Spirituality for those who know there is something bigger than ourselves, but are tried of institutions, labels, price tags, and fluffiness.
Everyone wants to be spiritual, right? But if you’re like many people, figuring out what spirituality means in an increasingly pluralistic world can lead to confusion and hopelessness. There is a growing demographic of people like us who feel trapped between religious institutions and the feel-good movements that appear to be gaining steam.
You can try to pretend that the suffering and pain and bad memories don’t exist, but it’s only so long before it all comes crashing down on your head and you admit you were lying to yourself. You fall. You relapse. The cycle swallows you. Again.
In his new book “Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality”, Chris Grosso says this:
“Many of us looked to religion or spirituality for answers, but soon found that neither the dogma of old religion nor the ‘love and light’ fluffiness of New Age spirituality were approaches that resonated with us. Still, we were left with an internal yearning – of one virtually deafening silence – that compelled us to answer its call, but how? … What are we left to do when we’re looking for something more, something we can embrace exactly as we are?”
Chris Grosso has been to hell and back having dealt with addiction and alcoholism for much of his life. After emergency room trips, blown record deals, and broken relationships with his family, he had to find a different way to live. Enter indie spirituality.
But first, what is an “indie spiritualist”? According to Chris Grosso:
“An indie spiritualist is more than someone who thinks independently or craves a spiritual path outside the traditional confines of religion. An indie spiritualist is someone who honors the spiritual truth within themselves, regardless of what popular society, religious institutions, friends, family, or anyone else for that matter, prefer they think.”
Chris writes stories from his life and talks about the shift in his journey from someone being trapped by self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness to starting to find peace and healing through spirituality. The book is a combination of personal stories from Chris’s own life, spiritual musings and explorations, and conversations and he includes powerful selections from interviews with spiritual and musical giants from his blog.
When you read this book, Chris Grosso is not going to tell you just “om” your way out of your pain and also isn’t going to try to peddle some weird machismo spirituality where you have to workout a lot and only eat Brazil nuts and spinach to be happy.
This is not a book that will tell you how to magically become an enlightened being who has arrived. And contrastingly, it is also not a book that raises ridiculous armchair philosophical questions and then leaves you groping without any direction on what to do next.
As someone who has struggled with it for a good part of his life, Chris is very upfront about the fact that healing from the throes of addiction and depression is a day-by-day process. He tells stories all through the book of his life before he decided he needed to do some serious work or he was going to end up where many people who are caught in the clutches of drugs and alcoholism end up: in a body bag. He shares these stories not to depress you, but to show you that with time and dedication, it actually does get better.
[N]o matter how dark things got for me, I still found my way back, which means I know with my entire essence of being that, no matter what you’ve been through, or how lost you may find yourself right now, you can absolutely find your way back too.
He’ll be the first to tell you this stuff is not a cure-all, but the practices and stories he has all through his book will give you ways to feel more interconnected with the rest of the human community and make life a little less miserable for everyone:
There are ways to begin cultivating a more serene and mindful way of living, regardless of whether you believe in God. We all have this potential, and the potential to love ourselves and others in a deeper way, making our planet a more accepting and nurturing place to be.
This is one of the most well-rounded books on spirituality I have ever read. “Indie Spiritualist” is full of rich stories and spiritual musings that are written without pretense or self-righteousness. Chris only has one goal with this book: to tell you that you are loved and you can find peace and interconnectedness.
In the back half of the book, Chris offers easy spiritual practices – everything from various types of meditation, to things as simple as concert-going and visiting museums – which you can start today to start on your journey toward meaning and a healthy soul. He offers instructions on how to get starting with meditation, books to read, and music to kick start your experience. In the first half of the book, Chris has QR codes that link to a song at the end of each chapter for a multi-sensory approach to the text.
What I love about Chris’s book is that it makes way for individual paths. If you listen to kirtan music and do yoga, great! But if you have never done a lick of sun salutations and you’re more of the piercing, tattoo and Black Sabbath type who experiences your most transcendent moments at concerts, that’s just as great.
“Indie Spiritualist” is also an easy read. Chris writes like a friend sitting in your living room talking to you. The chapters are around 2-6 pages a piece, which makes for down-to-earth, digestible spiritual contemplations for your life. Whether you want to read through the book at one time to get the full picture, or you want to take each chapter a day at a time, this book is thought-provoking, encouraging, and empowering. Though, just because it’s an easy read doesn’t mean it’s easy material, but that’s okay; it will challenge you, but Chris gives you tools all throughout the book to keep you going on your path of spiritual exploration.
Chris Grosso urges you to find the things that make you feel whole and to honor that. Whether it be through an Isis concert, hot yoga, or saying Hail Marys with a rosary, following those things hold the secret to finding meaning in your life and to connecting to that deeper “beyond” (whatever you may think that is).
It’s up to us, however, to decide: Are we going to continue on autopilot, allowing our incessant negative thoughts and emotions to dictate our mental and emotional well-being? Or are we going to own our shit and take the power back? We’ve already wasted enough time feeding into thoughts of lack, doubt, insecurity, and unworthiness, so I implore you to ask yourself, when is enough going to be enough?
Connect to Chris Grosso:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.