Navigating the Uncharted: 3 Striking Challenges Impacting Our Spiritual Awakening

Navigating the Uncharted: 3 Striking Challenges Impacting Our Spiritual Awakening

In our collective journey towards spiritual awakening, we encounter challenges that test our resolve and push us to evolve. Presently, there are three remarkable issues that stand out, demanding our attention and introspection. Let us explore these unprecedented challenges that are shaping our spiritual paths in profound and unexpected ways.

Information Overload

The digital age has ushered in an era of unprecedented access to information. While this offers tremendous opportunities for growth, it also presents a challenge to our spiritual awakening. The sheer volume of information, conflicting beliefs, and diverse perspectives can overwhelm and confuse us. Discerning what resonates with our authentic selves becomes crucial. Finding a balance between seeking knowledge and integrating it with our inner wisdom is essential in navigating this information overload.

Disconnection from Nature

In our fast-paced modern lives, we often find ourselves disconnected from the natural world. The constant distractions and urban environments can create a sense of separation from the Earth’s rhythms and the profound wisdom nature offers. This disconnection can hinder our spiritual growth. Reconnecting with nature, even in small ways, can be transformative. Embracing nature’s beauty, spending time in green spaces, and fostering a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of all life can help rekindle our spiritual connection.

The Ego Trap

We embark on the path of spiritual awakening, our ego can pose a formidable challenge. The ego seeks validation, control, and superiority. It can lure us into a trap of judgment, comparison, and attachment to outcomes. Overcoming the ego’s grip requires deep self-awareness and a commitment to humility and compassion. Recognizing the ego’s influence and embracing a mindset of surrender and non-attachment can liberate us from its limitations, allowing our true essence to shine forth.

Seeking A Path Forward…

As we navigate the complexities of our spiritual awakening, it is essential that we find our true path. The most powerful step you can take in your journey involves seeking, finding, and choosing a spiritual path that resonates with your deepest expression and highest purpose.

While it’s important to acknowledge and address the challenges that arise along the way, we cannot let ourselves get distracted from the most important elements of our spiritual awakening: what we feed our soul. 

Embracing discernment amidst the influx of information, reconnecting with nature, and transcending the ego’s influence are pivotal steps towards personal and collective growth. Couple that with a path of ‘Know Thyself’ that has the ability to take you into the fullest expression of your God-self and you will find a never-ending source of growth and inspiration.

By cultivating self-awareness through a mystery or wisdom tradition, finding solace in nature’s embrace, and nurturing a mindset of humility, we can navigate these crazy issues and emerge stronger on our spiritual journeys. 

Let us embrace these challenges as opportunities for profound transformation, trusting that the path to awakening is as unique as the individuals traversing it.

Also, as you seek out your own spiritual path, click here to read this article about the 7 Great Mystery Schools.


About the Author: 

Matthew is a certified Guide for Conscious Leaders, and is inspired by the potential of connecting the measurable and immeasurable, Science and Spirit, to bridge the worlds of scientific theory with the magick of real-world experience. He is driven by a need to understand why we exist and our place in the multi-universe. Matthew’s approach assimilates the latest research in consciousness studies, psychology, business, organizational development, mindfulness and meditation, resonance and quantum field theory to support his clients. Matthew now serves as a consultant and guide for his clients at Spirit in Transition. His affiliations include: Certified Guide and Ritual Master by the Modern Mystery School, Member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, & Conscious Capitalism International. Matthew Koren lives in New York and Florida with his partner, and travels nationally and internationally to coach, consult and teach. Matthew invites you to introduce yourself by contacting him for a virtual meet-and-greet by clicking the following link:
How Serpent Mythology Guides Your Behavior

How Serpent Mythology Guides Your Behavior

Snakes are misunderstood. They are often villainized and characterized as threatening, scary, even evil. Sure, some of them are poisonous; it’s wise to keep a wide berth if you find yourself moseying about with a venomous snake. However, can we take a moment to suspend our survival instincts and take a humbling look at the symbolism of snakes? 

Why is it that the snake has earned such a prominent role in mythology, symbolism and sacred scripture? 

