Life is always more than and different from our ideas about it. That means that any spiritual tradition or practice can help us explore some facets of reality, but we may need to go beyond it – through other approaches or in other ways – to explore more of the fullness of who and what we are.
That also goes for any identities we have for ourselves. We are more than and different from any of these identities.
That’s why I have generally avoided using spirituality labels for myself, along with many other forms of labels.
Some of them can be useful in a specific situation as a short-hand to convey something. But beyond that, they are perhaps not so useful.
I am not a Buddhist since I am interested in many other traditions and don’t practice within buddhism. During the time I did, I said: I do Buddhist practice but am not a Buddhist since I knew that what it’s about goes far beyond any one — or all – traditions.
I am not really a Christian mystic, although I have a (sometimes) strong connection to Christ and resonate a lot with several Christian mystics. I don’t belong to Christianity as they did.
I am not religious since I don’t belong to any one religion, although I am interested in the history of religons and the gems of insights and pointers in all of them. And I also know that the main purpose or religons is to maintain themselves and often power and social hierarchy, and life and reality can’t be captured by any one religion or all of them combined.
I can’t call myself a light-worker since I am equally interested in different forms of metaphorical darkness – the divine feminine, my own shadow, not-knowing, and so on. (Also, it sounds silly.)
Although I always seek to discover more and continue healing, maturing, and embodying, I am not really a seeker. Mainly, I am exploring what’s here and I can equally well call myself a finder, although I don’t really resonate with either label. (Both sound too clear-cut and the reality is something in between and different from either and both.)
Am I an explorer? I have loved stories of exploration since I was a little kid, and it is a label that resonates with me. It points to an orientation and a process and is a little more open-ended than many of the other labels in spirituality. And yet, this one too is too narrow and a little misleading. For one, it’s a word and thought and what it points to is different.
Although I am interested in some New Age stuff, it’s not really my main focus. If astrology or past lives catches my interest, it’s mostly to explore it as a mirror for myself here and now.
I am into spirituality, but for me, it’s more about exploring who and what I am and reality – to the best of my ability. Spirituality hints at a certain orientation and interest, but it’s really just an exploration of what’s here and reality. It’s simpler than the label spirituality hints at, and it also goes far beyond the label.
I am an instant student of different teachers when I hear or read their words and follow their pointers. But I know that I am my own final authority, I am the one who have to explore it for myself, and what I see in them is what I have in myself. So, yes, I am always a student of some teachers, and it’s also is both simpler and not that simple.
We are all teachers for each other. When someone reads these words, they may get something out of it one way or another (it may resonate with their own experience, it may encourage their own exploration, or it may not fit their experience), and in that sense I am a temporary teacher. In another sense, I am not since I don’t particularly seek or feel I am qualified for that role – beyond being a temporary teacher as we all are teachers for each other.
When I facilitate others or do distance healing (prayer) for them, am I a healer? Perhaps yes, right there and then and in that role. But not really since I just facilitate healing. I am not doing the healing. Their own system does the healing. Life does the healing. At most, I facilitate the healing. I help set the stage for the healing. (And that too is Life’s doing, Life sets the stage for it’s own local healing.) In general, I am a lot more – and less – than that label suggests.
Awakening can point to some things in my process, but it also doesn’t quite fit. It comes with a lot of typical associations that are misconceptions. There is plenty in me – at a human level – that still lives in separation consciousness. Awakening is ongoing and can always clarify further and be more fully embodied.
I also don’t avoid spirituality labels in all situations. Sometimes, they are useful. They can create a connection. They can give a rough pointer about something. They can ease or start communication. They can be useful there and then, and that’s about it.
Do I intentionally avoid being pinned down by others? Most of the time, I am OK if people want to put a label on me. Although I sometimes mention how it also doesn’t fit if that seems useuful.