36. I tend to rely on what others say about what I should believe and do about religious or spiritual matters.
While families and cultures, including religions themselves, may give advice, suggestions and at times directives or proclamations about what we “should” believe or do religiously or spiritually, it appears that the only way we can have an authentic religious or spiritual experience is from a felt sense in our own heart and soul. To have such an authentic experience, we usually need to have a free Child Within, one that is not in hiding. To be so free, we need healthy boundaries.
Charles Whitfield — Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting, and Enjoying the Self (pp. 36-37)
Continuing with the survey on personal boundaries, Whitfield suggested to answer the question above with one of the following: Never, Seldom, Occasionally, Often, or Usually. His survey on personal boundaries is used to help us discover where we may have blind spots and need correcting. According to the question above, Whitfield says, “An answer of ‘Often’ or ‘Usually’ indicates a boundary problem, with one of ‘Occasionally’ possibly indicating a boundary problem. An answer of ‘Never’ could also indicate a boundary problem.”
This is a tough one, because most people are taught religious or spiritual matters from their caregivers at a very young age. Even when children grow up and rebel, they find it extremely difficult to shed the religious and spiritual dogmas that have been passed down from generations of well-meaning loved ones. I’m not suggesting that all religious and spiritual matters that are passed down are bad—neither is Whitfield—however, what is suggested is the religious and spiritual experiences must come from a felt sense in our own heart and soul. An authentic experience comes from within and is a result of personal seeking. An inauthentic experience is one forced on you as a child and causes you to continually take your cues from an authoritarian figure—even long into adulthood.
Personal boundaries are meant to protect our True Self, our Child Within, our Highest Self. When we allow others to constantly violate our personal boundaries, we fail to protect our Child Within and that causes it to go into hiding. Setting personal boundaries for an authoritarian figure in our life is never easy, but living out the rest of our life with no boundaries is even harder. If you think this seems like a foolish idea, consider asking your Child Within if you have done a good job protecting it over the years. Maybe it’s been in hiding for most of your adult life because your own inner voice was snuffed out a long time ago.
Solzhenitsyn suggested “A submissive sheep is a find for a wolf” because he understood the effects of not thinking and acting on our own accord. If we don’t take the time and effort to establish healthy personal boundaries, there is a long list of authoritarian tyrants willing to direct our lives for us.
Do you feel you have healthy personal boundaries in all areas of your life—not just religious and spiritual matters? Do you feel you protect your Child Within from going into hiding?
Have a blessed day.
Peace and Love,