Growth isn’t always comfortable, folks. Despite (or perhaps because) of any resistance, let’s take a look at one of those frightening symbols that so many shy away from (perhaps, by design). 

East Meets West 

First, let’s acknowledge the Eastern perspective of snakes, as represented in the ancient Hindu texts. The Sanskrit word ‘Kundalini’ translates to a ‘coiled snake’ of divine feminine energy that is believed to be located at the base of the spine, within each human body. Within the Vedas, there are different practices and modalities described to ‘awaken’ this energy and encourage the flow of energy to move up the spine. 

Now let’s look at Western serpent symbology, within the context of the Garden of Eden. Remember this terrestrial paradise depicted in the Genesis story? Well, for anyone who needs a biblical refresh, there was a beautiful garden filled with all of the bountiful gifts on the Earthly plane. Adam and Eve explored the garden, and were met by a serpent who encouraged them to eat the fruit that God had explicitly forbidden them to eat. Verbally seduced into eating the fruit off the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden at the cost of their hunger for God-like awareness of good and evil. 

Their inability to resist the physical temptations meant that Adam and Eve were relegated to eternal damnation in hell. Rough hand, right? Well, if accurately interpreted, we can see this as an invitation to come into a better relationship with our own inner serpent, so we’re not dancing with danger in the biblical sense. If scripture is providing an allegory that can be decoded for our modern application, how do we transform this information to aid us in our spiritual journey?

Bridge to a New Reality 

Now, let’s dive into the middle way, where East meets West, shall we? What does it mean for us to acknowledge the snake that dwells within us? Forget the deceptive serpentine seductress in the Garden of Eden; look inside and try to find that part of you that has innate access to our own divinity. 

What if you were the apple of your own eye, able to feast on the fruits of your own inner garden? This feast requires work, dear friends; we must plant healthy seeds, tend to them properly and lovingly, and practice patience as the cultivation process occurs. 

The snake provides a path to transformation, and let’s face it, transformation isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have to face the scary, we have to taste our own medicine. Snakes possess both the venom and the antivenom; we, too, contain both the ingredients for our own demise and self-sabotage, as well as the ingredients for our own transformation and blossoming. 

The spiritual journey is not always a smooth, well paved road. There are often bumps and detours along the transformational path, and it’s imperative that we cultivate the adaptability, the resilience, and the adept grace to forge on when the going gets tough. When something triggers fear in you, let it serve as a growth indicator; that which we are fearful of can usually provide an opportunity for transformation.

Entering this path of transformation is usually prompted by one’s own intuitive calling. So, if you’ve heard the call and wish to jump into the driver’s seat of your life, join us for our upcoming Spiritual Intuition class, where we’ll apply a lot of this knowledge to amplify our God-like gifts! 

What’s Wrong With the Word ‘Cult’?

What’s Wrong With the Word ‘Cult’?

It’s Time to Reclaim the Culture of Healing

What even is a cult? The word ‘cult’ gets thrown around in our modern times with a flippant ease of judgment. Yet, what does this term really mean? Sure, there have been (and still are) many subgroups organized around religious dogma that are sustained through hierarchical dominance structures that are unhealthy to their core, including all sorts of distortion of truth and corruption of purity. 

This, in many ways, needs to evolve like many other aspects of our modern day culture. But let’s acknowledge that the presence of these negative expressions of culture have tainted the word that is otherwise value free and objective in its description of what is. There is an aspect of this term that is all too quickly slapped onto any organized group with a spiritual quest. This aspect, creating an easeful ‘go-to’ grip for folks trying to deepen the separation story of the psyche, seems to exhibit a consistent misunderstanding of esoteric study. 

Just because it’s occult, doesn’t make it a cult. And even if it did, is a ‘cult’ inherently nefarious? There are both benevolent and malicious politicians, aren’t there? It seems there’s an opportunity that’s presenting itself for us to heal the damage, bridge the chasm, and harmonize the trauma around spirituality through the lens of this term. 

Building Culture

We’ve largely contained the term ‘culture’ within the psychological confines of social and political frameworks and applications. Yet, when we look at the term ‘culture’ through the lens of biology or agriculture, we find that there are many important aspects of the findings that we’d benefit from applying to the social and political realms. Growing and sustaining a healthy culture depends on a myriad of delicate variables. Domination within a culture doesn’t translate to harmony or symbiosis. 

