Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rules of the Road for Your Spiritual Journey

Today is Wednesday, March 12, 2014. 

Here are some good, basic rules of the road for a spiritual journey.  

1)  Follow your own path.

Not only does this mean that we should follow the religion of our choice (if we choose to follow an organized religion at all), but it also means that each of us must learn from our own personal experiences and accept our own personal insights, without comparing ourselves to others.  It's fine to read about the spiritual experiences of a prophet such as Jesus (e.g. his experiences in the wilderness), but ultimately we should be having our own spiritual experiences that are meant just for us.  It's fine to read a holy book and use it as a guide in our lives.  But it's better to learn from experience, and to get our information directly from the Source, instead of from a book.

Everyone can learn to contemplate or meditate, and each of us is capable of having inner experiences at these times of deep relaxation.  Everyone can learn to remember dreams, as well, and dreams are a great source of spiritual insights.  The trick is not to feel that our experiences are somehow not good enough, or that maybe we're interpreting them wrong.  The point is to make an honest attempt to interpret what we learn through inner channels and bring our insights to bear on our daily lives.  That's where the rubber meets the road.  

If we are really interpreting the messages wrong, we'll find out, eventually.  Learning to interpret messages from Divine Spirit is like any other skill.  It takes practice, but if you make a mistake, you just have to pick yourself up and try again. 

2)  Let your heart lead.  

The accepted wisdom is to go with the logical choice, but that only works sometimes, as all good Star Trek fans have learned.  At some point, the heart wins out.  That's because it's harder to talk yourself out of a feeling than it is to talk yourself out of an idea.  When you get a feeling about something, you don't have to talk about it or think about it.  You know.  You either get a big positive feeling, or you get an uneasy feeling.  

The trick, here, is to hone your ability to recognize these feelings and learn to act on them.  How did you feel when you made your last big decision?  Did you feel happy, joyful, light?  Did you feel excited, expansive, energized?  What physical sensations were associated with this positive feeling?   Can you remember feeling this way before?  When you obeyed the positive feeling and went ahead with your decision, how did it turn out?   Chances are, everything went just fine, and you may not have been able to articulate why it turned out so well until much later.  

The same goes for the negative feeling.  When you start feeling uneasy, creeped out, or a little off, that generally signals that something is not quite right.  Can you remember feeling this way before?  What were the physical sensations associated with this negative feelng?  If you obeyed your feeling and decided not to do whatever-it-was, were you glad you made that choice?  If you didn't obey the uneasy feeling and went ahead, how did that work out?  Chances are, you had some problems.  Sure, you probably learned something, but you might have been able to learn that in some other way. 

Sure, it's OK to ask for confirmation once in a while, but once you begin to trust your feelings and intuition, you will find that they are right pretty consistently.  When you weigh in with your feelings, it's harder for your mind to talk yourself out of doing something you should be doing, or to talk yourself into doing something you shouldn't do. 

3)  Try not to step in anything.

On a physical trail, there are any number of things you can step in, such as an animal burrow, a nest of ants, animal scat, or a mud puddle.  You can trip over roots, branches, or rocks sticking up out of the ground.  You can wander into a wild animal's territory with unfortunate results.  These types of things happen on spiritual journeys, too.  There are all kinds of negative people and experiences out there.  Some of them we can avoid, and others we can't.  When we can't avoid them, we do the best we can.  

Like a good hiker, we can take precautions.  We can ask a hiking guide for information.  We can wear protective clothing.  We can go with a buddy.  We can use a map or a compass.  We can check the local terrain and the weather ahead of time.  For our spiritual journey, we can find a spiritual guide who can give us assistance.  We can protect ourselves from negativity with prayer and spiritually charged words.  We can benefit from the experiences of others.  We can follow a particular spiritual path that will help us establish our own personal spiritual or moral compass.  We can ask for help from Divine Spirit when we get into difficulties.

* It's more fun with friends.  

In fact, it's impossible without others, because our relationships with others – family, partners, spouses, colleagues, and friends – give us opportunities to grow spiritually.  That's why we are here in the physical world, to interact with others. :-)

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