6 Ways To Find Yourself On A Spiritual Path
By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
This morning as I sauntered to my altar to do my meditation I felt it viscerally. I am not drawn to that space. I’m forcing myself there daily rather than being there out of a sense of devotion or joy. I’d like to say I go out of habit, but I don’t think that’s true. Habit would be easier. My daily time at my sacred space is feeling more obligatory than sanctuary.
I’ve been craving sacred lately, carving it out however and wherever I can. A lot of us are feeling that way right now. Instinctively the sacred feels like an antidote to the chaos that’s spinning out there.
So then why?
Why aren’t I feeling connected to the space that’s intended to be most centering and grounding for me?
Why does sitting there feel punishing instead of replenishing?
This morning I walked away from the altar unsatisfied in every way without even sitting down. But as I walked away I saw it with fresh eyes and the truth of that space was crystal clear.
My altar is a patchwork of a dozen courses I’ve taken and a reflection of a library’s worth of books I’ve read. It has trinkets and tokens of practices I wanted to love. It’s a shrine to the wisdom of others. It’s beautiful to look at, but when I see it with my heart, I see everything and everyone but myself.
There is no cure for what’s ailing me that’s out there. But Goddess knows I can search for it out there anyway. I have it in me to think someone else might have a secret I don’t know when it comes to my sacred journey. I have outsourced the direction my most sacred spaces inside and out to people who don’t know me.
My altar is a shrine to the genius of other people with wisdom in practices that are not mine. It’s a symbol of disconnection rather than connection. In a desire to go “deeper” or look for a quick magical fix it’s easy for me to lose myself.
I’m in the spiritually based personal development business. I think a lot of people could transform their lives by taking a deeper dive into learning about spirituality. Reading the books, buying the stuff, spending time in the sphere of a teacher can be life transforming. However, the key is to find yourself in the teachings vs. trying to recreate yourself to be a knock off of a master.
When it comes to the depths of my soul, no one can be my guru but me.
The same rules apply to you. You are your own best guru. No one else can feel the stir of your heart. You aren’t going to find your fire in the pages of a book. It’s your life work to examine the DNA of your soul, then figure out who to sooth it and grow it on your unique journey to your specific brand of enlightenment.
For me today, the most important work is dismantling a stale altar. But I know that’s just a start.
1. Look to your ancestors.
Spiritual roots live in your DNA. I believe that in a literal way. My ancestors live in me in ways I will never fully comprehend. Their spiritual longings are alive with me always.
Ancestral cultures lived their spiritual practices as a method of survival. Wherever your people were from, chances are very high they were a living embodiment of spiritual practice in a way most modern cultures are very disconnected from.
Explore your ancestry for clues to a sacred path that will inevitably feel familiar on some level. Maybe you will have to modernize it to practice it, but undoubtedly you’ll find something in your family history that will resonate.
2. Look to the traditions of the native cultures of the place you live.
We live where we live for a reason. It’s rarely as accidental or incidental as we might like to think it is. Land draws us back to echoes of lives lived before. Native cultures in all their diversity can tell you a story of who you were before you were you.
Co-opting and appropriation are real. Being a tourist in a spiritual tradition that isn’t yours by blood might be disrespectful if you can’t honor the what you don’t understand. However, you might find an essence of something that feels truly sacred to you in the native culture of the place you live that surprises you.
You are where you are for a reason. Be curious and explore.
3. Notice the traditions of places and cultures you are drawn to.
Everyone knows I love Hawaii. The pull I feel to the islands almost defies logic. When we’re getting on the plane to leave sometimes, I can hold back the tears. Sometimes not so much.
Yes, I love myself some palm trees and tranquil blue waters. However, if I’m deeply honest with myself, I have a profound love for the culture and traditions of the Pacific Islanders. The teachings of Huna philosophy make more sense to me than most.
A strong pull to a place that is not your home or your ancestral home might provide some clues to a spiritual path that has roots for you even if it doesn’t make sense at first glance.
4. Look at your home and spaces for signposts of the sacred.
If you walked into my home, you’d inevitably guess I am Buddhist. There are Buddhas big and small everywhere. While it’s not exactly true, my connections to Buddhist traditions run deep in my spiritual practices.
When I get passed the first pass at checking out my home, I see other layers of my soul everywhere. There are bottles of concoctions and hidden boxes of incense everywhere. I’m always dragging the natural world from outside into my home. The ocean is a constant presence in my most sacred spaces.
Your home will hold clues for you if you look at it with fresh eyes. We tend to surround ourselves with icons of our essential nature.
5. Take an inventory of the books you’ve actually read and put to use vs. the books you bought and didn’t touch or finish.
A lot of us have spirituality shiny object syndrome. We tend to jump from one shiny new thing to another because the proverbial spiritual grass is always greener. However, you’re going to stick with things that sing to your soul.
You will make time to master stuff that’s in your heart or your blood. So, pay attention to the kinds of spiritual practices that have lasted longer than it took the new car smell to wear off. It will give you some clarity.
Instinct is more powerful than any distraction when it comes to a spiritual practice.
6. Make it yours.
Most spiritual traditions are packed with rules, processes, and protocols. Most of those traditions were set in stone hundreds if not thousands of years ago. A lot of-of that stuff is not practical, at least for me, in its entirety today. That doesn’t mean I need to scrap it all – I can cherry pick the parts of things that have practical meaning for me today.
There are probably five traditional spiritual paths that have a lot of juice for me. Parts and pieces of those sewn together in meaningful ways have become what I would call the foundation of my law of attraction practice. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing on any one path.
Finding yourself may mean finding parts of yourself in lots of different places. That’s ok as long as you’re practicing what you find.
More by Lisa:
Lisa is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
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