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S2 EP206 – The Spiritual Journey

Episode Summary

Which part of you do you put your trust in to guide your life – your mind or your soul? The spiritual journey is one of moving from ego wounded self being in control to heart and soul guiding your life. This shift is the key to inner peace and joy


Hi everyone, Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding Podcast. Today I’m speaking about what it means to be on a spiritual journey, and what the challenges are. Often my clients tell me they are on a spiritual path because they meditate, or they believe in God, or they go to church or temple, without realizing that none of these mean that they are on a spiritual journey.

So, what does it mean to be on a spiritual path, a spiritual journey?

There are different ways of describing this journey:

  • Moving out of fear and into love and courage
  • Moving out of control and into surrender
  • Moving out of a closed heart and into an open heart
  • Moving out of the ego and into the higher self
  • Moving out of the wounded self and into the loving adult
  • Moving out of the intent to protect against pain and into the intent to learn about love.

I find it helpful to think of it as moving out of mind dominion and into soul dominion.

When we were born, by necessity, our highest priority was survival. We went about learning how to make sure that we survived both physically and mentally. Our mind took over as our primary instrument of survival. In this process, we developed many limiting beliefs, as well as fears and behaviors that resulted from these beliefs. These beliefs governed our lives as we were growing up. We came to believe that our thoughts – coming from our lower mind – had validity, because we believe they helped us to survive.

When we first come into a body, the instinctual aspects of the body take over to ensure survival – we cry when we are hungry, tired, hurting, lonely or afraid.

While the soul energizes the body and gives us much of our uniqueness, the mind is learning to adapt to the culture in which we find ourselves. The mind absorbs the beliefs of the family and the culture in its desire to adapt and be accepted. The mind develops many beliefs based on the experiences we have of love, rejection, engulfment, and abuse.

The gifts and talents of the soul manifest early in some children. Some children seem to be able to maintain a balance between body, mind, and soul, while others lose a sense of themselves as a soul and the body/mind takes over. When this is the case, the wounded self is in charge and the person loses a sense of their soul self.

During this process, our soul – our true self – had to take a back seat. Our soul originally came into our body to evolve in love and manifest our gifts, but our soul had to wait patiently while we focused on survival – on attempting to have control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe.
Our mind learned many ways to attempt to have this control and we survived.

Our lower mind, located in the lower left brain, is comprised of all the false beliefs we have learned since we were born, as well as with our instinctual fight, flight, or freeze mechanism. Our lower mind, programmed with so many false beliefs, is not a dependable source of truth. In fact, the programmed aspect of the mind cannot discern the difference between what is true and what is not, and it has no access to truth.

Moving on to a true spiritual path means letting go of the wounded self being in charge, but due to the wounded self being in charge in our growing up years to ensure our survival, it’s not easy to let go and surrender the control of the lower mind. Our wounded self believes that it can think its way into truth and into resolving issues, and therefore create our safety.

How often do you find yourself focused in your mind, trying to figure something out? How often do you find yourself going around and around, stuck in programmed thinking, and not getting anywhere?

Why do we think we have to think things out, rather than open to learning with our guidance?

Our thinking mind likes to hijack the thoughts that come through us from spirit. It likes to take credit for the intelligence of the universe that comes through us when we really want to know the truth.

While our limited programmed mind has no access to truth, we can use our mind to open to truth. When we decide from our mind that we REALLY want to know the truth about something, our mind becomes open and receptive to the intelligence of spirit popping into our mind.

How often has a wonderful thought, truth or idea popped into your mind and you said something like, “I just thought of something!” Sometimes the ‘I’ who believes you just thought of something is your ego wounded self who wants to take credit for the thought. Believing that the thought originated FROM your mind rather than THROUGH your mind reinforces the false belief that thinking about something from your limited mind will get you the answers. You believe it is better to think about it rather than opening to learning with spirit, and this leads to often getting stuck, going round and round in your mind, what we call obsessive thinking.

If you start to pay attention to where the answers are really coming from, you will begin to distinguish the difference between the programmed thoughts that come from your mind, and the thoughts from your guidance that simply appear in your mind. I know that we have all had the experience of ideas popping into our mind, but most people don’t recognize that their ego limited programmed wounded mind is not the source of these truths or ideas. It is the narcissism of our ego wounded mind that wants to believe that it is really that smart!

