I woke up at 4 am last night (the time people sometimes get spiritual messages) hearing a clear message that as I share my understandings, I must always start with sharing how my experiences led to them. What I share is not the result of an intellectual exercise but from tuning into my intuition and feelings about each experience. When I wrote about choosing your incarnation, I focused more on my ideas. So, I wanted to write a bit about the role of experience.
All of my beliefs and understandings are grounded in my experiences. For each, I identify what feelings come up, and what it reveals about me and my place in the world. I also consider if there is something to learn from it, especially in terms of future decisions. While my mind certainly plays a part in understanding my reactions, it is in service to the experience.
Let me give you an example. Some years back, I attended a 10-day therapeutic retreat to help heal some lingering traumas and let go of limiting beliefs. This was after I left the priesthood, still feeling my calling to serve, but unsure about how to live it out. During a session break, after telling the director about this, she took my hands in hers, looked me in the eyes, and said, Joe, you are a spiritual healer. My body, mind, and spirit instantly responded. I felt energized and relieved. I knew, at the deepest level, that that was my calling. That one experience led me to where I am today and creating my website.
Our experiences are the source of what we believe and how we live. As such, I’d invite you to take some time to attune to yours. Reflect on them, and how they shape you and form your beliefs. Then, assess whether they confirm your current direction, call you to make different choices, or even challenge you to try something new. Doing so can lead you to interesting places.