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Universal Truths and Connection

Jenn Shepherd

4 min read

Jun 14

31

2

1

Integral spirituality emphasizes universal truths that transcend specific religious dogmas. It recognizes that all traditions hold valuable insights. Integrating these truths can deepen our spiritual awareness and connect with something greater than ourselves. This connection extends beyond personal belief and embraces the interconnectedness of all life. One may start this pathway to integrating our sense of the truth by asking self-reflective questions such as “Am I living in alignment with my spiritual principles?” and “What experiences have shaped my spiritual beliefs and practices?”


My journey with spirituality started when I was very young. I had a tough time understanding why some people were treated differently than others or why it wasn’t right to play with some children and not others. In Kindergarten, I often got into trouble for dancing during playtime. My best buddy in class was a boy named Matt. I did not understand why dancing with Matt was such a big deal, so I often sat in the corner after doing just that. I was told that I was not allowed to play with Matt because he was a Jehovah's Witness and that it was not part of what Jehovah's Witness did. That made an impression and became a bit of a repeating pattern in my life. As I entered middle school, I had friends who went to different churches than my own. I would find ways to go with the families to the different churches. I was in high school when I went to a Jehovah's Witness Temple for the first time. If there was an experience to be had on how someone else did church, I found a way to go or to be invited. Several friends called themselves ‘born-again Christians' in high school and college. Two of them parted ways with me for a while. We are friends again as adults, but I learned they parted from our friendship because I was raised Catholic. From the Truth perspective of their spiritual leaders, Roman Catholics were not true Christians, and they were told true Christians needed to separate themselves from non-Christians.


I sometimes wonder how that would play out today now that I no longer use the lens of Christianity for my Truth. My fascination with Star Trek helped shape my view of the world as a child. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I would watch The Original Series Reruns. By age 10, I had memorized most of the dialog from every early episode. By the time I was 12, I had memorized most of the first two theatrical movies and owned an extensive library of science fiction books that included Star Trek novels. In these stories, people could be wherever they were, and it wasn’t even talked about; it was normal. No one said anything about you being Japanese, Russian, Scottish descent, black, a woman, a man, or from a planet other than Earth. People and sentient beings were themselves and part of the larger category of sentient life forms. If there were any categorizations, they were usually on a planetary level. It was extremely progressive for a show that first aired in the mid-1960s. I did not know it was progressive as a child. I just felt it was the way things were. There was travel and curiosity, and the bad guys, alien or otherwise, usually lacked some compassion or ability to see that all beings have merit. There were discussions and an attempt to reason one's way out of a predicament before resorting to any violence. The United Federation of Planets professed a non-interference clause that said groups/planets were allowed to have their own opinions and way of living. That non-interference clause was often taken to task when that way of living subjugated or harmed another group. There was a recognition of a perception that could honor and try to understand the perceptions of others, see the merit in their perceptions of that group or that individual, but also know that there was always a perception with a wider and broader view to get closer to the true TRUTH.


Understanding this as a youth took years into adulthood to integrate and embody. I believe it will be a process of unfoldment and development for me my entire life. One must be self-aware and willing to heal and integrate parts of one's life that hold one back from expressing that understanding fully. It takes much self-reflection and raising one’s emotional and spiritual IQ. I can't deny that these experiences as a youngster shaped my beliefs. Today, I listen to and advocate for people who feel as though they are being set in the corner for dancing with whom they feel comfortable dancing.


My spiritual principle includes recognizing EVERYONE as important, even if how they act is frustrating. Integral spirituality and the use of shadow work it suggests has helped me understand frustration and irritation, where it comes from, and how I may use it to recognize and broaden my perception. It aids in me finding ways to hopefully allow glimpses for everyone to be comfortable dancing and allowing everyone else to dance. In Integral Spirituality, this is referred to as WAKING UP, having a direct experience of awareness and then GROWING UP that awareness, offering a framework for understanding and integrating the new awareness into everyday life.


It is important to know that there is something wonderful and TRUE about the relationship beings have with each other on the USS Enterprise traversing Space in Star Trek. Engaging with the principles witnessed brings them to the forefront of decisions and actions in everyday life.


Explore the ‘Nature of Healing’ with Jenn Shepherd on Anointed Radio and YouTube

Jenn Shepherd

4 min read

Jun 14

31

2

1

Comments (1)

Guest
Jun 23

This is real cool!! We share many of the same early church/religious/cultural experiences. As youth we don't recognize differences as problems but I digress. The real reason I had to comment is because you used the term "Integral Spirituality" and I am an "Integral Yoga" student. Recognizing the divinity/truth in all religions. It is these moments that I realize I am on the right path.

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