Mapping Out Your Spiritual Journey
Seekers often inherently believe that they are on a spiritual journey - but when you ask them what that journey involves their answer is vague. Often it is along the lines of 'I want to be happy' or 'to find inner peace'.
If you were setting out on a physical journey, you would have a definite start and end point. If you did not, you would simply get lost along the way, driving round and round in circles forever. Never really knowing if you had arrived at your destination, or even if you were on the right road.
The spiritual journey is no different. In order to find your way, you need to develop clarity about where you are starting from, and where you want to get to.
To determine the route of your own spiritual journey, there are a few points you need to get clear in your mind...
1- Determine your starting point
The first step is to take stock of where you are right now.
Pinpoint exactly what it is that you mean when you refer to your spiritual journey. What do you want to know, or to change, or to experience?
Here are some of the most common things which spiritual seekers are looking for:
- To stop suffering, pain or unhappiness
- To understand your place in the universe
- To experience states of spiritual awakening or unified consciousness
- To belong to a supportive and loving community
- To learn more about a specific religious or spiritual tradition
- To ease the sense of loss following bereavement
- To know whether particular spiritual beliefs are true
- To understand the nature of who you are
- To feel more connected with life
2 - Be clear about where you want to go
The journey that you will need to take will be determined by which goal you are seeking.
You may also have multiple goals simultaneously. In this case, it can be helpful to realise that they are in fact different outcomes. It is very common for people to feel lost or confused because they have found the solution to one goal, but it does not rectify something else.
For example you may have found the sense of community you are looking for within a religious congregation, but still feel a sense of unease because you can't find satisfactory answers to your remaining spiritual questions.
3 - Identify the steps you need to take to get there
Your spiritual path may actually require a series of different tools to get all the answers that you want. So, you may need to go to one person to get the support you need for understanding the fundamental nature of your mind. You might need to go to other sources to explore the historical scriptures and teaching of specific traditions. And you will need to consistently practice self-reflection in order to develop insights into the nature of your own experience.
When you define your own path, you will need to be aware of these differences between your personal goals. If necessary, explore one area first until you find resolution, then move onto the next, and so on. Remain consciously aware of doing this in a set and methodical way, rather than aimlessly wandering from one practice to another - this will only result in more confusion.
4 - Consistently re-assess your journey
The spiritual path is an ongoing journey of developing self-awareness and wisdom. As you progress on this path, you will evolve and change according to your new experiences and understanding of life.
As we develop deeper levels of insight into the nature of life, we need to constantly refine our new spiritual path. To let go of old thoughts and beliefs, and move into a new way of being. This ongoing process is one of constant renewal and change- at the deepest levels of who we are.
As we make deliberate progress on this path, it becomes easier. We are more able to easily let go of the things which no longer serve us, and to change our focus from ourselves to helping others in the world. Eventually, this journey becomes ever more clear, and we realise that we are being supported by life itself. This is a precious and sacred journey, no matter where you are starting from, and where you want to go. Immerse yourself in it and you will find what you are looking for...