I work with many clients who think and think and think – who are addicted to thinking – and who make themselves crazy with thinking and analyzing. “What if this happens”? “Why is this happening to me?” What if…? What about…? Why….?, on and on, and never getting answers because there is no intent to learn. True answers cannot pop into your mind when you are using your thinking mind to control rather than to learn.

The mind thinks that because it is asking questions, it is open to learning, but questions such ‘What if…?’ are not real questions. Usually, when you ask a question as a challenge, or about the future, you are not open to learning about what is true for you and what is in your highest good right now. If you are not asking questions like, “What is the truth?” or “What is in my highest good?” or “What is loving to me and to others?” then you may be trying to control rather than learn. 

It’s important to learn to distinguish between ego and spirit. It’s not hard to know when you are trying to use your mind to control, rather than to learn, because if you tune into your feelings in Step One of Inner Bonding, you will discover that when your intent is to control, you are tense. When people I am working with are using their mind to control rather than to learn, I can feel the tension within them. Your inner child feels very alone and abandoned when you are using your mind to control rather than to learn.

Often, I will say to a client when they are stuck in thinking to control, “Tune inside. What are feeling right now?” Invariably they say “anxious” or “tense” or “stressed.” But they think they are feeling anxious or tense or stressed because of not solving the problem they are thinking about, rather than because they are trying to control with thinking!

Many of my clients seek my help or read my books or take my courses because they’re tired of trying to control everything – that trying to get love, avoid pain, survive and be safe is exhausting. At some point, many of us decide that survival is not enough. You might find yourself feeling empty, anxious, unfulfilled. You might start to question what life is all about. “There must be more to life than this,” you might say to yourself. You want more inner peace and joy in your life.

So you might have started on a path of learning about how to have more fulfillment. However, because you were so used to using your mind to get what you needed and wanted, you might have gone about trying to figure out how to get love, peace, and joy.

The problem is that this is not something the mind can figure out. The mind is incapable of having control over love, peace, and joy. Love, peace, and joy are gifts of spirit that come into us and through us when we shift our intention from controlling to learning about love, and move our focus from our mind to our soul.

While the wounded mind is programmed with hundreds of limiting beliefs that we absorbed as we were growing up, the soul does not buy into any of these beliefs. The soul, being a spark of the Divine, is connected to the universe. The soul’s knowledge comes directly from source – the source of truth, love, peace, and joy. When the soul is in charge, it uses the mind to access the experience of truth, love, peace, and joy. The soul decides to become “open-minded” rather than continue to operate from the programmed beliefs of the closed and controlling wounded mind. 

However, the wounded self does not give up easily. The wounded self has been in control for a long time, and it fears that if it lets go and becomes open to learning with spirit, bad things will happen. The mind believes that our safety lies in its being in control. It doesn’t trust that a source exists other than itself. While it might believe that there is a God, it has no capacity to have a direct connection with guidance, so it believes it is alone in the universe.

The spiritual journey is the journey of moving from the mind being in control of our thoughts and actions to our soul, connected with our source, being in control. This is what surrender is all about – letting go of mind dominion and moving into soul dominion.

Only through much practice of opening to learning with your guidance, and taking loving action based on guidance, does the mind gradually let go of its devotion to control. With time and practice – again, based on loving action guided by spirit – the mind gradually experiences that the only true inner peace and joy come from connection with our source.

Our soul is who we really are – the immortal part of ourselves that is within us and around us. This is the part of us that is an individualized expression of spirit. Because our soul has existed for eternity, it has vast knowledge and experience and can discern the difference between what is true and what is not true. Our heart and higher mind choosing the intent to learn about love, connects us with our soul within, and our soul that is all around us.

It is in our highest good to give our heart and soul dominion over our choices, yet this is very challenging to do. Our lower wounded mind has had dominion since we were very young. Even though our wounded self is filled with false beliefs, it believes that it knows what is best for us. Because it believes that it is the source of our survival and our truth, it does not want to give up control over our intent and our choices. It believes it has to maintain control to be safe.

For those of us who embrace a spiritual journey, it’s a huge challenge to consciously let go of the ego wounded mind’s control and open to being guided by our higher mind, heart, and soul. Yet this is the spiritual journey – moving from lower mind dominion to higher mind, heart, and soul dominion, from ego to higher self. This is a major goal in the practice of Inner Bonding.

The wounded self believes that it can know what is best for us, yet the lower mind has no true “knowing.” All it has is learned beliefs, and these beliefs often create much fear, anxiety, anger, hurt, depression, guilt, and shame.