Life thrives with diversity, with strong willed and independent parts participating in a whole. We can be this way, as a species. We can contribute to the whole in beneficial ways when we deeply recognize ourselves as a part of it, not apart from it. This means we must evolve out of the archaic ‘cult’ concept (both in our assignment of this term to occult pursuits, and our application of obsolete control within those groups considered to be cult-like). 

Gone are the days of worshiping external entities. We’re remembering, slowly but surely, that all that’s outside us is within us, and therefore, worshiping the body temple we’re currently incarnated in is key to our development. Alas, this means we don’t need to kneel before a dominant leader when we really recognize the omnipotent Source of Creation as that which is innately within us, as our birth right. 

Transformation is Uncomfortable! 

The roller coaster of healing and wholling isn’t for the faint of heart. Remembering our innate wholeness is a path that’s filled with moments of big change and recalibration. For those jostled by change, both internal and external, they’d likely prefer sitting beside the roller coaster and watching those shaking with anticipation as they ascend to new heights, and screaming as they plummet into the depths. Choosing to take the ride is only for those who can learn to manage their systems, command their ships, and embrace the discomfort of transformation. 

These are the skillsets acquired through the spiritual path. No, not the path that leads you into an eddy of inertial patterns wrought with distorted traditions and outdated recitations. It’s the path of righteousness that empowers each individual with an embodiment of their free will, and an activation of this will as a conduit for benevolent creation to move through it. 

More people are needed on this path; in order for our species to continue enjoying this planet we call home, we will need to wake up to the power that sits within ourselves in order to meet the pressures of change with the competent adaptability. 

So where can we gather to awaken our innate abilities? Those abilities that empower us with the remembrance of the source of creation that lives within us? Within communities of practice, communities of therapy and healing, ignited from the inside out. 

Therapeutic Communities 

The etymology of the term ‘therapy’ can be tracked back through ancient Greece, expounding on the capacities to heal and cure. Yet, it seems we may have outsourced this ability to others, all too often. Ultimately, it’s the therapist’s role to simply amplify one’s awareness of the choices available to them, so they can feel empowered to make choices that resound with their own inner knowing. 

So, what are therapeutic communities aiming to accomplish? An embodied, activated, and spiritually participatory populous that can meet the challenges we face as a species with empowered choice. The “fix me, doctor” culture must end. It is up to us as individuals to stop outsourcing our God-like abilities, and come back into belonging within communities that remind us of our essence. Whether or not they’re deemed ‘cults’….

Alchemy Phase 4: Conjunction

Alchemy Phase 4: Conjunction

Crucible of Union

Everything in manifestation is polar. Hot and cold, wet and dry, expansive and contractive. Yin and Yang. Active and passive. The idea that poles are separate is illusory. In alchemy, every pole contains its opposite. And the opposite pole can be accessed through the right approach. 

In the Conjunction phase, one learns to negotiate the opposites in their own personality, find equilibrium, and move towards a nondual state of awareness in which conditions fall away and pure consciousness is more readily experienced.

Conjunction is connected with the heart chakra, or green ray, ruled by unconditional love and acceptance. This is the vessel for change, the crucible in which deep transformation can unfold. It is also a critical stage in spiritual development, being a transition to a whole new dimension of experience in which the transpersonal – outside the ego – becomes familiar.

One of the simplest ways to experience the Conjunction process is by contemplating opposites and holding space for them to coexist within your heart and mind. You practice this as you encounter people, even things, in your everyday world. As you observe them, notice their qualities and consider the opposite qualities. Then imagine both existing simultaneously, while you continue observing. This invites nondual awareness to emerge. 

Practical Transmutation

The practice of experiencing opposites is highly useful when applied to thoughts and emotions. You can capitalize on it and tweak it to navigate life situations. For example, let’s take a stressful thought, such as worrying over paying your bills. Its opposite, peace of mind, is present – it just takes a little creativity and openness to recognize this. With each step of this transmutation process, notice the thought, and feel for the emotion behind it. Go deeper and deeper with each layer…

  1. Realize that the thought of worry arises due to concern for yourself.
  2. Notice this concern arises due to desire for self-preservation.
  3. Notice this desire enables you to be resourceful and get your needs met, bringing peace of mind.
  4. Imagine that peace, and simply focus on it, letting the rest of the story fall away. 

