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Coming Out of The Spiritual Closet

God—one word that brings up a plethora of different emotions and mental images amongst different people. The same word can open up channels of communication between individuals and also shut them down. It can incite anger in some while bringing up kindness in others. Why is it that humans have such a complex relationship with God?

My atheist friends will stomp their foot and proclaim that God does not exist. They will demand evidence and scientific proof of the existence of God at the mere mention of the word. My religious friends will bow in supplication, hailing their God the ultimate saviour of their soul. Whether they are Christians or Muslims, they will tell me how wonderful their God is. I have no doubt that it’s true, after all, the God that the Christians worship and the Allah that the Muslims pray to is one and the same. He just appears under different names in different scriptures. So why is it that humans have such a complex relationship with God?

To me, organised religion is part of what facilitates this complexity. The other part is Ego. Both organised religion and ego leads humanity into believing that their religion is the only path to God. To me, that is what makes our relationship with God complex. The paradox is that God is devoid of ego. He is an energy form that vibrates at the highest frequency. In the hands of humans—who are all beings with ego—the idea of God gets mutated into a symbol that has the power to punish human beings, a symbol to be feared. Religion then becomes a form of pardon from this punishment, a passport to heaven in the After Life. What people forget is that God and religion is not the same thing. What people also forget is that life happens in the Now, not in the After Life and being religious means nothing if—in your day-to-day living—you are cruel towards others and you feel hatred and judgement towards those who are different from you.

I am not a religious person even though I am very spiritual. My path to God did not go through the Bible or the Quran, instead it was an unexpected discovery during my journey of self-healing and growth. I had my spiritual connection with God in the most unlikely of places—in a casino hotel conference room on the second last day of a six-day personal development seminar. I wrote about it on my blog at The Dirty 30s Club. You can read it here.

If I had to explain God in one word, that word would be Love—a word that is both a verb and a noun at the same time. Perhaps I should ask my atheist friends if they believe in love because if premise one is “God is love.”, and premise two is “I believe in love.” then it seems logical that the conclusion is “I believe in God.” But because I don’t feel the need to convince my atheist friends of anything they refuse to believe in, I won’t ask the question.

Sometimes people forget that no one needs other people’s permission or approval to believe in God. No one needs to justify their reasons for believing there is a God the same way no one needs to justify their existence. You relationship with God is entirely your own, the same way your relationship with your mother or father is, or the way your relationship with your spouse is. It’s personal. It does not need to be subjected to other people’s scrutiny or judgement. That is the way I feel about how our attitude and perception to the word God should be.

As for those of you who are spiritual but not religious, who somehow feels the need to hide it for fear of being judged, I would say that it’s time to come out of the spiritual closet. After all, would you hide your spouse or your children? Would you hide your belief in a cause you feel strongly about? If not, then why you would hide your affinity for the most powerful emotion of all?

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To Be (Different) or Not To Be (Different)?

Today was one of those days when I question everything I know and understand about everything I know and understand. I sometimes find it difficult to understand the Ego—or more precisely—my ego. There are moments when I feel a significant need to define myself by what I do, to stand out based on what I represent and then there are moments when none of those things matter to me. There are moments when I feel the need to assert my value as a contributing member of society and then there are moments when I feel that I would rather move away to somewhere secluded and live my life devoid of being needed by anyone.

Today’s theme comes back to the differences between people—or more specifically—my perception of how I am different from other people.  It’s an ego thing—that much I know. The ego thrives on the idea or the perception that it is somehow… different. The spirit—however—knows that we all carry the same essence, that we all originate from the same source, and that we are one. Oneness is something I know intellectually but have never understood experientially. In my form as a human, my eyes are clouded with the filter of differences. All my mind’s eye sees is how I am different from you, from him, from her and from them. It’s a paradox of the ego—it derives both satisfaction and suffering from being different at the same time. It’s like being complimented and insulted all in the same breath. That is what I find difficult to understand.

Something else that I find difficult to understand is how to operate in a world that is run predominantly on ego-based rules. How can I accept oneness when society thrives on differences? In the commercial landscape, the only question that needs to be answered before all other questions is “How are you different from your competitors?” or “What is your USP—your Unique Selling Proposition?” I find it difficult to imagine myself responding to those questions with an answer like this, “We are all one. There are no differences between us. All the differences that you see are completely artificial. It is the mind’s prerogative to keep us being different rather than the same. Therefore, I am no different from you, or him, or her, or them. The differences are just perceptions, nothing more.”

