Stop Trying to Be Spiritual; Just Be Real

Explore the true essence of spirituality. Dive deep into the journey of authentic self-discovery, challenging the conventional pursuit of spiritual ideals. Uncover insights on embracing your true self with wisdom and vulnerability. A must-read for those on a path to genuine personal growth and self-acceptance. Join us to discover how being 'real' transcends being 'spiritual'.

Quote:Spirituality isn’t a pathway for me to reach an idealized version of myself… It is a doorway to help me see what is real and true, and the conclusion of this is an invitation that invites me to relax into the raw vulnerability of what I am.”


I am writing this to myself. You, as the reader, have the opportunity to listen and possibly find value in my exploration. When I speak, write, or share, I explore my direct experience and share what I observe.

My work and offering are ultimately a spiritual exercise of introspection, allowing me to convey what I may need to hear.

The Expectations of Spirituality

When navigating the human experience while engaging a spiritual path, or tradition of insight and wisdom, it’s incredibly common to develop expectations of how we should be.

We come up with beautiful phrases that point toward a peaceful nature, a drama-free landscape, and a deeper reality where there is nothing to fear. Of course, something in us wants to experience such serenity, and there will be the temptation to pretend our way there in hopes of one day arriving.

Misunderstanding Spirituality

There’s a fundamental and common misunderstanding in spirituality, fueled by self-judgment, that looks to escape the many raw flavors that will forever be part of our journey.

You see, as we gain deeper insights into the beautiful nature of reality, where there is an all-encompassing and unconditional love, we assume that we must, in our humanness, match what we imagine that love looks like. Effectively, we take the insight and wisdom (spirituality), create an image of it, and then go running after that image.

The Ego’s Role

The classic hope says:

  • “If only I can be more like that image, then I will be worthy, then I will be loved, then I will be whole and complete.”


What happens here is the same thing that happens in the “non-spiritual” roads we travel, and this tendency (of the ego) to capture something, to fix yourself, to find something to hold on to, simply extends itself on what it thinks is a spiritual path.

Imagine the ego says:

  • “Hmm, making myself more real in the world (fixing myself), doesn’t seem to be working out so well. Maybe I can make myself more real on the path of spirituality.”

The Cycle of Self-Judgment

Just like in our secular attempts to be more whole by matching an image of what we think we are supposed to be, to gain the approval and love of the world, we try the same approach in spirituality. We are trying to escape our self-judgment, by forcing ourselves to match an image that we have deemed to be a version of ourselves that will no longer require our self-judgment.

  • “Dear self, please be more like this and not like then, then I promise to not judge you so much.”

Naturally, as I’ve mentioned a thousand times before, this is just a never-ending cycle of rejecting yourself now, in hopes of finding acceptance in the future.

The Illusion of the Future

“In the future” is simply an image of yourself in the mind. It’s a photoshopped version of yourself that you cling to, believing that this photoshopped version is way more deserving of the love you crave.

In a direct way, and in a manner of speaking to help illustrate the point, this is simply the ego trying to use spirituality as a means of having more control. This is a continuation of the ego’s quest in trying to become God, rather than surrendering itself and letting God be God.

The True Invitation of Spirituality

Here is what we miss, or… what I notice myself forgetting from time to time.

Spirituality isn’t a pathway for me to reach an idealized version of myself, or a pathway to help me get what I think I want in the world (helping me find something to hold on to). Spirituality is a doorway to help me see what is real and true, and the conclusion of this is an invitation that invites me to relax into the raw vulnerability of what I am.

It’s like the voice of truth says…

  • “Hey, buddy, you can stop pretending to be something you’re not. You can feel what you feel, and you can be as you are, and I (Life/God) will love you unconditionally.”

The mind/ego’s confusion, ultimately sees itself as undeserving of love, and in this assumption, it engages a quest to finally one day become “enough.” The truth of life is saying…

  • “Oh, my dear, you can stop all that now; just be as you are.”

Embracing Authenticity

  • “Okay, but what if… to just be as I am, is to also be chasing some pretend version of myself?”

