When No Path Is the Right Path
Are labels not for you? Do you get a feeling of being a square peg in a round hole every time you explore a religion or try a new spiritual path? Have you found a path you kind of like but there are big pieces of the puzzle missing in order for you to move forward on this path?
What if you were not meant to follow along on an already existing path? Maybe you are meant to forge your own path? Maybe it doesn’t matter if anyone else follows on this path? And maybe, just maybe, it will eventually bring all the right people into your life eventually…
I’m sharing my thoughts on this because lately it has become apparent that so many of us seek a spiritual path out of a need to feel validated. In a way, that is like approaching a love relationship for the same reason… and that never ends well. Once we become capable of separating out our need for validation, we become better able of looking at our spiritual path from a more objective point of view.
What is it that makes a spiritual path truly useful?
- It helps us feel connected (vertically and horizontally).
- It provides us with meaning and grace.
- It promotes wisdom and growth.
- It gives us a code of ethics to live by.
- It makes us accountable.
- It provides comfort in times of chaos and grief.
- It equips us for service.
Each of the points above deserve their own tome but for today, I want to look at the three main steps we need to take in order to successfully forge our own spiritual path. Being aware of the points above is helpful for knowing what to include and how to get the balance right when we start putting one foot in front of the other on our own spiritual path.
3 Steps to Creating Your Own Spiritual Path
Dig Where You Stand
You were born into the cultural context you are in for a reason. For instance, you may have been born into Catholic family but growing up, you quickly learned to hate what you felt was the hypocrisy of the church. Does this mean you need to discard everything you learned during your childhood years? ‘Not necessarily,’ says The Hierophant. Doing so would be like cutting off one of your roots.
Look at what you DO love from your own culture and upbringing. Make a list of the things that you ‘inherited’ that work and that make you smile. Dig deeper than let’s say the smell of incense during mass. What of the messages you heard? Did any of the teachings touch your heart? Write it all down!
Trust Your Heart
What took you away from your faith (or lack of faith) in your upbringing? When you realised that your need for divine encounters, growth and guidance wasn’t met by the system you were in as a child, where did you first turn? What called you? What excited you and what continues to set your heart alight?
Perhaps these new practises made you throw out the baby of the bath water. Maybe you felt like you should discard what you learned in your youth in favour of these new teachings… Perhaps you felt it should be either or because you were told that the paths or practices were mutually exclusive.
Many have gone down this path of discarding the old, only to find themselves flip-flopping between one and the other. The flip-flopping itself is actually a sign of old exclusive (narcissistic?) paradigms dying and us having to grow up and be in charge of our own souls instead of handing our souls over to a spiritual teacher or guru.
Trusting the voice of our heart is the gift that The High Priestess bestows upon us. She sits between two contrasting pillars quite happily and does not need things to be one way or the other. She just needs for the things you bring into your life to resonate with your own soul’s calling.
Write down the new tools, techniques and practices that you have tried that worked in terms of helping you grow and learn new things about yourself and life/Spirit.
Your path must be holistic and it has to balance the heart and the mind. The Lovers, Justice and Judgement in the Tarot all teach us this. Creating balance is perhaps the trickiest part of forging our own path. It demands great objectivity and it takes a lot of work. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why so many of us are so keen to hand our soul’s wellbeing over to others.
Make a mind-body-spirit pie chart and fill each segment with practices and tools that you will want to take with you on your path. Look at the pie chart and see if a name calls out to you. This could be the name of your very own Spiritual Path… IF it needs a name. It may not… You know best!
Some of us need more structure than others. If you are such a person, you may wish to use a version of the Wheel of the Year/Church Calendar that you make the focal point of your spiritual practice. Having a daily structure may not be a bad idea either. How can you make sure you nurture your mind, body and spirit in equal measure throughout each day?
One part of discernment is going within for guidance and the other part is knowing who to ask if you aren’t entirely sure about some aspect in your pie chart. Just make sure that you ask someone who is open-minded enough to recognise that not one size fits all!
Finally, please understand that you are completely free to experiment and to keep changing things around as you learn new things. You don’t need to tell anyone about your path or practices… unless you want to. There may come a day when you feel an overwhelming urge to teach what you have learned this way… As always, trust your inner guidance – The High Priestess knows when to keep silent and when to speak!