A Path Less Traveled!
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This week, The Weekly Beet reports straight from the road less traveled. Mary Kent walks the journey, shedding a bit of wisdom on just what it means to be on the spiritual path.
Recently, I attended a dinner with many of my parents' friends, who I have known since I was a child. They were all members of the medical profession, which I find so fascinating to be a part of since I, myself, am an alternative medical professional. But, what truly made this dinner super special was that one of the doctor's wives pulled me aside to tell me how much she appreciated and enjoyed reading about the 'journey' that I have been experiencing and sharing through The Weekly Beet. Tears came to my eyes and I felt this overwhelming sense of joy come over me, as my mind was reminded of my purpose, that, yes, it is possible for one's own life experience to touch another's. To have another soul affirm that my journey had somehow affected her life was a feeling that I just can't describe in words. We shared that we are all seeking and questioning something bigger than ourselves in this existence we call life, yet sometimes we just don't know how to share or verbalize what it is that is really happening to us. So, it is thanks to this lovely friend (and you know who you are) that I have chosen the topic of 'walking the spiritual journey' as this week's Beet. And, it is thanks to her for helping me remember that everyday I will continue to walk the spiritual way.
So, what's this spiritual path really about anyways? Does it have to be walked alone? Do I have to find a new religion? Is it a religion at all? How does one get on the path? And, really how does one stay on it? With loads of questions bombarding our minds, it's hard enough just sifting through these voices, let alone trying to find the best way to reach that part of ourselves that is so utterly seeking to make a divine connection. To me, that's exactly what this spiritual path is all about. Pilgrims have walked great distances to find it, monks sit in hours of solitude to reach it, and yoginis lie in Savasana just to achieve it. Whether we have awareness or not, we are all on the same path looking for the very same thing within ourselves that will grant us the freedom to feel the divine love, peace, and bliss that each of us already contains within ourselves. There are some who speak of a calling or a deep yearning within themselves to step away from the norm in order to walk the path at an early age. Saints, mystics, and sages have reported such experiences. Yet, there are some who are simply destined to listen later on in life. Timing is not of importance to the spiritual walker, it is simply a willingness to answer when that divine moment comes ringing. And, you will know when that moment arrives.
I can honestly say I have been and will probably always be on a journey. It is one that I am so proud to have been able to experience and one that I hope to inspire you to either begin or to continue. It's not a journey I can really explain in words, but something I believe that people can feel and see with their eyes. I truly have changed from within because it is something that I wanted more than anything in the world. It was something my soul called me to do and my heart allowed me to follow. Now, don't think for a minute it was a piece of cake because it wasn't. But, it was my unstoppable desire to change from a fearful, sickly, and sad person into an empowered, radiating, and loving individual that called me to walk this walk in the first place. That was my reason, and you will have your own! No one could do it for me and no one will do it for you. It is just a path we start walking, or more like a divine task, done for and by ourselves, that we all have to follow on our own to achieve. There were times of such great suffering that I didn't think I would be able to go on, yet these were always followed by such great moments of love that somehow I kept the faith to continue. I believe if we can look to our own lives as a spiritual journey, somehow we can see that all the destinations, all the encounters, and all the random events that happen 'to' us are somehow so divinely and perfectly synchronized to teach us, to heal us, and to help us return to our true selves. If we can put that at the forefront of our walk, then finding our way home becomes that much easier. Truly, we are all in this together simply trying to get to that place within ourselves that makes our moments of being here so purposeful, worthy, and filled with divine grace.
There were definitely moments I was 'journeying' without knowing why and without a roadmap to help me decipher the way, but that unknown part of the path is just part of the experience that must be felt. I started really walking and waking up about ten years ago by reading and sifting through alot of ways to find my confusing way back to my true self. It's been a journey of twists and turns filled with detours and some pretty serious road constructions, but one that has strategically prepared me for what lies ahead. Though, I am by no means an expert, I have learned some wisdom along the way. Here are a few keys that I feel every spiritual seeker should know:
- There is no right or wrong way to be or to adhere to a spiritual path. You are not to seek perfection on the path to knowing God and to understanding yourself.