“Knowing” comes only from higher mind and soul. Yet in order to access this knowing, we need to let go of the programmed thinking of the lower mind. The wounded self’s addiction to thinking and staying in the head blocks knowing. You might want to try the following Inner Bonding process to experience moving out of your limited mind and into your higher mind, heart, and soul:

  1. Take some deep breaths, using your breath to move you out of your mind focus and into your body. Follow your breath into your body, scanning your body for any physical sensations. Move toward all feelings and emotions, welcoming and embracing them.
  2. Breathe into your heart, consciously opening to learning about what is true and what is loving to you. Visualize you – your true self, your soul – as a beautiful light within you and all around you. FEEL who you are. Relax into the warmth of your soul.
  3. Ask your soul, “What is the truth about who I am?” or “What is the truth about this situation?” or “What is the loving action toward myself right now in this moment?”
  4. Stay in your heart, staying open to receiving the information. It can come as a feeling, as a picture, or in words. Let go of having to have the answers now. Stay open to receiving the answers whenever they come.
  5. Take the action you are being guided to take. It may be an inner action such as moving out of judgment and into compassion for yourself, or it may be an outer action such as showing warmth, compassion, and understanding to another person. It may be an action such as talking a walk, or going to sleep early, or getting to work, or taking time to play.
  6. Notice how you feel as a result of the loving action.

This is a process you can do throughout the day. You don’t need to be feeling upset to do this process. If you keep practicing this many times a day, you will find yourself moving more and more into higher self dominion. The more your higher self is in charge of your choices, the more you will progress on your spiritual journey and the more peace and joy you will feel!

Sometimes my clients get confused between the difference between religion and spirituality. They are actually very different.

I was having a first session with Marilyn. I asked her something that I ask every client:

“Do you have a personal connection with a spiritual source of guidance?”

“Well,” Marilyn answered, “I was brought up Catholic, but I don’t go to church much anymore.”

At least half the time I ask this question, I receive a similar answer.

“I’m not actually asking about religion,” I said kindly. “I’m asking about whether you have a personal connection with a spiritual source of love and wisdom.”

“I guess I don’t know what that means,” she answered.

People can be brought up religiously, yet never feel a personal connection with their spiritual guidance.

The problem is that many religions are based on a set of beliefs and rules that need to be followed in order to be a part of that religion. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not the same thing as having a direct connection with your own personal source of love and wisdom.

Being part of a religious group can serve an important purpose in terms of community, support, and a sense of belonging. If the religion is flexible, then it can support you in maintaining your spiritual connection. But if the beliefs of the religion state that you are not capable of having a direct connection with spirit, or that it is dangerous to open directly to spirit, then it is not supporting you in having your own personal experience of your higher power.

Religion is a community thing, while spirituality is a very personal thing. Each of us needs to find our own way to connect with our source.

Awhile back, I spent a working weekend with a wonderful couple – I will call them Tom and Janet. We were talking about religion and Tom said with a laugh, “I’m a ‘7th day absenteeist.’ I used to go to church, but when they took a stance against gays and kept harping that I, too, need to take a stance against gays, I left the church. I don’t believe in a God that has that kind of judgments.”

Tom is a very spiritual person. He is tuned into his own heart and feelings and follows his inner guidance rather than following rules and beliefs. He and Janet have found a new, church that allows them to have their own beliefs and spiritual experience. Tom and Janet enjoy this church community, which they find supports their spiritual connection.

Now, back to Marilyn.

“Marilyn,” I said, “would you like some help in connecting with your personal source of love and truth?”

“Yes, I’d love that,” she answered.

First Marilyn and I explored her belief system to make sure there weren’t any negative beliefs in the way of opening to her guidance. We explored what she had absorbed from her Catholic upbringing.

“I went to a girl’s Catholic school,” she said, “and the nuns were very strict. When I think of God, I think about their concept of a judgmental God. That’s why I rarely go to church anymore.”

I helped Marilyn connect with an older, wiser part of herself. She liked this image, which bypassed her concerns about a judgmental punishing God.

As Marilyn began to practice Inner Bonding, she was able to establish her own understanding and experience of spirit. As a result, she was able to find a progressive Catholic church and again become part of a religious community, which she greatly enjoys. Her new church supported her in developing her own personal spirituality.

