Should you quit drinking alcohol or become vegan if you are on a spiritual journey? Is it really important to stop smoking if you want to be spiritual? These are common questions that crop up in our minds, from time to time because we want to know what’s bad for our spiritual growth and then get rid of it. Same as why we leave old jobs and toxic relationships behind.
I want to address this sensitive topic with the utmost respect and love for everyone, regardless of what you eat, drink, or inhale. At the same time, letting all readers know that after my own spiritual awakening, I did not feel the need to continue casual drinking with office colleagues, have milk, or eat eggs.
As a matter of fact, my body reacted pretty badly to all that, and I naturally weaned off everything that no longer served my well-being. I am a vegetarian, and for most parts, caffeine-free (minus the chocolates).
That tone set, let’s address both frames of mind and educate ourselves on how we want to proceed.
What IS Bad For Your Spiritual Growth?
If we speak high-level, and I mean really high-level, there really is no right or wrong. It just is the way it is. And as Michael Singer beautifully reinforces in his book, it’s really us humans who have ‘preferences’ of how things should or should not be.
So, is there anything really bad for your spiritual growth? Yes, and no.
The Universe (and you) are self-correcting. This means, that whenever you are off-balance, you automatically feel it and know, deep down inside, that this was too much or too little of what works for you.
It’s kind of like a pendulum inside of you, which naturally swings until it reaches equilibrium. And everyone’s inner pendulum is unique to them.
So when it comes to personal preferences like downing shots of vodka or eating chicken wings, the first person that needs to decide if this works or not is YOU.
Because every person’s spiritual quest is unique. While some get to their destination by meditating, some choose to never sit still. There isn’t only one right way to attain enlightenment.
Related Read: The 4 Ancient Paths of Enlightenment
If you feel like those things don’t serve you anymore, give yourself permission to change your mind. Take a moment, and pause here, to answer this question:
If I never did (activity) again, would something feel missing in me?
Whatever your answer is, is your truth at the moment. And now what?
Step into the why.
This is a great step for those that want to explore their dilemma deeper.
You know that you still get charged inside when you think of doing this activity. It’s important to now ask yourself why it feels necessary to you.
As an example, if you’re using alcohol as a way to numb pain, then it may not be serving you long-term. Of course, pain is painful, and because we aren’t taught how to face it, we are scared to do that. And so, we develop different coping mechanisms.
And if you are using alcohol to numb pain, then its grip on you will be quite intense. There’s a reason why Alcohol Anonymous has a 12-step recovery process – addictions aren’t purely physiological needs. They are rooted much deeper in a lack of self-worth.
Asking yourself why something is so important to you, whether it is drinking, smoking, or for that matter, staying in an unhealthy relationship will help you become aware of the unconscious desires that you are fulfilling. Even if at a conscious level it can seem to you that there isn’t anything in this for you.
Does science matter in all this?
Initially, when I was reading through different spiritual books and teachings, I was deeply inspired by two people. Sadhguru and the Buddha. And they both had energy and wisdom in common, which did not need drinking.
It left an impression, and my search led me to scientific inquiry, about the actual disadvantages of alcohol. It might give us a high in the moment, but it does slow the body down. Just like caffeine, which can temporarily recharge you, but can make you crash a few hours later.
Later on, when I read Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization, I also learned that drinking helps quieten the prefrontal cortex of the brain and that intoxicants help us adults tap into the emotional part of the brain. In fact, in some traditions, an argument in the tribe is only resolved once everyone has relaxed their nerves with an intoxicant that helps them reconnect at a social level and resolve from a more “human” place.
That’s of course until alcohol takes over the emotional mind, and we lose control of ourselves.
Science matters when you are on the fence and want to approach the answers logically. This serves people who are deeply rational and left-brained in their day-to-day life.
But when you want to let a habit go from its root, you have to move beyond education and into the unconscious level patterning of it.
This is one space I am being trained in, to help people become aware of their conditioning and let go of habits when they are ready to. Not because they “think they should”. If that’s something you’d like to talk about, feel free to set some time up on my calendar, here.
Are you doomed if you don’t quit what’s bad for your spiritual growth?
The idea that God will punish us or banish us from heaven because we are not perfect, is outdated. I want to challenge that idea with a simple example.
Let’s say that you call an old-time friend, and they start yelling and hurling curses at you. You are startled and feel hurt by their actions. After a few days, your friend’s family member reaches out to you, to let you know that your friend is undergoing an episode of bipolarity. And that they’re not really their true self right now.
From being hurt and feeling misunderstood, you would rapidly move into an AHA moment and a state of understanding. It would make sense.
The same is for God. The creator is omnipresent, and thus, always aware of the deeper why in every situation. Therefore, there is no judgment, just compassion.
Knowing all of this, it isn’t to say that you carry on doing what you’re doing because God will forgive everything. There’s nothing to forgive, but if you’re not in alignment with how you really want to live, you won’t live to your full potential. And then what? Reincarnation, mwahaha!
Spiritual jokes aside, I think the conclusion for us to understand is that we are not necessarily being held accountable ‘up there’. But we do need to hold integrity towards ourselves.
It isn’t about what you do, but why you do it that will be your compass.
Ultimately, the spiritual journey isn’t about living in the duality of what is right or wrong. Rather transcend it, by neither being charged by what is right, or wrong.
One step at a time, keep asking yourself what serves you, and walk down that path, without judging yourself for doing what wasn’t serving you anymore.
Accepting all parts of you is also a big part of your healing journey. Are you ready to be imperfectly perfect?
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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