Joseph Campbell said, “Religion is a defense to a true religious experience.” The spiritual journey is different than following a fixed dogma or doing ritual worship once or twice a week. Very often people use church attendance or participation in organized religions and spiritual retreats as ways to socialize, meet new mates and find entertainment. A “true religious experience” reaches deep into the spiritual heart. It calls us to commit to our Self and walk a path of self-awareness, contemplation, and practice basic human values like love, truth and non-violence.
When you make a commitment to life as a spiritual journey, some things will begin to happen.
- It will give you a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.
- You may gain some answers to your questions about the cosmos.
- It could make you a gentler and kinder human being.
- It will give you a sense of responsibility and an extended sense of family. You’ll feel an interconnectedness to the world (but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go around hugging and kissing strangers).
- It will help you to weather life’s storms.
- It will help you to resolve conflicts and live more peacefully.
- It will help you to live a simpler, happier life.
Some people have unreasonable expectations about the spiritual journey. Here’s what not to expect:
- To have spiritual powers like mind reading, seeing auras or levitating, though these might occur.
- To have a guarantee that you will no longer suffer pain, failure, or set backs.
- Don’t expect physical immortality. Every body dies. Spiritual practice anchors you in awareness that transcends your identity with the body.
- To be wealthy. This is not the purpose of spiritual practice. But to be wealthy in character, peace, love — these things you can count on if you walk your spiritual path.
- To get everything you want. Walking a spiritual path is not something one does in order to acquire more things or to get a mate. It’s not visualizing what you want (like a big house or a certain car) instead it’s eliminating ego-based desires and this means reducing desires for more things. On the path, the realization often comes that those desired things were not necessary after all.
Enjoy your journey and don’t let anything hold you back, not even your little self. When the higher Self rules it’s possible to walk more consciously in love and light.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss”. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DebraMoffittAwakeintheWorld