No Wonder We Are Confused – Spirituality and Inner Work

by | Feb 4, 2022 | Inner Work | 4 comments

As I said in my last post about choosing techniques and teachers: it’s a jungle out there.

The next teaching is just a click away.

You can binge-watch a series of videos about how the Self is all there is, that life is perfect and we are to just be the observing awareness.

Then hop on over to a series about how to create your reality.

How to get what you want.

By letting go of what you want (in order to get it,)

But remember, that it isn’t up to you because it is all just unfolding — but you have to allow it…

Except your physical and/or emotional healing of course – that’s different.

To really heal, we have to clear out all of our unconscious blocks and traumas.

Be careful though, because the process of awakening can bring up all sorts of health issues as traumas resurface or “the ego tries to re-take hold.”

So if you’re having a problem right now, it’s just happening. You should just observe it. You’re not the one having the problem. Maybe the person is, but that isn’t you anyway… so you’re good, right?

Well… you understand that intellectually, but you haven’t *realized* that yet, so you’d better get on that and starting realizing it.

Then again, it’s probably your old wounds and traumas keeping you from seeing this truth, so you should work on that, too.

Or you’ve been doing a lot of work and are ‘advanced’ now, so this challenge is actually the ego, a sign of your growth.

With the click of a mouse, you can be downloading Advaita teaching, then jumping over to processes to help attract a better partner.

Now we are trying to sort this all out.

No wonder it is confusing.

What I Suggest

I do not recommend trying to make all of these different piece parts fit together.

I believe it will make you mentally exhausted, and cause you to waste an enormous amount of time.

Look for things you can DO and FEEL, and when you do them, you feel clarity and more connected to YOURSELF – not ‘the teaching.’

It is actually quite easy to spot, and I believe to spot in ourselves if we are honest, when we are engaged in something that is philosophical as opposed to making us feel and connect.

This can be anything from a process itself, to conversations and asking questions.

Keep Things in Their Lane

If you dive into spiritual teaching, let it be spiritual teaching.

If you are drawn to a process with a good facilitator that does something like EFT, a releasing technique or visualizations that are designed to help you attract a partner…

Do them. Do them whole-heartedly, without trying to cross reference how it fits into there not being a self or anything that seems impossible to co-exist with.

Stick with Something That Works – Until It Doesn’t

If something is working for you, even a little bit, take time to really explore it.

Working means you can feel it doing something for you, even if it is challenging you. It’s not just something you think about, or are supposed to “get” someday.

It takes consistent time and practice to do anything well.

It takes some discipline not to click on over to the next technique, approach, and style when you don’t see miraculous results in 6 months.

You may have to do that while you are searching for something that works for you. Once it does, work it – as it is. You may grow out of it at some point. That won’t happen in a month or two.

Know What You Want and Be Honest

If you want more money then own it. Do the inner and outer work on that, preferably by someone who has used the process to make good money and can show you a process that you can feel and experience actually working for you.

One example I can recommend from personal experience:
If you want money, stop making fun of ‘The Secret’ and actually check out some of John Assaraf’s brain-training and business content, someone who broke all-time real estate sales records by putting his employees through his inner work approaches. Don’t try to correlate it with non-duality.

If you are really, deeply drawn to the subject of awakening (many are not, spiritual awakening has nothing to do with changing our life circumstances) then let your spiritual practice focus on that.

Listen to someone like Adyashanti talk about awakening or coaching people through it. It’s not sexy, it’s not a product, it’s not a mish-mash of other things, and it can be challenging.

Don’t muddy the waters.

You can work on your money blocks and treat that as a SKILL, just as you can be a Buddhist and practice the skill of playing basketball.

DO NOT actually want money but try shoe-horn that into a spiritual teaching or concept that has nothing to do with money in the end, so that it feels more palatable, less selfish and somehow higher.

You can believe that having money is a spiritual act and practice. That’s great. As long as you actually believe it – then practice it.

Don’t try to put it all together, especially things that don’t go together.

Our Responsibility

With so much out there, it’s our responsibility to be clear, and listen to and work with the right people for us.

Just like a bandleader, we pick the musicians for the sound we are going for. If we hire a classical bassoonist for a late-Coltrane avant-garde session, we’re not going to get what we want.

If you want to do inner-work on a goal that you feel resistance towards, or something that is troubling you in life, and get coached on the process and the nuances of it, that’s what we will do in our time together if you want that.

If you have trouble finding clarity and digging into what really matters to you, that’s one of my favorite things to work with people on. Having someone else ask you questions and directing your attention to different feelings and reactions can be enormously powerful in finding clarity.

If you want to ask questions about spiritual awakening and mystical experiences, there are people really suited for that. I can talk about them, but I’m not really the right call.

No one is the right call for everything.

No teaching covers ‘everything’ in the sense that you will get the result that YOU are looking for if you are honest.

Because it is such a jungle, and there is so much stuff that contradicts the other stuff, we have to be extra diligent to take time to really sit with just ourselves.

We have to ask ‘what do I actually want right now? What is life to me? What am I looking for, if anything?’

Do not accept a philosophical answer. For example, your answer cannot be awakening if you don’t know what that is. You may expect awakening to feel a certain way. That feeling is closer to the answer.

The answer is in you.
No video or teacher can tell you what you actually want.

This is the only way I know to cut through the confusion. If I find something better, I’ll be the first to share it 🙂


  1. Linda

    I had a good laugh just now Evan. And I love your previous post on this topic as well.

    I think most of the confusion comes from the fact that back in ancient times spirituality and emotional healing were non-separable. Times moved on, some of the teachings and practices haven’t. Your articles are doing great job making sense of it all, and I agree with you that being honest with ourselves is the way to find what works for us.

    • Evan

      Thanks so much Linda.

      I’m not too familiar with how things were practiced long ago (not much of a scholar in that sense) but it makes sense.
      Also, you couldn’t just click around from teaching to teaching… and you were more likely to have an actual relationship with the teacher and spend time in person doing whatever practices, studying and such. Of course, many teachers themselves are inconsistent and seem subject to a lot of the same modern challenges, bouncing around and trying to be relevant to whatever is currently popular. It’s a challenge on all sides, we really do have to stay focused on our own path and not give too much up to any particular way.

  2. ildiko

    I actually had tears reading this. Chaos and desperation are the energies in the ‘spirituality and self-help’ marketplace. A few guides are offering a quiet corner, rest and depth. Like you, Evan. This is what I’m working on, too. Providing a small ‘oasis’, a space for rest, rejuvenation, and safety just long enough to connect with what matters and the power to step forward in the chosen direction.

    • Evan

      Thanks very much Ildiko, that means a lot from you.


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