When I was six years old, I had an out-of-body experience. I had just laid down on my bed when I suddenly felt myself rising up, feeling light as a feather. I rose to the ceiling and touched the ceiling, feeling the rough texture. I stayed there for a while, experiencing deep peace and joy, then I slowly descended back to my bed and into my body. I was stunned by the experience and wanted so much to share it with someone, but I knew that my atheist parents would not believe me. I didn’t want anything to take away from the magic of the experience, so I told no one until I was an adult and understood what had happened. As a young adult, I had a series of out-of-body experiences that solidified my understanding that I am not my body. As an adult, I was able to see my body from outside of it, giving me the deep knowing from experience that I am not my body and that my soul is who and what I am.

Since then, I’ve had numerous memories of my experiences in the spiritual realm. When I started conducting Inner Bonding intensives, they felt so natural to me, as if I had been doing them all my life. Then I remembered doing something similar with groups of souls in the spiritual realm. Years ago, I had a four-and-a-half-hour ‘Life Between Life’ hypnosis session, where I remembered much about my experience in the spiritual realm and received information that was new to me. In the session, I remembered picking out my body, knowing that there were many challenges waiting for me with my parents. I also remembered coming into this body six months after conception. I remembered feeling that this was a good fit for me, that there would not be much conflict between this body and me as a soul.

The body has its own separate instinctual nature. Some bodies are calm, others are not. Some brains are quick, others are slow. The body has its own inheritance – its shape, its weaknesses and disease tendencies. As I said, it also has the instinctual fight or flight response to protect the body from danger. It’s always been a powerful knowing for me to know that I am not my body.

The challenge of adulthood is to do the inner work necessary to give the soul dominion over the body/mind.

This is what spiritual practices are about. This is what Inner Bonding is about. As long as the body/mind has dominion, we will be operating out of fear and limiting beliefs. Our primary focus will be about attempting to have control over getting love and avoiding pain to feel safe. As we practice Inner Bonding, developing our spiritually connected loving adult, the soul gradually gains dominion over the body. The more we practice, the less fear we have, the safer we feel, the more we operate out of the truth and love of spirit, and the more power we have to manifest our dreams.

Have you ever had an incredible feeling of wellbeing suddenly sweep over you? Your heart feels full of love and joy, and everything feels right with the world. To me, this is a state of Grace – of oneness with God.

I always feel this to be such a great gift when it happens spontaneously to me. I also see it as a great gift when I consciously open my heart – which is what happens when I choose the intent to learn about loving myself, and take loving action on my own behalf. This is especially important right now when many people are struggling with being alone, lonely, and stressed with what’s happening on our planet. 

I have found some loving actions that always give me that expansive feeling of Oneness. This is my personal list:

  • Being fully present in my heart while being kind, tender, understanding, compassionate and caring with others.
  • Smiling into someone’s eyes and feeling their soul smiling back.
  • Sharing love in many different ways.
  • Laughing or crying with someone.
  • Loving on my animals
  • Honoring and learning from all of my feelings.
  • Doing creative things
  • Cooking and eating delicious and healthy, nurturing food.
  • Walking in nature and being very present with the beauty of trees, flowers, rocks, pieces of gnarled wood, clouds, mountains, birds, grass, and sky.
  • Reading a really good book.
  • Being connected with my spiritual guidance and receiving new thoughts and ideas.
  • Wandering through a day off, allowing myself to do whatever catches my attention.
  • Being – doing nothing.

I know that my soul – who I truly am – is a spark of the divine, just as a drop of the ocean is a part of the ocean. When I allow my soul – my inner child – to express who she really is, that’s when I feel the Oneness. It’s up to my loving adult to stay conscious of this choice, rather than slip into unconsciousness and allow my wounded self to take over.

My wounded self can never feel Oneness with God because it is my fabrication, not God’s creation.

When you finally experience that you are not your body, your fear of death disappears. You know that you – as a soul, as essence, as true self – cannot die. You know that you are not your body or your mind – that you are an immortal being, a spark of the Divine, temporarily inhabiting this body to evolve as a soul in your ability to love and to manifest your gifts. When you experience this truth and define your worth by soul rather than by body/mind, you will feel the deep sense of safety, peace and joy that comes from experiencing a deep sense of oneness with all of life and with spirit.

If you enjoyed this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you tell your friends about it, and if you give it a review wherever you heard it.

And I invite you join me for my bi-monthly masterclass and receive my live help, which you can learn about at

I invite you to learn to connect with your spiritual guidance with my 30-Day video home-study course, Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom.

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books and from our website at

If you want to do individual work with me or with one of our many trained Inner Bonding facilitators, please go to and look under Facilitators -> Find a Facilitator, or call my office, the number is on the website.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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