In today’s episode of “Healing from Within” your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit: Answers to Healing and Infinite Love welcomes Chris Grosso author of The Indie Spiritualist. Chris Grosso is an independent culturist freelance writer, spiritual aspirant, recovering addict and musician. Chris writes for such venues such as the Rebelle Society, Huffington Post, Intent Blog, and is a monthly contributor on the radio show “Where Is My Guru.” Chris shares how he discovered that spirituality is not something that happens in a meditation center or on a yoga mat, in ashrams or churches, mosques, temples or synagogues and may not always be peaceful. It can be as loud as a rock concert as it moves you to feel life, examine emotions and past patterns of abuse or unhappiness and to forge through the minutia of life to discover the deep seated personal power of one’s inner guidance system…that energy of truth and divine awareness- our Soul.
Jack Kornfield, one of Chris’s teachers talks about how he found his path by using his heart. It is not about religious dogma or spiritual materialism, but to train our hearts and minds to meet the realities of our lives in a wise and compassionate way. Compassion is a skill we develop over time and with our own efforts. Wisdom comes when we look within, discovering any pain or confusion and train the heart and mind to be kind. Kindness is not always nice or gentle, but sometimes it can be loud and aggressive like when we need to turn the music loud enough to disturb the reactive habitual conditioning of the mind.
In Sheryl’s new book The Living Spirit, she shares messages received from Universal Energy for her clients which express how perfection is not possible in a human existence and what we consider to be less than perfect within ourselves or others actually gives us the opportunity to discover more about ourselves, our destiny and dreams and allows us to love ourselves and life in a more uplifting way. It may not always seem fair or be easy, but we can move past the patterns and limitations of our childhood and remember our deeper soul essence which is magnificent, eternal and always evolving. Change therefore is not to be feared but welcomed.
Many people are not even sure of what the word spirituality actually means. Some people may associate it with religious dogma, rigid practices, or fear based campaigns to help them fit the norm or what is valued by society at any given moment. Chris states spirituality is a completely inside job…we don’t have to change our appearance, adopt a new language, or change our mannerisms to fit in. We need to let go of stereotypes dogma and be open to new perceptions and awareness to our own inner voice and what brings us peace contentment and joy sometimes changing our habits addictions life style work relationship etc so we can be authentic and open to the guidance all around us from spiritual influences in the form of coincidences, intuitive nudges or as we develop more messages and help from a higher realm of life force.
To Sheryl, spirituality means self improvement and seeking a more understanding of Self and life in order to create, manifest and live from one’s inner wisdom and life force- a force of love unaffected by the values and view of others. It is the most independent and honest form of self-investigation and on some level, regardless of the material ways people seek to find happiness such as using drugs, excessive shopping, indulging in food, sex addictions and so on everyone is seeking the truth of their own being. Often it means going to our shadow or dark side to uncover and release some of this anger or pain and to move past our fears of death and life and become familiar with Energy…our own energy and the energy of the Universe and the Law of Attraction so we may play in the game of life with knowledge and by understanding the laws of nature God and man.
“The Indie Spiritualist” refers to a call we all share….our hearts call for something more. The question is “Do you really want to keep pretending like you don’t hear it, like you don’t feel it?” If you can’t or won’t wait anymore that is when you may find the beauty of The Indie Spiritualist. All people’s paths are spiritual and an investigation of life whether they live according to the dictates of society and rules or are individualists who follow the path of free will and the music or beat of their inner being or essence.
While Chris was in rehab in New Jersey, he described himself at usually pretty good at hiding emotions so there was no way to deny his pain and depression at that point. Chris wrote… “While in Detox, I would find myself in a mental emotional spiritual and physical place that was extremely raw, vulnerable depressed and surprisingly open. Open in the sense that I was tired and so broken that I didn’t have the capacity to keep up some sort of façade which resulted in some of the most honest, although still chemically influenced writing from the darkest places in my life.”
Sheryl relates to Chris by saying, “I have noticed in my own personal approach to releasing my own past childhood limitations and recognizing how to connect to energy both between humans and souls in spirit as a medium I have discovered the loneliness and despair that seems to reside in the most sensitive and creative people as they seemingly need this process to come full circle with their inner divinity and then to move forward to help others see the creative force that can improve life for themselves and the human condition. My younger sister was an artist who moved to California in search of her own destiny and fought her own demons and addictions much like you Chris but I believe we all are looking past what we see happening in our challenging physical world to know what is more beautiful and sustainable within. Once we find that truth the outer world holds little danger for us.”
While in the rehab facility, Chris wrote, “The cuts on my wrists are making it hard to write right now, but I want to say this—detox truly is you against you. It’s not like there’s anyone here encouraging you: there’s no one here to say anything encouraging you: there’s no one here to say, Hey, nice job detoxing or anything like that. It’s literally you experiencing the hell of the drugs leaving your body. And while the heavily medicated state in which Detox leaves you helps mask some of the pain there’s no medication that can stop you from feeling parts of your soul decaying.”
