Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

In To Me I See

I have been on a “spiritual” path for fifteen years. By that I mean I have been either seeking the meaning of life, the purpose of living, or universal consciousness or all three. Prior to that I was a trial attorney for 27 years, a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church, married with three children. In 2004 I quit my day job, left organized religion, got divorced and embarked upon a “spiritual journey”. By that I mean I studied alternative healing, wellness, magic, meditation and Eastern philosophy. I lived with a witch for two years. I have been in the inner circle of several spiritual organizations, partially because of my legal background.

Life continued as I studied all sorts of mystical arts and alternative healings. I got engaged twice, with no marriage. I could not find what I was looking for, even though I was not even sure what I was looking for. I loved the tales of wizards and magicians I read when I was young, I wanted to learn how to wave a magic wand and make things better for people. I became a “workshopaholic”, hoping to find the secret to life.

It took two pivotal events for me to come to understand what my life was missing. The first was losing everything I had financially. I had joined a cult led by an Indian mystic, primarily because the cult leader promised to teach me the equivalent of waiving a magic wand, the gift of Shakti Pat. After I had invested all of my money in businesses the leader had started, I was told to leave the cult. To this day I don’t understand what happened or why I was asked to leave. The second event was I fell completely and desperately in love with someone who told me that they loved me and then left me for someone else. Both of these events occurred roughly simultaneously, so you might imagine that it was not a good year.

I experienced the full range of emotions going through these events. It was the dark night of my soul. Somehow I kept my chin up and kept walking. As I walked, I noticed that through the grief and anger I was able to detach at times from my angst and started to ask what part I had played in creating these little dramas. When I looked deep inside myself, everything that I was blaming on other people I was guilty of myself. I had used people as they had used me. When I got angry because people didn’t validate me, I was being arrogant and afraid. I began to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance.  I took responsibility for the fact that the melodramas I had created were perfect classrooms for lessons about myself.

I suppose that I could have wallowed in my grief and anger and obsessed on what have happened to me. I have learned on my spiritual path that being a victim is non-productive and won’t change anything. I got tired of telling my story of woe to others, as I am sure others got tired of hearing it. It did give me another perspective of those who feel victimized and abused, and I have compassion for those who are going through the dark night of their soul. I understand the gift of the dark night of the soul, especially when it involves the two most basic fears, loss of self-esteem in the form of wealth and a broken heart. I recognize that someone saying “snap out of it” is heartless advice.

The two lessons I learned more than others were that gratitude is more powerful than fear and judgment is what holds me back me from a limitless life. I know that popular psychology would recommend forgiveness and compassion, for me it is more about gratitude and absence of judgment. I personally believe that the concept of forgiveness is flawed because it assumes that there is something to forgive, i.e. some transgression, something wrong. When I am grateful and free from judgment, there is no need for forgiveness because nothing is wrong. If I can be grateful, then I can have compassion and love because fear and gratitude can’t coexist. Without fear, I can contemplate the positive aspects of my experiences rather than focus on the negatives.

When I put down the microscope and pick up a mirror, I am amazed at how fast my life improved. Whatever I perceive outside of myself is simply a reflection of what is going on inside of me. I have to quite judging other people and focus on being the best me I can be. As a result, my financial health is beginning to recover, and I have found the woman of my dreams. Every day is a new beginning for me. I focus on what I think, say and do. I believe that what comes out of my mouth is more important than what I put in it. I don’t take what anyone else is thinking, saying or doing personally. I have to say that this is not what I envisioned the spiritual path to look like. If this is the spiritual path, it is more painful than I imagined. I wonder sometimes if people who claim to be spiritual and say life is bliss are really on the spiritual path. After all, if everything is perfect what is there to learn? All I can say is if this is not the spiritual path don’t tell me.