Mel Robbins

Embracing the Spiritual Paradox: The Sacred, The Profane, The Mundane

Amor Sacre Amor Profano, Titian

Originally published June 24, 2011

All right. I can feel it. This is going to be one of those entries that tries to mash up 15 journal entries into one barely coherent post. I apologize in advance. I’m not a writer. I just play one on the internet.

So, what does spiritual mean to you? Is it something high in the clouds? Pure? Is it deep and connected? Is it trippy altered states of being? Is it devotion to one omnipotent being? Is it being in nature? Or something completely different?

I say yes. Just yes. Whatever your answer is, yes. And your answer, yes. And your answer, yes. Because the bottom line is that ALL THAT EXISTS IS SPRITUAL. PERIOD. To deem one area of your life as being “spiritual” (i.e. when I do my meditation) and another as non-spiritual (i.e. when I drive my car or scream at my child) is to create divisions in your life, namely, the good, the bad and the boring. And this division leads to an underlying tension in all that you do. When things are good, fear of losing them creeps in, so you must grip, lest they slip away. When things are bad, you must reject and shut out the world. When things are boring, you must constantly seek out anything to fill the emptiness. All of these are ways to escape the present.

We’ve all felt “sacred” moments in our life. The sun making its first appearance on a fresh spring day. Sculptures of beautiful men and women. A baby being born. Our first kiss. A song. A group in deep prayer.

But what about when you are sick on your knees and hanging over a toilet? How about when you are washing lettuce? How about when your anger and jealousy consume you? How about when you are unlocking your door? How about when your marriage ends or your mother dies or you see people killing each other in foreign countries because everyone has a different name for “God”?

This post is not just about “sacred sexuality” or “sacred prostitution” (which is where most people go when they hear the union of sacred/profane). Indeed, what the hell is “sacred sex” anyway? What makes intercourse that is done with breathwork/chanting/eye-gazing anymore spiritual than a fingerbang in the bathroom of a nightclub? True, participants may be more conscious in one scenario than another. Participants may be more in alignment in their personal integrity in one scenario than another. Maybe not. But all experiences stand alone on their own as spiritual and opportunities to plug into ourselves deeper. It’s just our idea of that we believe spirituality to be that keeps us grasping for certain experiences in life and avoiding others (which is the fundamental nature of suffering).

What if we explored the possibility that THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES. Can we expand our perspective and hold the paradox that everything, from Wall Street tycoons to rapists to priests to crack addicts to paint drying to the Dalai Lama to George Carlin’s seven words are all expressions of Spirit and offer an opportunity for connection and self-reflection.

Doesn’t mean life is easy. Or pretty. Or nice. Or exciting. Hell it downright sucks a lot of the time. And yet if you can slow down and simply feel what is (underneath your history or expectations), you would see the miracle it took to bring you here. Mel Robbins has a great  where she says that the odds of being born in this moment in time are one in 400 trillion! Now imagine those odds coupled with another person being born in this moment AND the odds of your two sharing the same energy field. Now imagine more miracle-people moving in and out, like threads on a loom. What an incredible tapestry of life you weave. And you are an expression of Spirit. And so is the chair. And the floor. And the cockroach. All these pieces coming together for you to interact in service of self-realization in your one miracle-life.

Furthermore can we begin to see that pain is actually a gift on the journey. Your anger and fear provide valuable information as to where you are out of integrity in your life and where your desire lies. Your grief in losing a loved one is a chance to crack open your heart and cleanse your soul of past residue. War is a reminder that there is still so much work to be done in the INTERNAL landscape of our spirit (as Osho says, “You cannot change the society first and hope that individuals will change later on”).

So notice where you are fixed in your perspective in life and try to invite in a new way. Notice who or what you deem as “worthy of your attention” and who is not. Notice who you blame for all the world’s problems. Bush. Obama. Republicans. Corporate America. Porn. Hollywood. The Government. Your Parents. Whatever. Then invite the possibility that all that is just is. Begin to take responsibility for your own life. Begin to accept the challenge made to you on the miraculous day of your birth: to come to know yourself and your soul’s purpose through self-discovery in relationship and integration (not in avoidance, rejection or “rising above”) to all that is.

You chose this life. Really. If you don’t like it, you can bitch and moan and blame and try to run away from it and into the “sacred.” Or you can choose to accept responsibility for all that you are, find the Spirit that already exists in this moment and move forward empowered to create the life for which you were born.

For a brilliant (and more succinct) view on the topic, check out Ken Wilbur’s talk on Beauty and Spirit, where he explores the Good, the Beautiful and the True (in my language, the Sacred, the Profane and the Mundane). Shout out to Jason D. McClain who brought this stunning video to my attention.