That’s okay too! Life doesn’t say you can’t do that, Life is simply inviting you to see that it’s not leading toward what you think it is. Life is encouraging you to have your journey, but keep your eyes open along the way. See that you’re trying to reach a love in the future, that is a Love that’s already available right now.

Look at the playful comedy of this: My ego is trying to reach a place in the future where I can finally relax and just be myself. Life and spirituality are saying…

  • “Hey, silly, you’re already there.”

The Problem of Pretending

What makes the whole journey uncomfortably problematic, is a belief in the idea that you’re not there yet. This keeps us in a loop of chasing clouds in the future, hoping one day to arrive there. However, we do so through the means of trying to control ourselves and others, in the hopes of matching the image of what we “think” things are supposed to be.

We, effectively, are pretending our way there, pretending to be what we are not so that we might match the image.

The Beauty of Being Human

Just stop that; the reality of what you are, in the raw reality of you being human, is already extraordinarily beautiful. In fact, and please hear this (talking to myself), those parts of yourself that “seem” problematic and relatively violent, are only there because you don’t see the beauty of what you already are.

The things you are trying to run away from, avoid, hide, which are all the things you judge about yourself, are only empowered when you run, avoid, and hide from them. These problems become bigger problems, not because they are problems, but because you judge them.

Seeing Ourselves Clearly

These aspects of yourself are looking to be seen more clearly, looking to be seen and included as genuine aspects of what you are. What they are not, are obstacles that keep you from what you crave. Sure, these things might not match the photoshopped image of yourself, but that image isn’t real, that image will never be real, that image is just an image, not reality.

The Mirror of Real Love

You know what this is also like, it reminds me of real love in a relationship. A real love where the other person feels lost, confused, and painfully inadequate, and in your love for them, you see what they really are.

It’s like the love in you, says…

  • “Oh my goodness, you’re so cute in thinking you’re not enough. I see what you really are. Come here, let me love on you so that you might see beyond those silly thoughts and remember how beautiful you already are.”

This mirrors the Love in Life, the sacred Truth of Life that is the foundational landscape that just invites you… to be you. Inviting you to open those sleepy eyes and see yourself more clearly; to stop pretending or trying so hard to be something you’re not, and just be the raw reality of what you (already) are.

Embracing Our Humanity

For myself, as a beautiful reminder; it’s okay that you get scared sometimes, it’s okay that you feel inadequate sometimes, it’s okay that you get lost sometimes, it’s okay that you are as you are. This is all part of the beautiful tapestry of being human, just as all the seasons have their inherent unpredictability and sometimes wild extremes.

The autumn season doesn’t have to be the picturesque embodiment of what one person thinks is how autumn is supposed to be. The spring season doesn’t have to arrive on the same day every year, and there is no defined schedule for when the flowers must bloom. Everything in Life, through the grace of Life, is allowed to be and flow as it truly is. And, comically, everything around it will just have to deal with it.

Life’s Extension of Freedom

Everything, all aspects of Life, whether it’s the birds and bees, the rising of the sun, or the schedule of the ocean’s tides coming in and out, they are all allowed to be what they are. No demand, no expectation, just an extension of freedom where the voice of God whispers…

  • “My dear, just be as you are, the way that I’ve made you is how you’re supposed to be; you can’t get this wrong.”

Conclusion: Embracing Life’s Design

Again, it’s worthwhile to note here: All of those things that are violent and unkind within us, arrive only because we see ourselves as some form of mistake, as if we are not an intricate part of Life’s beautiful design.

Relax, dear one; maybe Life knows exactly what it is doing.

Feeling Inspired by this exploration?

If the themes of self-acceptance and embracing your true self in this post resonated with you, the Deep Divers’ Group (DDG) at could be your next step. In DDG, we create a space for heartfelt exploration and genuine growth, similar to the insights shared here. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to connect with me, Tiger, one-on-one, deepening your journey towards authenticity, and (optionally) connecting with other group members. If you’re ready to explore this path more fully, consider applying to join us at DDG.

Oh, it’s worth mentioning that enrollment is offered on a sliding scale, according to your personal income.

Learn More / Apply Here



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