Is it time to start your spiritual practice? Where do you start? Here are the four steps you should take.
Religion makes choosing a spiritual path more difficult. So the spiritual explorer must learn to be vigilant and avoid the common detours. The internet gives you access to many resources to make a more informed decision. You can learn everything from Animism to Yoga. The question is, which path is best for you?
You are here because you have an inner desire to seek the best path. Consider yourself lucky if you have the choice to decide. Many people don’t have this choice because they are indoctrinated into their family’s religious beliefs. Some people live in oppressive cultures where they must align with the state religion or suffer horrible consequences.
You are here because you are drawn to the inner quest. You want to seek spiritual answers. This inner quest is what Joseph Campbell refers to as the Hero’s Journey (1).
How to Start Your Spiritual Journey
Here are the four critical steps when beginning your spiritual quest.
- Choose Your Path
- Connect with Your Intuition
- Assess Your Resources
- Start: Do it!
1) Choose One of Two Basic Spiritual Paths
What should you do first?
“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” ― Garth Nix, Sabriel
It’s easy to get confused in the arena of spirituality. There are several choices, but there are only two options or primary roads. The first option is to join an organized religion. The second is developing your own spiritual path. More and more people are choosing to forge their own path. This latter option is what we recommend.
Many people think religion is their first choice because of family or cultural tradition. When you start your spiritual journey, this is the most important decision. If you have the freedom to make this choice, that is great. Some people do not get to choose.
Children often have no choice about their spiritual path. They are indoctrinated into the religion of their family. Religion also preys upon those in need. Religion wants to make you a paying customer and make all kinds of promises. They sell the afterlife and prosperity. If you complete your study of religion and still want to take this road, we also have an article to help you sort out the good from the bad.
The first step is sometimes the hardest one. If you are drawn to religion, we caution you to do your own in-depth research. We have a process for this investigation we call comparative analysis. This is a scientific approach to comparative religious studies. This will uncover the facts hidden within the superstition and mythology of religion.
If you make the wrong choice, that’s okay. It’s all a learning experience, regardless of what spiritual process you use.
2) Connect with Your Intuition
Regardless of which road you choose, learn to listen to your intuition. It is an important asset, especially as you start your spiritual journey. The easiest way to connect is by writing. The first tool we recommend you get is an inexpensive composition notebook. It’s your spiritual journal.
Some call it a book of shadows because it contains all of your inner hidden thoughts. Your handwriting reveals your modes and emotions. You will probably fill several of these and use them as a troubleshooting tool.
“I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” ― Albert Einstein (2)
These notebooks are invaluable tools for your spiritual practice. They document your progress in black and white. Your spiritual development differs in speed and trajectory. It will leap ahead with a Eureka event. Then slow down. We often overlook the gradual increase or trends. A journal is a place where you can see the subtle changes. It helps you spot the roadblocks.
If you are ready to take a deeper dive into the psyche, you can use your notebook with automatic writing techniques.
3) Assess Your Resources
Assess your resources—Research the spiritual teachers and sources close to you. Find out which provides quality instruction in the above list of processes. Don’t get sidetracked by the most popular or trendy thing. You want solid tools and processes that you can use to forge your own path.
Find out what resources and teachers are near. Then check out their reputation and validity. Use unbiased resources that have first-hand knowledge about the teacher or organization.
Our recommendation is a multidisciplinary approach to spiritual exploration. Ideally, one that includes as many types of spiritual processes. This is exactly what our mission and vision are all about. There’s a list of these tools for the spiritual explorer below.
Advances in distance learning make this a viable option for many. We provide both virtual learning and face-to-face instruction. One on one instruction is still the most effective for advanced levels. That’s because these intricate spiritual technologies require personal feedback. Others may disagree with this assessment, but that is our experience.
Everyone has unique talents and gifts. Awakening is a process that differs. We will find some spiritual techniques that are easier than others. However, you should not just practice those that come easily. Continue to work with the technologies that don’t come naturally. Over time, most people see at least some subtle changes in areas of experience that are their wheelhouse.
It is not uncommon for students to discover they have hidden gifts. For example, you may not feel drawn to the healing arts. But after awakening this talent, you realize you like it and are good at it. These types of “eureka experience” are common. It’s these experiences that prompt you to move beyond your comfort zone. If you only study what you are comfortable with, you will not discover all of your gifts. Therefore, we recommend a multidisciplinary approach because you don’t know what tool or talent you will need.
Develop your own schedule for spiritual practice, but don’t make it a routine where you practice without mindfulness. Mindless ritual is just that, and it serves no purpose, and your practice will yield less and less the more obsessive-compulsive you become.
4) Start: Do it!
Start small, but start. If you quit, then start again. Every day allows us to start again. Don’t let decision paralysis keep you from starting your spiritual quest. If you are here, then you are ready to begin. You can use our website to learn many of these tools for exploring consciousness.
Tools For The Spiritual Explorer
Spiritual technologies are what we call methods for exploring human consciousness. These methods come to us from cultures all around the globe, and they comprise a diverse body of practical mental tools. You can use these tools to develop your potential, open spiritual gifts, expand awareness, and reach higher states of consciousness.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning method. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science.
The techniques we use are repeatable processes, and several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include increased brainwave coherence, lower heart rate, and increased skin resistance. These changes prove these techniques produce states of consciousness, which differ significantly from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
Anyone can use these processes to develop their full potential. They do not require faith or belief in any religious doctrine. All you need to do is follow the process. It’s like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone has their unique way, and you can start with any of these methods. The more of them you use, the faster your progress.
Chances are, if you are here, you are a spiritual explorer looking for help or resources. We are here to assist you on your spiritual journey. If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. To find out more about our organization, see our page FAQ.
Thanks for reading this article. We welcome your opinion, so don’t hesitate to comment or email us. We hope it provides some food for thought. You can find more mind-opening topics on our blog.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
(2) Albert Einstein, On Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms