Being a Spiritual Conduit
In Matrix I was introduced to the term emotional conduit. It’s a role that people take on, generally unconsciously. The classic example is the person in the family that feels everything that the other members are denying or suppressing. It’s not a fun role, because you are feeling things that aren’t yours, which can be overwhelming and confusing.
This is definitely a role I have played in my family, and through this work I’m realizing I can choose not to do that, by setting the intention to occupy my own emotional space and not feel others feelings.
But when I understood this, it also occurred to me that I often become a conduit for spiritual energy as well.
When people are seeing and recognizing each other on a really deep level, this quality of energy can arise. You feel this sense of timelessness, a feeling of awe, and a kind of hushed beauty. This is the sensations of spiritual energy of some kind arising in that connection.
Most people have experienced this during the falling-in-love phase of romance, or when staring at babies. But it also happens in Matrix because of the intimacy of naming the current experience as it is happening, and recognizing and experiencing a knowing of people on a deep level.
My a-ha moment was realizing that if other people in the group aren’t also sensitive to that energy and running it through themselves as well (distributing it), I can end up being a conduit for that energy, so it sort of builds up in me.
When I feel a lot of spiritual energy, people start responding to me in a very particular way.
They start telling me I am so bright, vibrant, shining, and amazing. It felt like an intense form of admiration, but that is kind of unwarranted. And it’s not like this feels horrible, but it doesn’t feel like they are seeing me.
I used to think it was just projection–some kind of golden shadow thing. I felt uncomfortable, because I could sense that they were not feeling this energy as part of themselves, although I didn’t have the words to name this.
Through the roles exercise in Matrix (in which I chose the role of “Ordinary Adult”), I realized I have a lot more agency in this experience than I thought. I can intentionally not do whatever that thing is, and own my energetic space.
Being intentionally ordinary felt great! I had a lot more confidence, clarity, and I felt like I was doing things just because I wanted to, rather than somehow playing out that role of being the “Shiny One”.
Actually inspiring people isn’t the same as being seen as inspirational.
Consider these two scenarios:
1. You go to see an inspirational speaker. After it is over, you are simply amazed at how brilliant, eloquent, and fascinating this person is. You start thinking they are here for some special purpose, and that they have a true gift. You go up and gush about how great they are. You feel excited, high, almost floating with the possibilities of everything.
2. You go to see an inspirational speaker. After it is over, you feel more connected to your own inspiration. You want to start doing some things you’ve been putting off. You see how you could improve parts of your life, and you feel motivated to do it. You express your genuine gratitude and some of how it impacted you. You feel a grounded sense of being more connected to yourself and having more clarity about how life could be better.
In the first scenario, the speaker is running the spiritual energy generated from the inspiration in his words all through himself. It’s not being distributed. In the second scenario, the speaker is grounded in themselves, and not running that energy for everyone, so it goes back to the people in the crowd and they get connected to their own inspiration.
So it’s not just personally relieving to not take on this role, it’s also more of service to others.
When I got home that night, I had another a-ha moment.
Maybe this explains some of my existential guilt?
Throughout my life I’ve been plagued by this feeling that I really ought to be saving the world. It’s gotten better over time, but there were times when I literally felt like maybe I was some kind of re-incarnated Messiah or something, because the intensity of that sensation was so strong. It felt like I had a mission, a purpose, and it was grand, great, and vitally important (but the details of it were frustratingly fuzzy). In some way, my life didn’t belong to me–it belonged to this mission.
Mixed in was a sense that I could see things in ways that others couldn’t, and I had this Cosmic duty to explain the spiritual nature of the Universe to people, and help them experience God for themselves. And this is close to what I actually want to do (without the Cosmic duty part). Of course, when I tried to do this, I got a massive dose of that spiritual conduit/projection effect, so I really resisted it.
Along with that feeling of messianic mission-hood, I had a huge amount of resistance. I now recognize this as my natural desire to just live my own life, but at the time it felt like a personal failing, that I couldn’t somehow man up to the task. Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach was very validating, and I had this quote on my wall for a long time to try to counteract this feeling of pressure to save the world:
In the path of our happiness shall we find the learning for which we have chosen this lifetime…walk your own path, as you please.
Of course, alongside this inner drama I just lived my life. I doggedly pursued my happiness. And gradually this feeling has lessened over the years, as I found work I enjoyed and grounded myself in that, realized the scope of this world-saving project would be laughably huge for one person to take on, and painfully learned the lesson (several times) that you can’t save people anyway.
And yet, it was still there, because when I got home from the workshop that night, having taken off that role and stepped into my ordinary me-ness, I felt that whole construct crumble into dust. I laughed out loud, realizing that the pressure was just…gone. I realized with that plainly-obvious sensation that lets you know you’ve fully unravelled something, that of course I only have to live my own life. Of course it is mine to choose. Whose else would it be?
That pressure to live your potential, to serve the common good–these are spiritual imperatives. I was channeling that from my environment, I guess–from everyone I came in contact with that wasn’t in touch with their own gifts and unique contribution to the human experiment.
What a relief to not carry that! I can truly pursue the work that makes me happy, with no trace of guilt. I can be myself–just myself. The freedom of that is just delightful.
Update: The feeling of being guilt-free didn’t last, but the “shining one” thing doesn’t happen anymore. I realized part of it was a shadow thing–I suppressed a lot of my “unspiritual” qualities like greed, selfishness, vanity–to the point where I wasn’t taking care of my own needs or letting myself have things I wanted. Working through those helped balance out my personality, which stops me from being such an easy “hook” for people to hang their projections on. Lastly, the existential guilt turned out to be related to early childhood stuff, this video has a good explanation.