And then I am faced with a dilemma. If I were to function in accordance to society’s implicit ego-based rules then I would have to put aside everything I understand and believe about source and oneness, about flow and the universal laws. That makes me a hypocrite. It makes me inauthentic and that is the last thing I want to be. Nothing wounds the spirit quicker than being inauthentic. And I detest nothing more than having to do something that is expected of me rather than doing it because it is something I believe in. This much is clear—I don’t believe in a world that has to operate on ego-based rules.  The rules themselves do nothing to raise consciousness. On the contrary, they breed perpetuity in unconscious existence and—often—the suffering that comes with it.

Underneath it all, I am always reminded that whatever the ego-based rules are, they cannot defy Universal laws. That is the only thing I understand. Everything else—I continue to question and ponder. To be different or not to be different? That is the question. I hope that—at some point—my spiritual antenna will be tuned to the right vibrational frequency to receive the answer to that question. For now, I’ll make do with what is.

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Meeting Oprah

I had the good fortune of showing up on the taping of Oprah’s Lifeclass with Deepak Chopra via Skype. It was a life long dream, well, close to it anyway. My life long dream is to meet with her in person on the set of her show so when I woke up one morning in March to see an email from one of the Associate Producers at Harpo, I didn’t know what to feel. The feeling was surreal – both expected and unexpected at the same time.

The taping of Lifeclass was scheduled for Tuesday, 3rd April, 4 a.m. Melbourne time and I had to be ready an hour and a half before then. I went to bed at 6 p.m on Monday, thinking I would squeeze in a few solid hours of sleep so that I would be fresh for the show. But that didn’t happen. By 11 p.m, I decided the tossing and turning was futile, so I got out of bed and fixed myself something to eat instead – a salad with crumbled fetta cheese dressed with balsamic vinegar, and half a chicken parmigiana. In between getting dressed, putting on my make up and doing my hair, I put a pot of chic-kut-teh on the stove to simmer for lunch the following day. It was a rather productive night.

Then the Harpo team called me via Skype just before 3 a.m to make sure all the technical stuff were taken care of – sound check, camera, lights – the whole shebang. While waiting for 4 a.m. to roll around, I sipped my double dose Trung Nguyen Vietnamese coffee through a pink straw while trailing through my Facebook feed. The thing was stagnant. Nothing was happening at 3.15 a.m.

Finally, the show started and I got a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes to make a show of that magnitude happen. Not divulging any secrets here. :-) Truth be told, a lot of people worked really hard to make it go as smoothly as it did.

Oprah was really funny and down to earth. During the commercial breaks, she wandered down the aisles of Radio City – where the show was held – to meet with and talk to the large audience. She was hilarious. I laughed so hard during the commercial breaks I could’ve sworn I was at the Comedy Festival. I wished she showed more of that side of her on TV. It was so warm and so human.

I was the last Skyper to appear on air. The Associate Producer who was watching my screen had been feeding my comments to the other producers throughout the taping of the show. When the show was almost concluding, the camera focused on me for one last point. I asked Deepak Chopra a question and in 60 seconds, it was all over. The producers thanked us all and told us we could log off when we were ready. That was the end of the many weeks of build-up, the end of over two hours of taping and also the end of my Oprah experience. I looked out my living room French doors and saw that daylight was upon me.

I had a shower and tried to sleep – to no avail. I was exhausted but sleep evaded me. Lying in bed, I thought to myself that after all these years of writing her fan mail, something actually came out of it. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, Oprah and I will actually meet in person. That remains a life long dream, but not an unattainable one.

My Skype shot for Oprah's Lifeclass

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So, you found me… .

This can only mean one of two things:

1) You are a good speller; or

2) You are a bad speller who is actually looking for someone else but found me by fluke.

Either way, WELCOME!

If you would like to keep up to date with what I’m doing, go to the tab “The Dirty 30s Club”. That’s where I live most of the time but this is a good place to hang out with me too.


Chiao Kee

Melbourne, Australia.

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