It is possible to transmute this even more directly. Let’s take the emotion of anxiety. 

Notice that it has an energy and presence. For a moment, feel the sensation without ascribing any meaning to it – simply observe it. Then, with your intention and will, imagine the strength of this energy shifting into relaxation. Imagine yourself being relaxed, and the energy behind anxiety fueling this new state. 

To make it easier, you may even imagine anxiety as a color and a shape in your body, and relaxation as a color and shape. Then allow the anxiety to change its appearance in your mind until it looks like relaxation (perhaps fiery red gradually turning into a cool blue). Tap into the energy behind the experience and redirect it.

Sacred Marriage

Sacred MarriageThe ultimate conjunction is the union of the active and passive principles, yin and yang. I sometimes refer to them as Will and Grace. Will is focused intention. It stimulates, brings momentum, changes, shapes, directs. When you move your hand, you are using your will. When you set a goal and work towards its realization, you are implementing your will. Likewise when you concentrate on an image in your mind.

Grace, on the other hand, is surrender, openness, acceptance, fluidity, equanimity. Grace goes with the flow. It has no agenda – it simply embraces what is. It is unconditional. If you’ve ever sat with someone who looked at you and accepted you perfectly as you were, without judgment, then you had a sense of what grace is. If you’ve humorously said to yourself “fuck it,” and decided to let the dice fall where they may, you had a glimpse of grace. If you’ve ever deeply felt you could rely on events being in “God’s hands” or that the “Universe will take care of you,” you know what grace can be like.

Conjunction deepens when Will and Grace are unified within the self. This occurs when you’ve both clarified your sense of purpose, and entered into a state of gratitude and openness.

Your ideal or purpose has been clarified through the alchemical process, so far. Your will lets you empower it and to focus your actions in service of it. Grace comes in when you have let go of expectations – all expectations – in particular, those associated with your actions. It is when you’ve learned to simply act, and to allow what comes. It DOES NOT mean you allow things to distract you from your ideal and drain your energy.

There are a few ways to step into Grace:

  1. Gratitude List – Cliche, but effective. Write at least 3 things each morning and 3 things each night that you are grateful for. As you write them down, ACTUALLY feel the gratitude. Relive or imagine it in your mind. 
  2. Stop Complaining – This is a mental and verbal detox. It requires practice and perseverance. Learn to let go of negative talk towards self and others and circumstances. You can, of course, be compassionate. But you don’t have to add to negativity. 
  3. Appreciate Synchronicities – You may want to even record these in a journal or your phone. When you notice synchronicities, take a moment to soak them in and remember.
  4. Remember Presence – Let your thoughts go for a moment and focus on your beingness, existence, the sense of I AM. You can do this briefly, several times throughout the day. 

Ways you can explore your Will are:

  1. Clarification – Ask yourself what is your highest desire, and notice the first images, thoughts, or sensations that emerge. 
  2. Alignment – Check in with yourself throughout the day to ask why you are doing (or not doing) a task or activity and what you feel it brings you. Notice if you are energized or drained, excited or bored. 
  3. One-pointed Concentration – Imagine your highest desire being fulfilled. Experience it vividly, engage as many senses as you can, and feel the emotions around it. Keep your attention in a focused state, and if you get distracted, simply redirect your mind back.
  4. Aliveness – Notice the energy within you, animating you. Feel yourself as part of Life, noticing that it moves through you. Affirm to yourself that the same energy animating you is that which animates everything. 

Meld your sense of Grace with your Will. This is actually true devotion on a deeper level. In devotion to a higher power or ideal, you listen for guidance, act on inspiration, and trust in the process. There is no fixation on an outcome or result. All of that is let go, replaced with a love for that higher power or ideal. That love is connection and openness and faith. 

In truth, Will and Grace are seen to be poles of One thing. When this is realized, and deeply felt, Conjunction has started to set in. Along with this realization comes the blurring of lines between free will and determinism, noticing that they are not separate. For All is an expression of One, and your True Will is God’s Will.