- Follow your own intuitive guidance and always ask yourself what feels best for you.
- Learn about spiritual discernment. Every spiritual seeker should know what this is.
- Never put a guru or spiritual teacher before your own inner guidance and wisdom. They are there only to inspire you to continue walking and should never influence your decisions.
- Read spiritual books on topics that speak to you. Forgiveness, unconditional love, meditation, and awareness are among the many.
- Some of the greatest spiritual teachers of the millennium are Caroline Myss, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Rev. Michael Beckwith, and, of course, Jesus. Pick someone whose words speak to you and let their wisdom guide you to your own. If you read the Bible, then continue to do so.
- There will be trials and tests along the path that come with spiritual advancement. These come in the form of illnesses, relationship issues, financial worries, and career changes. Know these are solely there to test your strength and are important life learning lessons.
- Listen to the language of the divine which comes coded through silent messages of synchronicity, signs, Aha moments, and instant hits of intuition. These are priceless moments when the universe is operating in your favor.
- All spiritual paths must contain a bit of discipline. Whether it's OMing, praying, lighting a candle, yogi-ing, or simply keeping a gratitude journal, we all have the responsibility to keep our connection up and running.
- Keep a tab on your thoughtsand learn to catch your ego in action. This is the single most important thing I can say and one I always go back to working on. When I master this one I will let you know. :)
- Don't abandon the religion you were brought up experiencing as a child. It's important to incorporate other methods of making a divine connection, but it is not necessary to leave behind what you were raised once knowing. Thich Nhat Hanh once said this and I so agree with him.
- Though it is a solo journey, we always learn the most in the company of another. Honor your relationships and your family. The person sitting next to you can be your greatest teacher and blessing if you allow them to be. How many times I have had to remember this one!
- Put self love at the top of your spiritual journey. If you
master this one act then you have the ability to inspire so many around you to do the same.
- Make your journey fun, exciting, and inspiring. Whoever said the spiritual path had to be stale, boring, and depressing was living in the monastery too long! Your journey may call you to change your career and find something that is fulfilling to you. Maybe it's just leading you to unlocking your blocked creativity that has a divine gift waiting to be unwrapped. For me, it was painting and modeling. Allow yourself to be SO surprised at what God has planned for you along the way. It's so incredible!
- And, finally, you are a child of God, the universe, or whatever you choose to call yourself. So, remember the child within that is calling you to your spiritual journey. You will never walk alone remembering this.
Part of being on the spiritual path involves making a commitment to yourself, a sort of conscious choice that you choose to make for the betterment of every aspect of your being. Such a choice enhances your mind, body, and spirit, which will in turn set a positive example to those around you. The path is so much more than striving to achieve nirvana. It's about realizing you are already are nirvana, but must simply shed the protective layers within yourself that keep you from being there. I think what makes the spiritual path feel like a solo journey is that there are so many people who are surrounded by people who have not chosen to make the same spiritual commitment to themselves. Again, by this, I mean they are not committed to weeding out the voices in the mind, learning to quiet the chatter, understanding the ego, and becoming the observer rather than the reactor of the world around them. These journeyers involve themselves in relationships with persons who may not be on the same spiritual level, which can make the path a bit more challenging, but definitely rewarding in the long run if the commitment to stay is made. It is easy to feel like one is doing all the legwork alone, if others in the family or in the relationship are not doing their spiritual homework as well. And, let me just say, this type of homework is not for the faint-hearted. It is difficult, uncomfortable, and downright grueling soul work that requires patience, forgiveness, and most importantly, self love. But, I can attest that the reward of such work shows in ways that only the human heart can comprehend. And, to me, that is the most important language we must learn to speak.
It's time to get up and walk the path. Don't run. Just take it nice and slow. Steady always wins the race! Don't miss a Beet. Stay tuned for next week.
PS. Mary Kent is wearing skirt from Calypso and top from Gap. She is carrying a Herve Chapelier bag. She is on the path at Botany Bay in South Carolina. Josh Rogers is the photographer extraordinaire.
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