For those of us on the journey to grow spiritually and emotionally, it’s often extremely tempting to search out a book or a website or a guru or a group or a teacher or an outline or some freaking set of hard-and-fast parameters to show us the ‘right’ way to go about it. To validate our progress and save us from potential pitfalls.
And sources like this do exist, in their various forms. But they are subjective…they are relative. They are deeply diverse, and open to interpretation. And ultimately, they are simply puzzle pieces for us to craft a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of our own.
No one book is going to provide every answer. No guru worth their salt is going to hand over a certificate sometime during your training, stating you’ve officially achieved Enlightenment and have nothing else to learn.
Your journey is yours.
Others may walk beside you from time to time, and some for longer than others. Teachers will walk with us and expand our minds, crack us open. Students will walk with us and absorb hard-earned wisdom. Friends will walk with us and lift our hearts when we are tired and disheartened. And we will all play these parts for each other over and over again in the course of one lifetime.
But we are the only ones who walk our individual paths in their entirety.
We each carry in us a particular set of life experiences, memories, and emotions that inform the way we move through the world. Each one of these unique life mixes is singular and beautiful, and not replicable in any other human in the history of existence.
Take a minute to sit with that. YOU are the only you there has ever been, and the only one there will ever be. How incredible to consider. How beautiful.
Why, then, would we think the path of spiritual growth could look the same for any two people – much less groups of people? Of course it’s going to be as unique as the individual!
So then, where do we start? If there’s no map, how do we know where we’re going?
First and foremost, we have to lead with Love. When plodding through the spiritual wilderness, we must always seek the path of compassion and shared humanity, no exceptions. But beyond that…
Resonance is the key element in finding your way along the winding path of awakening.
We’ve all experienced the feeling of resonance, of shared vibration. Think of a party where everyone’s laughing, and before you know it you are too, even though you have no idea what’s so funny. Or when you see a friend in tears, and you begin to tear up yourself before you know what’s wrong. That’s one form of resonance.
Another is when you find a pair of socks or a journal in your favorite color, and it just raises your spirits. Or your comfort movie. Or the scent you’ve worn for a decade. Things that ‘feel’ like you are things that resonate with you. Clothing style, fiction genre, music preferences…all of these things are what resonate the most with you – the things you are naturally drawn to, and never had to teach yourself to like.
This is the type of resonance that will help guide you.
Imagine you’re carrying a basket along with you on your journey. As you grow, and learn, and teach, and are exposed to new and updated and expanded ideas, you choose the things that resonate (feel like you) and place them in your basket. The things that don’t resonate, you allow to remain on the path for others to find. No judgment, no quota, just a thoughtful curation of a personal paradigm.
And if you find at any point that something in the basket no longer serves you or resonates, you are free to remove it and leave it behind. In fact, it’s imperative. If there is to be growth, the contents we hold dear must shift and change along the way. Otherwise it’s not growth, it’s stagnation.
Your personal basket won’t look exactly like anyone else’s. It will have similarities with some, and differences with others. It can help you find a tribe, where you all share large portions of what you hold to be true in that moment. It may resist labels and confuse those who have wildly different baskets. All of this is expected, and is to be honored.
Because as long as it’s crafted in Love and feels like you, that basket represents your own, unique relationship with and contribution to the Universe. There can be nothing more beautiful and life-giving than that.
So go out and get that information. Find all the sources you can. Learn everything you want to learn. Then learn some more.
Pick up a book that grabs your interest. It could be that the cover looks cool, or the blurb on the back sounds worthy, or even that you like the author’s name. If it pulls you, try it out.
Join that online group that’s always sounded fun but kind of intimidating. I guarantee you most (if not all) of the other members felt the same way at some point. And even if it turns out not to be your thing, you may get something cool for your basket.
Set up Zoom calls with your friends who are open to discussion and toss around ideas and concepts. Take a class. Download an app. Watch a documentary.
Ask questions. Listen. Absorb. Gather.
Take what resonates. Leave the rest.
Build your own basket...then go share it with the world.
All love, fellow travelers.