Updated: May 21, 2020
The definition you give to a spiritual journey will be deeply personal and ever changing. The good news is you get to define it as you go.
The meaning of a spiritual journey can only be defined by how you experience it. There are probably thousands of different versions and teachings available with a quick google search.
One of the most common questions that I get from clients and friends is "what is the difference between religion and spirituality. Once again, you can google this one and get many different points of view.
In my opinion, spiritually is a journey of self discovery, whereas religion is meant to teach you a specific doctrine. Neither is good or bad, it really only matters that you choose what is right for you.
The best way I can describe the meaning of a spiritual journey is to give you a snapshot of my journey so far.
I didn't make the decision to embark on a spiritual journey, I didn't choose it. I believe it was chosen for me. It feels almost wrong to give you a date of when I started my spiritual journey, it feels more correct to say I have always been on a spiritual journey.
I became aware of the journey about 8 years ago. It started with my desperate need to cure severe anxiety that had completely debilitated my life. At the time I had quit my corporate career, I was barely present for my little kids, and I was in crisis.
I don't know why I found myself looking for answers at the book store. I was not a big fan of books, unless glossy magazines count!
Looking back now, I believe I was guided to that book store.
I sat on the floor of the book store reading a little book that magically started to calm my heart rate. After months of experiencing a constant elevated heart rate, a peaceful breeze passed thru me. It didn't last long, but I never forgot it.
For the first time I became aware of the mind body connection. I knew something special had happened, even though I could not explain it.
After this experience I spent the next 5 years searching for answers. You can say I became obsessed (and you would be right). I was a left brain dominant personality, I had a deep need to control my world, and I was looking for black and white clarity. I was driven with the motive to obtain a state of physical and mental peace.
During the years of intense learning I read 50+ books, I attended numerous seminars, and I consumed hundreds of hours of spiritual teachings on YouTube.
I learned a lot about myself during this time of intense learning. I also experienced a great deal of emotional pain and life changing events. Just about everything in my life changed in those 5 years. It was intense, painful, heart breaking, glorious, freeing, magical...all at the same time.
As my life changed before my eyes, I felt more and more like I was being guided. There was nothing happening because I created it, everything was happening in what seemed to be out of my control. It was in the lack of control that I started to nurture my faith in a higher universal power. I started to believe that the universe has my back.
There came a point, about 3 years ago that I became overwhelmed by the data I was consuming. The last 3 years of my journey have been a lot more about experiencing life, rather than learning from teachers and books. I stopped attending seminars, I have read very few books and I listen to only voices that bring me into a state of peace.
Now I am at a place of allowing and accepting more than I have ever in my entire life. I am often lost and confused. The moments of clarity and awareness are more intense and feel more powerful. The moments of despair pass by faster and seem to have less emotional impact. I know that as I write this, tomorrow the journey can take a completely different path.
I let you in on my spiritual journey to give you a glimpse on what I experienced that lead to my greatest lessons. At the end of the day, the details of my journey are only relevant to me...but the lessons I received I believe can help others understand their journey better.
My 3 Greatest Lessons (so far) on My Spiritual Journey
1. All I know for sure is that I know nothing
I started my journey with an obsessive need to discover the science of the universe. I wanted proof that the spiritual world existed. I wanted to be able to tell people about my beliefs and back them up with proof so that they would not judge me, make fun of me, and reject me.
In the midst of trying to figure out the universe, I accidentally discovered my truth. I became aware of my individuality. I gained the courage to stand alone in my truth and release the need to have others buy into it or believe it.
I now differentiate understanding from experience. Trying to understand a concept happens on the level of the mind. An experience involves all of me, my soul, my highest self...all that I am. I am constantly releasing the need to have others understand my experiences. This is probably a work in progress that will continue in various ways thru out my life.
I am more at peace not needing to know anything. If someone asked me "what do you know for sure?" I would say with integrity "I know nothing for sure". Even the beliefs that I hold dear to my heart I am willing to allow them to dissolve and have new awareness show up...I am at peace with the constant evolution.
2. The only constant I can count on is change
I used to fear and resist change. In fairness, my life changed in so many drastic ways in just a few short years. I was traumatized by the changes, and I tried desperately to control my world and avoid change. This was during a time where I still believed that I could manipulate the universe by sheer force.
Accepting change as a constant evolution only came when I became aware and started to believe in Devine will. I can't say I am completely integrated with this belief. I do know that I will not figure this out, or get proof of it by studying it. I will only line up to this belief or not based on my continued experiences.
Accepting that change is constant brings me to a state of peace. Anything that brings me more peace, I will continue to nurture.
3. Everything is happening for my highest good
Learning to trust has been the biggest lesson of my journey. It is a central theme in my current evolution. I trust that everything is happening for my highest good more and more everyday. The more that I trust, the more I give up the energy of control and force. That doesn't meant that I don't doubt, I do.
I still question, "what if I am wrong", "what if there is no universal power", "what if my lack of control is going to cause me harm"...I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
I make my peace with these doubts by accepting that this is where I am in my current experience and reality. I also like to joke that I will never know if I am wrong. If there is nothing beyond this earthy experience, then when I am dead I will never know I was wrong. In the meantime I get to live on this earth feeling safe, protected and unconditionally loved by a power beyond comprehension. I'm at peace with this choice.
What is your biggest lesson in your spiritual journey? Share your insights in the comment section below.
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Wishing you love, joy and peace,