Well, it’s been a long blog series about cultivating spirituality, but we’ve reached the top of the scale. At the high point (7th/crown chakra) of all of us is our ability to connect to God/the universe. I use God and the universe synonymously, by the way. To me, God is all, and the universe is all. You can substitute in whatever creator spirit you believe in if you don’t like those terms. Print out this blog, and use it like a Madlibs. =)

Ya Gotta Have Faith

At this point in the progression that I’m writing, faith may not seem like a make or break thing to have. Life may still be going on reasonably well. You still have the glorious illusion of control, and you may also have the wonderful illusion of self-sufficiency and independence. Faith may be a kind of afterthought that if you were asked, you’d be like, “Well, yeah, I believe in God, but we don’t speak that much.” Ohhh, but that will soon change. That will change.

Your connection to the universe is the golden cord that pulls you through your spiritual awakening process. It elevates you into amazing high states and holds you through the low points as you clean out the issues that have been holding you back, making you play small, and making you play by someone else’s rules. It is an energy source for healing and to help modulate the expansions and contractions of the spiritual path. (When you really start moving through things, you break out of the old box. But the box helped to moderate the ups and downs of life. Now you need a different way so you don’t feel totally manic and crazy. Faith and divine connection do that.)

Connecting to God

Nobody can make you believe. I sure can’t. Going to church or reading spiritual texts can’t make you believe either. Arguing about the existence of God can’t help. Connecting to God is a matter of faith. Faith is a matter of trusting in a bigger and more expansive Truth, Love, and Beauty than exists around you. If you’re asking me to show you how to believe, I can’t do it. Your connection to the universe and the huge energy flow that is all comes from an internal letting go. Let go of what you think is real and reach upwards.

Prayer can help you start to create that dialogue with God. It’s a practice for the rational mind to kinda talk itself into believing in God. If you want God to give you a sign, don’t hold your breath or have expectations. In my own life, I’ve seen enough little and big signs to feel looked after by a higher power. I have a much longer story than fits in this blog post about being kept awake by strange flashing lights in the darkness of my room one night as a kid. The moment I turned on the lights a huge black widow spider crawled out onto my bedroom wall. It was freaky, but it drove home for me the sense that I am watched over. If you ask for a sign and you do get one, you also have to be open for it to come in a way that you might not expect.

Atheism and the Spiritual Path

Atheism is tough to generalize. So many people put themselves in this bucket because they look at church abuses and the way religion has been used in the purpose of ego to start wars and hurt people (crusades in the middle ages, Islamic extremists in today’s time, and so forth). From that standpoint, they said, “Forget God and church if they let this kinda crap go on.” Others may not believe anything because they’re so lost to the rational mind and want empirical data for God. But no one can give you a cup or gallon of God, at least not in the way that that request is being asked. Still other atheists may be working off some older version/definition of God that is too small, but they never really questioned it. If you told me that God is an old bearded white guy, I wouldn’t believe you either (God is much, much bigger than that).

But if you start down the spiritual path, you will need to find your sense of faith in something much bigger and more loving and more complete than exists in this physical world. The physical world will disappoint you again and again. This is a fallible place. Horrible things do happen here, but only through faith and our connection to God will we find the strength to heal so much pain in ourselves and in others. Starting down the spiritual path and moving into the awakening process takes a tremendous amount of commitment, energy, love, and faith. You are going to see all your worst parts–all the stuff that you thought you’d hidden away from everyone. It will come back now, and you’re going to need tons of support–more than just a spiritual community can do, although that is important.

While I know that many atheists end up in Buddhism, I think the Buddha often gets idolized into a kind of God-like role along the way. I am not sure how that works for people to awaken–it’s seen so many Buddhists go so far and then get stuck, usually in their minds. But along the way, Buddhism will encourage you to have faith in the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dharma (the teacher, the spiritual community, and the teaching).

Connection Evolves Into Healing on the Spiritual Path

Because we’ve reached the top of this pyramid in the blog series, it’s about time to go back down. Few people can simply connect to themselves and the divine on multiple levels and jump to awakening at this point. Some can. If you can, that’s a beautiful gift. But even then, you may move into an amazing space of spiritual awakening for a time before having to come back to heal some pain or issue that suddenly stops the awakening and embodiment of your true self.

For most everyone else, it’s time to start cleaning out. This is normal. Healing is normal. All the frustrations and old pains re-felt are normal. But when you come from the spiritual path, now you have some tools to start to remove the poison from your soul so that you don’t have to live with this hurt or react to this pain anymore.

