I’m not talking about everyday beliefs here, but spiritual beliefs. Where did your core spiritual beliefs come from? How have they changed? Have you ever questioned them?
This came up on The View when they were discussing what we tell our children about spirituality. Do we say, “This is how it is”? Or do we say, “Here are some ideas to consider”?
With something as core as spiritual beliefs, I have a feeling we were all taught “This is how it is”, which really meant “This is how I interpret what I was taught by someone who was also interpreting it.”
Why not do your own research and make your own decisions?
I’m a natural rebel. I’m no fan of dogma — rules that someone, sometime, somewhere decided were an absolute way to do something. All my life, I’ve been exploring and questioning. I started out as a Presbyterian, courtesy of my mother. My father was a Mormon but did not pursue that spiritual course with his children.
As a young mother, I was drawn to the ritual of the low Episcopal church. However, I didn’t bring my children very far into it as I didn’t want to influence them. I wanted them to have a free choice in their spirituality.
My first exposure to the world’s great religions was in a comparative religion course at university. There are a lot of religions in the world. And they are all “right” according to those who believe in them. Hmmm. My spiritual world began to broaden.
Create your own spiritual approach
One freeing spiritual step I took was when I evolved into a metaphysician, metaphysics being a philosophy that is drawn to the fundamental nature of being and the world that surrounds it. It involves things like self-responsibility and feeling our connection to each other. That is still at my core.
I love the philosophy of the indigenous cultures and their connection to the earth and nature. I am drawn to the Tao Te Ching, the foundation of Taoism — one of the world’s earliest religions — because there are no rules or dogma, only philosophical ideas to figure out.
Mix and match your spiritual approach
I took a course in Universal Shamanism and have a mesa altar on the shelf above my desk. Although the altar has the elements of the mesa ritual, the ceremony I’ve built around it is full of quotes from the Sufi poet Rumi. And it has a Buddha statue to remind me to be still and go within. It has crystals and artifacts that help me remember principles that guide me. It’s very eclectic. And every single piece is meaningful to me. That’s the point of a spiritual practice — it must be meaningful to you.
Take what works for you and create your own spiritual path
My spiritual practice includes transcendental meditation (India), an indigenous chant (Peru), combined with a visualization I learned from a healer (US). I do Qi Gong (a moving meditation from China) and yoga (India). I read Rumi (Persia), Deng Ming-Dao, and Alan Watts (US), and I work with crystals (worldwide). You get the picture. Go exploring and bring into your life the practices and elements that nurture you. Don’t be a follower. Be your own creative spiritual explorer.
I’ve done a lot of experimenting in order to evolve into where I am now spiritually. I absorbed, adapted and discarded things along the way. It was my path and it was my choice.
To develop your own form of spiritual expression, go exploring and question everything. Decide what nurtures you the most in this moment in time, based on where you are in your life. Then choose that.
If a walk in nature and hugging a tree sends you into the deeper connection with all, do that. If meditation appeals to you, explore the various ways to meditate — moving, sitting, standing. Create, adjust, adapt and make your spiritual practice your own.
Above all, know yourself
Be aware of what feels in alignment. Notice what heals you and what nurtures you. Listen to your inner voice, those sensations, those emotions. Follow that.
Question any rules that are restrictive. In my senior center, there’s a group whose religion prohibits them from attending any social functions or participating in any social activities. Why is that a rule for them?
I suggest you question any ideology that restricts your free will to explore and decide your own spiritual path.
Trust what you choose
In designing your own spiritual path, explore facets of different religious practices. Try them on for size, and feel how they fit you — only you. Do that for a while and see what happens, what changes it brings, how supportive it feels. Then make adjustments and choose again.
I recently became aware that where we think the ultimate power is determines what we call it. Do you see that universal essence within you or outside of you?
“Live in the nowhere that you came from
though you have an address here”. – Rumi
I’m actively looking for the “nowhere.” I no longer pray to anything outside myself because I believe that all my guidance and the results of my life come from my own choices, my own actions and my own beliefs.
When I change my thinking, I change my life. When I change my actions, I attract a different outcome.
So I don’t use the word “God” because it brings to mind an old white father figure in the sky, and that’s too limiting. I’ve used phrases like All-That-Is, the Great Mystery and Tao and now I think of this energy within me as my inner self, my higher self, my soul.
I work to feel myself as included and immersed in a mystical, air-like energy that has no substance that can be grasped by the human mind. I invite myself to experience the incredible energy of a tree or a rock, or my cat, or the rain. As a human living in a Body Suit, that takes some focused work.
I explore. How do I flow like water? How can I simply “be”. Where is the great nothingness that I came from? What happens when I die? How can I help heal the world? Am I accomplishing my life purpose?
Explore, study, choose
When you look for a solution, an answer will emerge. As I move into a more active role in harnessing group energy to heal the planet, I find new ways to express myself, new ideas that I adapt for my own use. And I share my interpretation with others so they, too, might begin to question and expand.
All the work begins with you
Be the story you want to tell. When you live the principles that matter to you, others will see this and perhaps add it to their own life path. They’ll take from your example what resonates with them and they’ll design their own path.
Why do you believe what you do? Because you explored, you questioned and you made choices aligned with your spiritual resonance. Allow that to change as you progress through life. You change, your spiritual life changes. This is as it should be.
Why do you believe what you do?
To Sing a Deeper Song Consider:
How to Grow fromYour Inside Out
The Power of Positive Purpose
How do You Put your Spiritual Insights to Work?
How to Track Your Self-Awareness
What if You Broke the Mold?