Losing Self: Challenges on My Spiritual Journey

In my church, growing up, we often sang a lovely song with these lyrics:

When I’m on my journey
There is no one there but me.

At the time, I was a little puzzled because I didn’t feel alone, yet I sang the song often, and still do, because I like the tune and the rhythm. It touches a deep place of longing within.

More recently, I have begun to hear the words in a new light. When I am on my spiritual journey, it is me I look to for understanding myself. Though I have much support, I am alone in looking inside me to figure out me.

And that’s hard to manage! When I’m on my journey and as I grow, and expand and shift, ME changes: How I feel about me. How I relate to me. How I define me. How I interpret my actions. ME is both fulcrum and path for change.

When the pace of growth and expansion outstrips my ability to understand, I feel like I am losing self — my sense of self about ME.

I know from previous personal experience and from the experience of clients, students, family and friends that this seemingly tenuous sense of self can really take a beating within the travel on my spiritual path.

To make sense of the world, making sense of self seems like the place to begin. But amid self-growth, my sense of self is a moving target. Yesterday, defining ME had some clarity. I know who I was six months ago. I was able to finish this sentence, “I am . . . . .” But now I’m not sure because my focal point of ME seems to be disappearing amongst the bits falling off here, there, and beyond.

Self-change is the most important aspect of spiritual growth. But it’s hard!! It’s unbalancing. It’s often not logical. It’s filled with uncomfortable emotion and unknown feelings.

And the biggest problem is that sense of ME is usually my bedrock, my light in the storm. With change happening in my core, within my essence, I feel like I’m losing something beloved, never to return.

And I am! Losing self!

But when I can take a step back, I realize that the self exiting stage left is the old ME. And the new ME is just getting ready to enter. I’m caught between the coming and going. Living my life, doing my spiritual work has increased my awareness of ME including the loosening of me.

In losing self, I need patience with myself as the flow of ME sorts itself out. As the balance of ME on a deep breath in and out restores a sense of self deeply held.

Deep personal spiritual growth is not for everyone. The challenge is intense, the road unpredictable, the journey bumpy at best. Sticking put sounds like a reasonable choice when the old self seems just fine. But I know deep down, the best of ME will never be happy with standing still, stagnating. I must seek understanding which yields change, loosens the old sense, and brings forward a new ME.

Instead, I see that no matter the dips and turns in the road, this is my path, my choice, ME. When I’m on my journey, I’m not losing self, I am gaining ME.

 



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