Many of us who are on a serious spiritual path are students of life. We love to learn and search for that perfect enlightened wisdom that will put us on the path of being even more spiritual. But that’s where we are misled. We somehow feel that if we read more, take more classes, meditate for longer periods, etc., that these will put us on a faster course to enlightenment. In reality, we are already on our spiritual path. Whatever it is we are experiencing in the here and now is the spiritual path we are meant to be on. It is in this very present moment.
We sometimes tend to make the mistake that many if not most of our answers are ‘out there’ and that we need to learn through someone or something else. Because we are taught from birth that we have to get our knowledge and wisdom from others, we don’t know that we can go within and listen to that still small voice that speaks with only unconditional love. Jesus stated repeatedly that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us.
Jim Palmer in his book “Notes from (Over) the Edge” stated, “The truth is that there is no act more sacred than being present in the moment and simply responding to the situation as it requires. If this is all you did all day, this would be a profound spiritual life. Your life is your spiritual path. Your life, the way it is right now with everything that is in it, is your reason and purpose for being here. There is nothing to insert into your life to make it more spiritual. God is inseparable from every moment of life and living.”
We know that living a spiritual life means living with love, peace, compassion, kindness, and caring for our fellow beings. We don’t have to pursue these things; we can be these things! If we want to be a testimony to our faith and what we believe, we can be the love, peace, compassion, and so on. There is no greater demonstration than by living by example! Because we are secure in what we believe, we also know that we don’t have to force our beliefs on anyone else.
The other issue we run into is that we are constantly judging everything in our lives as good or bad. We have this idea of how we think things should be so we miss the very message the situation or experience is bringing us. What is good for one person may be bad for another and vice versa. Therefore, it is only our perception or the way we see things that colors our experiences as good or bad. Life just is. The secret is in finding the good in everyone and everything. I’m not saying it’s easy. I know when I look for the good in everything, I can usually find it no matter how big or small.
The other thing is that there are other people who will try to tell you that they have all the answers and that you have to accept their answers for yourself or believe the way they do. When we are constantly relying on others to tell us what to believe based on what they believe, we miss out on so much more that the Universe would have for us to learn. That’s not to say that what others tell you or what they believe is wrong. There is so much we can learn from others. A good teacher will allow you to find your own beliefs and not condemn you because you may come to a different conclusion.
We can still walk a personal spiritual path and continue to belong to various religions or churches. Your personal spiritual journey does not mean you have to give these up or abandon any beliefs you may already have. It’s more of an awakening of consciousness and discovering your inner divine magnificence that has nothing to do with anyone else. The Bible says that we were ALL made in the image of God (or the God of your understanding), which means we ALL have that divine essence that is in everyone and everything.
We can all go directly to the Source of the All-That-Is without relying on others to do it for us. It’s also okay to ask questions and search for our own answers. As Ram Dass said, “The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper May 29, 2015.