walking a spiritual path

This is not about walking any particular path, or within any particular tradition. This is based on my own personal experience over the past 20 years, broken down to the bare essentials.

Note: I’m not telling you what to believe. Use what is useful to you, or not.

The spiritual path is about pursuing personal knowledge of ultimate Truth i.e. remembering who we truly are. This is accomplished through our subjective experience of a relationship with God and surrendering or aligning our personal will (ego) to the Divine will. This also means releasing attachments or illusions that keep us overly invested in the human experience.

Underlying assumptions

  1. We are not just human. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
  2. The world as we see and know it is fundamentally an illusion. In other words, there is something more “real” than what we normally perceive by living our human lives within space-time.
  3. There is a way for us to have a subjective experience of what is really real, which people call by various names: God, the Tao, Love, the Divine. It transcends space and time.
  4. This experience is revelatory. It helps us understand the true nature of reality and our place in it. It feels like being unconditionally loved and accepted exactly as we are.
  5. The only reason we don’t experience this awareness constantly is that we are so wrapped up in the drama of being human.

The spiritual path is the continual shedding of illusion, i.e. the realization that all the things we invest meaning into as humans are fundamentally impermanent, and the only permanent and truly meaningful thing is God.

This disillusioning process can be painful and sometimes traumatic because it involves the loss of that which we have become emotionally attached to and invested our sense of meaning and identity in.

On the plus side, the more you are loosened from attachments to the world, the more of you is freed up to feel Divine love.

This is not about being a “better” person. There is nothing “better” about being spiritual. God’s love is unconditional, period. You do not have to earn it and you can’t lose it. 

It’s also fine to enjoy life. This isn’t about self-denial or asceticism. There is nothing to prove. The whole earning/proving thing is a human fixation. It’s not real.

Attitudes to cultivate

  1. Everything I encounter is something I can use for my own liberation. There is always a lesson or opportunity and it’s up to me to find it.
  2. I am 100% responsible for my entire experience on Earth. (Even if I don’t remember making a choice to come here, I did, for a purpose.)
  3. The obstacle is the doorway.
  4. I am bigger than ____. (Whatever you are stuck on.)
  5. I am a child of God and therefore I am deserving, beautiful, and whole.
  6. God loves me exactly as I am, always, forever, and there’s nothing I can do to get more or less love, because God’s love is absolute and permanent.
  7. Pain is inevitable, but I don’t have to make it worse by resisting when life is inviting me to let go.
  8. I can always ask God for help.

How to let go of attachments

  1. Take responsibility for your life (give up the idea you will be rescued from it).
  2. Work through specific emotional issues like trauma or dysregulation or attachment issues that grab your attention.
  3. Work through your anger and grief about whatever your life has involved, until you can accept it and let it go.
  4. Give up drama and crisis and needing things to be wrong. Stop making yourself wrong or criticizing yourself. Let things be OK.
  5. Cultivate presence–the ability to keep your attention in the present moment.
  6. Cultivate unconditional acceptance of reality exactly as it is.

By “work through”, I mean emotional and psychological healing. You cannot let go of something you have not healed. Please read how to be happy for links to how to do emotional healing work.

Don’t bypass difficult emotions. That doesn’t work and it’s not necessary. (It’s living out the idea that your emotions are bigger than you, which is a false belief.) Always turn toward your own suffering with compassion and cultivate emotional intimacy with yourself. All emotions will eventually release if you allow yourself the time and space to feel them.

How to experience God

  1. Open your heart (be vulnerable/humble).
  2. Ask to be shown. Express what you want to know. Ask the questions you have.
  3. Wait with genuine openness.
  4. Trust what you receive.