367: Steve Taylor: The New Psychology of Spiritual Awakening

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Steve Taylor is the author of several best-selling books on psychology and spirituality and is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. For the last five years, he has been included in Mind, Body, Spirit magazine’s list of the ‘100 most spiritually influential living people.’ His books include Waking From Sleep, The Fall, Out of the Darkness, Back to Sanity, The Calm Center and his latest book The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening. His books have been published in 19 languages, and Eckhart Tolle has described his work as ‘an important contribution to the shift in consciousness which is happening on our planet at present.’

Steve has a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology and teaches on ITA professional’s on-line MSc in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology. His articles and essays have been published in over 40 academic journals, magazines, and newspapers. He writes the popular blog ‘Out of the Darkness’ for Psychology Today magazine. Steve lives in Manchester, England with his wife and three young children.

Favorite Success Quote

Finally, it’s clear that fulfillment isn’t a place to seek but the place from which you are seeking

That wholeness isn’t a distant future goal but your closest present state

And no matter how much success you accumulate or how much failure trails behind you, it’s always enough just to be alive.

Key Points

1. The Present is All You Have

We do not live in a society that values presence.

Everything, and I do mean everything, that is pushed on us in the modern world is designed to take us out of the present moment and transport us to some imaginary plane that doesn’t truly exist.

Each and everyday big companies inundate us with desires for all sorts external garbage that does little to truly fulfill our deepest desires.

Instead of living each moment fully and savoring the sweetness of life, we are constantly in a rush to buy the latest gadget, follow some new trend, or keep up with the Joneses.

And in this rush to keep up appearances and live for future goals, we forget to enjoy what is happening right now.

Because at the end of the day, the present is truly all that you have.

If you are chasing a future goal, you are still chasing it in the present.

If you are reminiscing about the past, you are still doing so in the present.

But we rarely take the time to sit back and embrace the present moment.

We rarely notice the trees swaying in the wind, or the soft sounds of our partner sleeping next to us, or the feeling of the cold hardwood underneath our feet.

And when we ignore the present moment, we are ignoring our lives. Because the present is all that we have.

2. Get Recentered 

No matter how much you focus on being present, the challenges and struggles of modern life will derail you and cause you to lose your center.

And when you find this happening, it is imperative that you take a step back and get recentered.

Go for a swim, take some time to go on a run, and pay attention to your sensations.

If it is feasible, the best way to find your center and bring more presence into your life is travel.

Whenever you travel, everything is new and exciting, it’s like being a child all over again.

You don’t know what to expect around the next corner, you aren’t sure what each day will bring, and you are constantly living in a state of wonder and awe.

It is truly the best way to bring presence back into your life and find the balance that you have been searching for.

And it doesn’t have to be a wild trip either.

Just a 2-hour drive can take you to a city or a state that you have never visited before and provide you with a plethora of opportunities to explore and rekindle that child-like wonder and amazement.

3. Focus on “Being” Instead of “Doing”

In today’s society, men are conditioned from birth to be “Doers”.

We are told to get sh*t done, to make things happen, to hustle, and to grind.

And all of those things are great.

But they are only one part of the puzzle.

The other piece that most men miss is to learn the art of “Being”.

Learning to simply sit with yourself, your thoughts, and your current circumstances and to be ok with them regardless of how society might view them.

When you focus on being, you will begin to realize that simply drawing breath, that simply having a pulse, simply existing is enough.

Being alive is the greatest gift there is, the greatest truth that you can seek, and the greatest goal that you can achieve.

And guess what?

You’ve already achieved it.

4. Spiritual Awakening is Not About Bliss 

All too often, mainstream culture assumes that spiritual awakening is about achieving “Nirvana” or “Bliss” where all of your problems disappear and life is just a constant flow of joy and internal peace.

But the true nature of spiritual awakening is not the absence of problems, but rather a greater understanding, acceptance, and capacity to deal with those problems.

When you open your eyes to the world of spiritual awakening, your problems will not magically disappear.

You will still have bills to pay, a family to care for, issues in your relationships, and physical ailments.

However, because you have devoted the time and energy necessary to become more awakened, you will be able to approach these problems from a different space.

Instead of being controlled by the problems, you will see them for what they really are and be able to handle them more adeptly and with more peace.

5. Spirituality is About Valuing What You Have

At the end of the day, the ultimate lesson of spirituality, presence, enlightenment or whatever else you want to call it is simple… Value what you have in this moment.

Some of the most spiritual people I know haven’t meditated a day in their lives, they’ve never read any of the sacred texts, and terms like “enlightenment” seem foreign to them.

But they have a deep appreciation and gratitude for what they have.

Instead of focusing on what they want and what they don’t have, they find peace and comfort in counting the blessings that already fill their lives.

And if you take nothing else away from this interview take that one lesson.

Valuing what you already have and being grateful for each breath you take is the ultimate form of enlightenment.

Influential Books

1. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

2. The Upanishads: A Classic of Indian Spirituality

3. Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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Connect with Steve Taylor

 https://www.stevenmtaylor.com/

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