Letting Go into the New

Marcus felt frustrated that life wasn’t turning out the way it should have for him. As a salesperson for a leading tech company, he thought he would have been on a fast track to success, except for the fact that he wasn’t meeting quota and didn’t seem to be so great at sales. 

But he really tried. He learned everything he could, reading books and listening to sales podcasts. He talked with the highest earners to get tips. He even went out of his way to meditate every day, visualize his success in his mind, and repeat affirmations to himself. He was doing so much; why wasn’t any of it working?

As he pushed on and on, his frustration turned to dejection. He was humiliated after having puffed himself up so much as a fast learner in his interview, and he knew that if things didn’t change soon, he was at risk of losing his job. But it was getting to the point where he just didn’t care anymore.

One day, after being teased by a coworker for a particularly lousy call, Marcus decided he’d take a walk through the park nearby his work. As he mulled over his continual defeats, his sadness deepened. After a few laps around the park, he was tired physically and emotionally, and he slumped onto a bench. He thought to himself, “What’s the point of even fighting this sadness?” And so he sat with it. He didn’t do anything with it. He just watched it, watched himself, watched the moment, at a loss for anything else he could possibly do.

After sinking into the sadness, and the bench, Marcus suddenly felt something shift inside him. He let go of his judgment of himself and the situation. He thought, “If I lose my job, fine. If I keep it, fine.” He decided he was just going to do what made sense to him and forget the rest. As he got up, he felt freer and more present. He wasn’t distracted anymore with what could or should be. 

The next day, Marcus came into the office acting on his instincts. He naturally tuned out the conversations that felt irrelevant to him, and spoke easily and impromptu. He ignored the scripts he was taught and didn’t even bother pitching to people that felt like a dead end. Sometimes, he would just talk with people about anything of interest that came up, forgetting that he was supposed to “sell.” And that was okay. But people responded well to that, anyways, and he got unexpected sales. 

It kept like this for a week, and by the end of it, Marcus was genuinely shocked by how many sales he had made. His coworkers and supervisor were equally shocked, though they had noticed he’d been different all around. 

While Marcus enjoyed this surprise, he also realized that he didn’t give a rat’s ass about the tech world, and cared much more about education. Renewing his sense of purpose, Marcus looked for jobs at educational companies. He was mainly curious to see what sort of positions were out there and what that world was like. One thing led to another, and he eventually realized he wanted to create his own education business to fill a market need he kept seeing in his research. 

He followed his feeling of what his vision of success felt like, without concern for how the specifics would manifest. What started for him as a sort of liberating impartiality evolved into a trust that things would work out the way they were supposed to, and all he’d need to do is follow his instinct and curiosity. Marcus found a deeper sense of purpose, coupled with an openness to Life. And he realized you couldn’t have one without the other.

Reflective Quote

“It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.” – Alan Watts

Finding UNITY in a time of CRISIS

Finding UNITY in a time of CRISIS

WARNING: this blog post does not contain the messages that you’ve been hearing over and over again from your FB wall and the corporate media or most other sources caught up in the emotion of this tumultuous time in the USA. For the life of me, I cannot ever be a commentator solely on current events, because I’m always observing from a much larger perspective. It’s a double-edged sword, trust me.

Rites of passage

In certain ancient civilizations, your community might have prepared you for transformation via certain rites of passage. These rites were important to the psychological development of the individual and vital to the survival of the greater community culture. 

Rites of passage often require that one sees the world as completely different or seemingly backwards, or they were a sort of near-death experience. The idea was that the stress of the rite of passage would inspire the individual to open up to new ways of seeing the world via imagination, visioning, and healing. 

Why were these rites so important? Because they taught you that the world is not what it appears to be. These wisdom holders were preparing their people for REALITY. 

Modern people might call these rites of passage a type of spiritual practice, with little relevance to daily life. But what about your experience isn’t spiritual?

Transformation is reality, the proof is your lived experience right now. Call that a real experience or call that a spiritual experience, the point is that you’re either prepared for it now or you’re not.

