Is it time to start your spiritual practice? Do you know how to start your spiritual journey? Here are the four steps you should take to begin your quest.
Religion makes choosing a spiritual path more difficult. So the spiritual explorer must learn to be vigilant and avoid potholes and detours. The internet gives you 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?
How to Start Your Spiritual Journey
You are here because you want to seek the best path. Consider yourself lucky if you have the choice to decide. Many people don’t have a choice about their religion. They are indoctrinated into their family’s religious beliefs. Some people live in oppressive cultures and must align with the culture’s beliefs or suffer horrible consequences.
“This is the pathless path — returning to where you were initially before you got lost. The deepest truth in you is where the journey leads — shedding, like taking off layers of an onion, until you come to your essence. The key to the spiritual journey is not acquiring something outside of yourself. Rather, it is shedding the veils to come back to the deepest truth of your being.” — Ram Dass
Spiritual Explorer Guidebook
Here are the four critical steps when beginning your spiritual quest.
1) Choose One of Two Basic Spiritual Paths
2) Connect with Intuition using a Journal and Meditating
3) Assess Resources
4) 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 many variations of spirituality, but only two primary roads exist. The first option is to join an organized religion. The second is developing a spiritual path that you design. More and more people are choosing the second option and forging their path. This latter option is what we recommend.
Many think religion is their first choice because of family or cultural tradition. There are two paths for the spiritual explorer, with or without religion. Knowing how to start your spiritual journey is the most critical decision. If you have the freedom to make this choice, that is great. Consider this a blessing.
Children often have no choice about their spiritual path; they inherit their religious beliefs from their families. Religion also preys upon those in need because people in crisis are vulnerable. Religion wants to make you a paying customer and make all kinds of promises. They sell the afterlife and prosperity. Suppose you complete your study of religion and still want to take the road of religion. We also have some articles to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
The first step is sometimes the hardest one. If you are interested in religion, please do your research first. Don’t buy what any religion sells; get a second unbiased look at the facts outside their control. We have a process for this investigation, a structured method of comparative religious study we refer to as comparative analysis. It will uncover the facts hidden within the superstition and mythology of religion.
If you make the wrong choice, that’s okay. It’s a learning experience, regardless of your spiritual process. You can learn how to start your spiritual journey even if you live in a religion-dominated culture.
2) Connect with Intuition, Use a Journal, and Meditate
Regardless of which road you choose, learn to listen to your intuition. It is an important asset, especially as you begin your spiritual quest. 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.
“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some call it a book of shadows because it contains all your hidden thoughts. Your handwriting reveals your modes and emotions. You will probably fill several of these and use them as a troubleshooting tool.
“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.” — Albert Einstein (2)
Your spiritual development will differ in speed and trajectory. Sometimes you will leap ahead; other times, you will plateau. We often overlook the patterns and trends unless we record our thoughts. That’s why your journal is your best coach. Your journal will help you spot any roadblocks and highlight your incremental growth. A journal is a place where you can see subtle changes. It helps you spot the roadblocks.
If you are ready to dive deeper into the psyche, you can use your spiritual journal or notebook with automatic writing and exploring memory techniques.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” – Gautama Buddha
You don’t have to go away for a year-long meditation retreat. Can you spare 2 minutes? Yes, you can. Start with a simple two-step method script, which is the building block for all more advanced methods.
3) Assess 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. Then check out their reputation and validity.
“People should not rush to change religions. There is real value in finding the spiritual resources you need in your own religion. Even secular humanism has great spiritual resources; it is almost like a religion to me.” — Dalai Lama
Use unbiased resources that have first-hand knowledge about the teacher or organization. Don’t get sidetracked by the most trendy thing. You want concrete tools and techniques that you can use to forge a spiritual path. Build a spiritual explorer guidebook of your own.
Our recommendation is a multidisciplinary approach to spiritual exploration. Ideally, one that includes as many spiritual processes; it’s the goal of our mission and vision. There’s a short list of these tools below.
Advances in distance learning make this a viable option for many. For example, 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 quickly. Continue to work with 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 experiences” 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 need.
Develop your 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 way will yield less and less the more obsessive-compulsive you become.
4) Start: Do it!
Do you want to know how to start your spiritual journey? Start small, but start. If you quit, then start again. You may make a mistake. If you make a mistake, learn from it, and try not to make the same mistake again. It’s all part of the journey. Use this spiritual explorer guidebook as a challenge. Use it to inspire and motivate you to the next level.
Every day allows us to begin again. Don’t let decision paralysis keep you from starting your spiritual quest. If you are here, then you are ready to start. You can use our website to learn about these tools for exploring consciousness.
Spiritual Explorer Guidebook Tools
Every explorer needs the right tools to get the job done. The realm of spirituality needs tools to investigate the arena of consciousness. It’s not a matter of faith or belief. You need methods that open the doors of your awareness and consciousness. We divide these tools into four categories.
Since these are processes, they don’t require you to join a religion. And you can learn many of these techniques from the articles on this website.
Chances are, if you are here, you are an explorer looking for help or resources. We are here to help you with your spiritual quest. We are here to assist if you want to learn how to start your spiritual journey or are a seasoned explorer. We can help you design your spiritual explorer guidebook.
Check out the blended learning process if you are interested in jump-starting your spiritual journey. It is a learning process that yields the most effective learning and mirrors the pattern Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1). And, if you like our mission, please consider donating to help spread the knowledge.
(1) Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
(2) Albert Einstein, On Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms.