Spiritual escapism

Jim Finley has a offers a useful caution against ‘spiritual escapism’. As I pursue my desire to engage in a conscious spiritual path, what is my motivation?

I know as I look back on my own life that there have been periods when I used spirituality as an escape. There have been times when I have justified my neglect of other things on basis of the importance of my spiritual work. At the time, I would have resisted strongly any suggestion that what I was doing was a form of escapism.

I don’t think we should delay the pursuit of things spiritual until our motives are pure. If we do so we will be waiting forever. And sometimes we really do need a ‘port in the storm’.

I think there are some useful things to look out for

  1. Is your journey leading you to face challenges within yourself?
  2. Is your journey leading you into more real relationships with others?
  3. Is your journey leading you to confront your own image of God?
  4. Is your journey leading you to greater engagement with the ordinary things of your life?
  5. Conversely, is the story you tell of your life the same one you would have told a year ago, two years ago, five years ago?

As you consider these questions are you aware of any ‘stuck’ places? Is your current spiritual practice able to help you work with them?

Don’t panic if you realise that actually a good part of commitment to spirituality is escapism. Recognising that it is so is half the battle. Just be as honest as you can with yourself about what it is that you are avoiding, and then begin the process of re-engaging. You may need to find some support!

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