Live Free

While it’s not my nature to be out in large crowds making a show of protesting loudly, I do take actions everyday to support the kind of world that I want to live in: one that is peaceful, joyful, equitable, expressive, connected and free. I do support everyone out there peacefully standing up for the rights of ALL people to live free in our country, unencumbered by racist actions and systems of oppression that need to be dismantled so our society can move forward in a way that gives everyone the same chances to live, love, and thrive. 

One of my core values is freedom, and at one time I thought that meant I needed to be able to stand on my own, dependent on no one. The wisdom of years and many mistakes has taught me that true freedom is being able to trust others to have your back so you can create together the kind of world we all want to live in. True freedom will only come from working together, one nation, under God, indivisible.

They knew that every moment was an opportunity to claim your freedom, and thus, every moment required awareness, discernment, and clarity. Life lived this way is transformative, as every action you take has power. 

That’s why you need to meditate more, so less stuff happens that you have to deal with everyday. Otherwise, it’s exhausting!

Pay Attention

But seriously, if you are comfortable, you are not paying enough attention…and I don’t mean right now, I mean, always and at all times. What you are resisting by sliding into comfort and inertia is the inevitable flow of human progress and evolution unfolding right before your very eyes. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, as they say.

In this world of transformation, the world in which you are living, your greatest service is attending to your own evolution and healing. Your DNA contains the light code to your spiritual gifts which unlock this healing potential. So get a life activation ASAP!

The greatest gift you can give is re-uniting with your own wholeness. Wholeness is the state of being that results when you apply the principle of unity to your life. 

Until you act on that commitment for yourself, experiencing it within, you will not see that wholeness reflected outside of you. How can you see unity without if you don’t have the lived experience of it within? That’s why wisdom traditions from time immemorial have stated that you must go within. The Kingdom of God is within, says Jesus. Enlightenment is within, says the Buddha. The “Dao” or the Way is contained within all things. 

“God is a unity unlike any other possible unity,” says a Jewish philosopher Maimonides.

Find UNITY and you will find PEACE.

So what can you do right now?

Well, I don’t think a man who has enjoyed the privilege being a white male in society is your go-to for that kind of advice, so I’m paraphrasing Kali Ladd: a Portland Business Journal Forty Under 40 and Women of Influence honoree: who recently spoke publicaly in Portland, and this is a summary of her remarks:

Neuroscience and psychology and child development all tell us that we can create a new narrative. But we need to be careful to do this intentionally rather reactively. Our brains are incredible, miraculous things that can be wired and rewired by our words and our actions. They call it neuroplasticity.

The science tells us that children are not born hating other children or rendering certain people invisible. This happens over time. You see every circumstance is a data point that forms an idea. Watching that black boy in pre-school get kicked out of class repeatedly is a data point, pretending as though the founding of this country did not come at the hands of genocide is a data point, silence in the aftermath of a killing is a data point.

And these data points form ideas. And these ideas begin to cluster and form schema. And this schema dictates behavior.

We are developing racist schema and reinforcing racist ideas in [our minds] when we fail to talk about racism. When we fail to tell the truth about history. When we fail to point out injustice whether it’s overt or covert.

You see, when we put [truth] at the center of our lives, our comfort or discomfort become less and less important. [paraphrasing Kali Ladd]

It’s time to take a look at your narrative. Your narrative is the story you tell about your lived experience. It colors your worldview, your thoughts, and your actions. The question I would ask you is: are you creating Unity and connection with others, or are you creating distance and separation? Is dismantling racism the way that you are actually creating more separation or union? It’s just a question. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. When you argue with people, or get angry at current events, is your intention to build understanding and bridge ideologies to restore unity, or are you furthering separation through violence? I don’t know, only you can answer that question for yourself.

Your answer is the kind of world you want to live in, because it’s the kind of world that you’re creating.

So start telling yourself the truth. Start telling others the truth. Be compassionate and forgiving, and trust others to do the same, even if you know they won’t. It’s all part of the transformation.

Above all, heal yourself to a state of wholeness, and the world will follow.

I’ll leave you with some words from the Dhammapada:

Look within.

Be still.

Free from fear and attachment,

Know the sweet joy of the way.


Be well, Stay Healthy, and make a heartfelt prayer for what you want to bring in. Go in peace to love and serve.