Religion and spirituality though related, are not synonymous. Religion is the creation of people and cultures. Spirituality is your direct personal relationship with Tao, the All-That-Is. Deepening your spirituality is your personal responsibility. No one can do it for you. You select parts and pieces from numerous sources that inspire you to feel more deeply. You adapt, absorb and weave those concepts into a personalized spiritual program that deepens your inner awareness and amplifies your innate sensitivity to the natural rhythm of things. Do not compare your path with others. Each path is unique and personal.
I have a strong spiritual practice that I lovingly do every day. It is comprised of components that work for me. It changes as I change. It shifts its focus as I seek a new lesson. It is up to each of us to create our own spiritual path, We do that by designing our distinctive practice of self-cultivation.
Become a nonconformist
In order to create your own spiritual journey, you must be willing to see yourself as a nonconformist. You learn to listen to your inner voice and trust it. You learn to respond to your inner urges. Your unique spiritual journey is a solitary path that allows you to continually expand your personal relationship with Tao, the All-That-Is. As a child, I was Presbyterian. As a young mother, I was Episcopalian. Gradually I evolved into a metaphysician who studies and embraces concepts from all the words’ great religions. I became a spiritual practitioner in the Center for Spiritual Living. Eventually I simply wrapped it all up in the package that is me, and used what resonated and expanded my connection and released the rest. To this day, I am exploring. I know how to chant, work with crystals, move energy through my hands, visualize, use affirmations, and direct qi energy. Along my personal spiritual journey, I have learned many ways to deepen my spirituality. I explore whatever calls to me. I keep what works and discard the rest. I adapt, I tweak, I repurpose. I experiment. I change my spiritual practice as I change and grow and develop new needs.
It’s scary to question the religion of your birth. However, it is the religion of your parents. Ultimately, your spiritual path is your personal choice. You have the opportunity to encourage your own spiritual evolution as you continue to find new ways to deepen your connection with your inner self.
“Being different is what makes you who you are. It means you’re daring to live your own life, on your terms, with your values. It means you have courage to stand out from the mainstream. It means you’re interesting. Hug those differences, be grateful for them, own them. Be proud of them. “ Leo Babtua, www.zenhabits,com .
Make silence a cornerstone of your spiritual practice
We are Tao. All we need do to experience Tao is open ourselves to it. We do that through silence.That eternal connection is always there waiting to guide and inspire us. We simply need to learn to listen. Silence opens the connection to your inner wisdom. Silence is how you learn to interpret what you find there. Silence may mean meditation, or prayer, reading spiritually uplifting words or writing. It may mean being in nature. The purpose of all spiritual practice is to reach in and touch the power that resides within you. Allow your inner wisdom to guide you in creating your personal spiritual practice. Begin the shaping of your personal spiritual journey with regular periods of contemplative silence. Take time to sit in silence and simply be.
Let go of your mind. Your mind encourages duality and separation. Move into that serene space where you are one with the Tao, the Universe, the All-That-Is, whatever you call it.
Listen to your intuition, that sudden understanding of a situation, that insight, that ah-ha moment Learn to interpret your urges, that unexpected desire to turn left instead of right, or go up instead of down. Begin to live more deeply by following the guidance from the voice within.
My relationships have changed since I began listening more attentively to what people are saying, and using my intuition to hear what is unsaid. Being present helps me make certain my responses are appropriate for that particular moment. Mindful eating, mindful action and mindful listening are powerful catalysts for simply being. . Be present. Be aware Be compassionate. Be.
Your inner world is one of extraordinary perceptiveness. It is there that you receive insights that seem to come from nowhere; where you suddenly view circumstances from an unexpected perspective. The insights you receive are yours alone. They are for your singular interpretation, your personal use. Whether you journal, write poetry, paint, compose music, walk in nature, or sit in the sun, time spent in reflection is precious. Take time to question your beliefs. Why do you believe what you do? Do you still believe that? What values are important at this point in your life? Reflection helps you become more self-aware.
Create specific times for reflection in your spiritual practice. Avoid distractions. As I simplify my life, it is easier for me to increase my spiritual awareness. It can be lonely, this journey of self. There is no one who is building his or her own spiritual path exactly like yours. Those who want to sing a deeper song are in a constant state of exploration, discovery and receptivity to change. A simple idea you develop or a phrase you explore can become major turning points in your life. Learn to dwell in the nothingness within, and let the response you find there guide you.
Shape your personal practice
Shape a spiritual practice that nurtures you.How you practice your self-cultivation is very personal. My spiritual path and personal growth have increased rapidly now that I am retired and can spend more time in self-cultivation. A new mudra deeepended my meditaion . A book taught me the form of Qi Gong I practice (The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise (A Gaia Original))., The poetry of Rumi and Gibran (The Prophet) have offered up insights that guide my life. I am inspired by Emerson’s Essay on Self-Reliance. The Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao Te Ching now shapes many of my life choices. I am guided by the books of Deng Ming-Dao. 365 Tao: Daily Meditations Whatever works for you – do it. Combine a bit of study with meditation or journaling. Add moving meditation that opens your communication with your body. Write to figure things out for yourself. Shape your personal spiritual practice to fit your needs and your desire to deepen your song.
Develop perseverance and flexibility
Keep experimenting. Try different things at different times of the day. Try different versions of a concept. Journal your subtle progress. Notice what works Replace anything that doesn’t work. Cultivate patience, planning and timing. Be aware of what shows up and use that experience as the ultimate teacher, creating and adjusting as you continually move forward. We need to nourish what we set in motion and adjust our course as needed.
When we live mindfully in the present moment, we embrace the best of what each day offers. We stand tall on our spiritual path. We personally select all the beliefs, attitudes, responses and reactions that color and shape our lives. Whatever you do, do it to the fullest. Embrace it fully. Then go within and become aware of what you learned and how it helped you grow and what you want to do next.