Sheryl tells Chris she is sure that anyone going through detox or even continuous treatments such as chemotherapy, feel much that way and perhaps it is part of the unresolved parts of the soul’s past view or perception of life which is being let go of so new perceptions may be embraced so in the loss something is found and in the pain or sorrow is the path to new awareness and freedom. Sheryl likes to think that every situation leads us to remembering our true nature as spiritual energies or life forces having a physical life at the moment.
Chris goes on to mention the Gift of Desperation and what he is grateful for in how he lives life now. The gift of desperation is part of the twelve-step fellowships and happens when one hits rock bottom and has nothing to hold on to. “Bankrupt in every sense of the word—morally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, allows for surrendering, letting go and resting in gratitude that while I will always be an addict in this lifetime I no longer have to live the way I was living… now I live a life that is not perfect nor always filled with happiness but a life that is filled with a deeper sense of calm, serenity integrity and conscious contact with the Universal love that is far beyond what my limited vocabulary could ever begin to describe. I’m offering this the good, bad, beautiful, ugly—all of it—with the awareness that in this moment it is all exactly as it is and it is imperfectly perfect.”
Chris mentions one of the facilities clinical directors who was talking with Chris about the book, Freedom, by San Quentin, involving a death row inmate named Jarvis Jay Masters. While in prison, Jarvis Jay Masters was able to renounce his own violent past and selfish ways and in turn commit his life to the benefit of all beings. He had found hope in the most hopeless place possible
When asked by Chris to elaborate on how he made peace with being imprisoned for 31 years, Masters had said “Well I’ve been so blessed man and it’s a weird thing that I don’t even get sometimes. I mean I‘ve been here 31 years and wrote a book that’s helped a lot of people. If they had released me earlier instead of how many people I’ve helped, how many people might I have hurt…How can I say 31 years has been a total waste when, it hasn’t.”
We were born to be real not to be perfect. Chris tell us what makes us unable to take a long hard look at ourselves..the person we present to the world and the person we really are. Chris writes about himself “Now I don’t want you to get the wrong picture here—he’s not always full of shitty feelings and thoughts or feeling insecure. He definitely experiences joy and peace and can be happy with things he’s written or happy with the way a kirtan performance went and sometimes he likes the physical image reflecting back at him in the mirror. A part of him knows he helps others and he feels gratitude when he receives e-mails from those who read his stuff..overall for whatever reason he’s terribly scared to let you see who he really is…”
Sheryl asks “Chris who are we really and how did we come to be separated from this truth?” Chris says humanity lost its connection to the root of our true essence which is love and it is our inherent right to take that love back..not the fluffy and light kind of love but rather the love that truly can’t be spoken of or explained… the love in the heart center that thanks God Universal Spirit for being real and bringing grace into our lives.
The Indie Spiritualist website has provided Chris with the chance to interview a lot of people who have impacted him throughout his life. He mentions Dan Millman, Robert Thurman, directors George Romero and Demetri Martin and punk icon Ian Mac Kaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi . Dan Millman, an Olympic gymnast, author and psychologist, was a guest on “Healing From Within and like Chris, Sheryl has been blessed to work with conscious citizens, authors and spiritual teachers who are a collective voice for wisdom in these changing times.
Chris later on mentions that after years of drug addiction, he did considerable damage to himself and suffered bouts of depression and anxiety, relying on anti-depressions and anti anxiety medications, but the practice of a dedicated meditation routine helped him taper off these medications. It is known that over 60% of women are presently offered these medications when visiting their doctors and due to the many stresses of modern day life this is understandable but does not have to continue for a whole lifetime. Some ways to gain greater composure, balance and peace for healthier living include Vipassana meditation, breathing exercises, along with exercise, diet changes, rest and stress busting techniques may help to deal with the issues of modern day living and focus on mindful behavior and goals towards peace and well being.
Chris Grosso has shared his world of music, addiction, love and the pursuit of traveling between the inner and outer world of Self for validation and personal awareness of the journey of the soul through the spiritual and physical worlds of mystery.
As Chris wrote…. “And so here we are at the gates and ready to step through into a new paradigm knowing that the deepest changes that take place in our lives are often on the inside rather than out. And when we are no longer content to live a life conditioned by fear, resentment, blame, and judgment when we lay aside preconceptions based on separation, when we allow space for the Collective Consciousness and acceptance of all beings, regardless of appearances, together we move forward… We also now see beyond what meets the naked eye, knowing our old futile search for relief in strict material pleasures will no longer cut it. Sure we’re bound to still get wrapped up in them from time to time but now we’re mindful of their fleeting nature and understand that the true sense of peace and comfort that we’ve been looking for can only truly be found within. The empty hole that many of us have experienced in our hearts is now being filled with the One interconnected source of love we all have in common.”
Chris and Sheryl would like to say that spirituality exists in simple ways such as hugging a friend going into nature to reconnect to Universal love and energy in listening to music reading a book that speaks to your mind and heart and in any experience that has a hint of mindfulness to deepen our awareness of the Divine Within and to make us know the true nature of our being.