Next blog: Healing a Crisis of Faith


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. This is where I am. All of the motivations that kept me going before, don't work now. I needed to find something new, and by trial and error, I came to this conclusion. Having to trust in the idea that the universe isn't "good," but that my perceptions that it is ''bad" are actually false. This makes it appear ''good," by comparison, but I'm really beginning/choosing to see it more accurately.

    Thank you for writing this.

  2. Thank you Mike for your thoughts. You illustrate a big part of a growing spiritual awareness. There is this instance where we realize our definitions of things (such as good and bad) are too small. We start to see that there's something bigger and vaster than the concepts that we'd inherited and then accepted as our own from others. It's the start of a bigger quest to find your place in the universe and where you will feel the most in integrity with who you and what you offer to the world.

    Thank you again for sharing.

  3. I'm an atheist, and I admit I have had problems when it comes to this kind of thing. I normally just replace the word God with the Universe, and it seems to work for me. Thanks for the amazing posts.

  4. Thanks for reading. I'm glad that you're enjoying the posts. I think mainly most people's issues with "God" is semantic and has to do with abuse of power people have done in "God's" name. If you tell me that God is a white bearded dude in robes who tells me if I'm going to heaven or hell, then I don't believe in God either. Of course to me, that isn't God. So I encourage you to look at your definitions whenever possible so that you know what it is you are or are not believing in. Thanks again for your comment.

  5. At the beginning of my path of awakening, Jan 14, 2012…which wasn't too long ago, I felt that there was good and bad. That because we have been conditioned early on from day one, people's ability to choose became more reliant upon what is considered morally right or wrong. Now I feel there are opposing energies for everything. Ya know, thar quote we learn in science class in school as kids? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The choices we make project into the world. It is our responsibility to recognize good/light/God/the universe within ourselves, and the outside world will project accordingly. This is how I see it. If there is anymore to add, or more for me to learn on my journey, I pray for the strength to open up my Self completely, and to remember this, realize it and utilize it every day.
    As for my faith, I have always questioned God and religion growing up. I now feel like I have seen a better side to reality, and can apply my doubts and questions towards a higher learning of self and its relation to life. I don't believe in a God, but believe God is within all things. I believe we can learn from all religions. Strip away man's biases in the word, and read within the word for a deeper understanding of self. Ever ask yourself why all religion sounds the same?
    Which, by the way, has been a great learning tool individually…I now pose questions to real world situations and I work on forming unbiased views on them. Dig deeper than the surface.

  6. Hi Ashton. This seems like it's your blog-reading day for at least this little ole blog. 🙂 You may want to check this one out about higher truth and truth of the moment: http://www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com/2011/04/higher-truth-versus-truth-of-moment.html

    It explains how I look at good and evil. In the moment, there are good things and bad things. At the highest level, all is love, and all is the divine plan discovering itself. Awakening helps us to understand and embody both higher truth and truth of the moment so that we live in integrity with the challenges and opportunities life offers us.

    It's wonderful to hear about your ongoing discovery, and I commend your courage to dig deeper. =)

  7. Hi. i am new to this blog and just wanted to say thanks.
    there have been many accidents in my life. and to this day i know that due to a higher purpose im to be here. i have gone through a lot in my life. but this blog opens up a lot of insight, and help. and im glad i came across it.
    so thank you for this and the rest of the blogs that you have on here.

  8. Jim Tolles, certain things you write make me so happy that I burst into tears. I was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. The area I grew up in is often referred to as the Bible belt. When I was 6 years old my Sunday School teacher told me that if I did not ask Jesus Christ to come into my heart I would be condemned to an eternity in hell. I paused for a minute then looked her straight in the eye and told her that only the devil would try to take me to hell. God was always with me and Jesus would never send us to hell. That was the day I was expelled from Sunday School. I felt so ashamed but looking back on the experience I see the good and the truth in what I was trying to express.

  9. Wow. That's an amazing story. I honor you so much for speaking your truth at such a young age. Isn't it amazing how much we naturally know when we're children. So much of the path then becomes a rediscovery of that truth from underneath the piles of adult lies. Sending much love to you on your path.

  10. This is helping me make sense of things. I have always felt the incessant need to control things as well as a chronic disconnection. I feel as if I learned that my parents were unreliable at a young age, and I felt like Christianity was forced on me by them, not to mention being bullied by kids at church. It seems all this led me to develop a lack of faith, and a general feeling of disconnection from and distrust in the intentions of others. I know having a connection to God is paramount, and I want to feel connected, but at the same time, I feel as if there is something blocking me from it, and God feels nebulous. I think there is a bit of shame, grief, or hurt associated with the idea of believing in a higher power. What do I do?

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