise the work.

Emotions aren’t the problem—they’re the signal our souls use to remind and motivate us about what we need to work through.

We’re not bodies with souls; we’re spirits having a physical experience. This is an important distinction. This perspective shifts the focus from our physical bodies to our spiritual selves. By noticing our innate and conditioned characteristics, we can tune in to our emotional predictability. We learn to wait for the turbulence to pass before taking any action or uttering a word. We do this because we recognise that emotional turbulence comes from pain, fear and resistance to what is. According to NDEs, that’s our only job: to learn and evolve through experience and help other embodied spirits struggling with the same amnesia.

No matter how big a deal we think our experiences in this physical world are, we have to keep reminding ourselves this is just a small, important, but very short and temporary part of a greater spiritual journey.

Perhaps just knowing that may make all the difference.


Do you struggle with spirituality sometimes? Like me, do you get lost in the trivialities of daily life? Leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you.

Also published on Medium.

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