Personal spiritual exploration: Do I need a guide?
People today are exposed to spiritual options like never before; our souls are a hot commodity and it becomes our responsibility to care about who gets access. So how does one find a path to let their soul be free?
Well…not to rain on your parade, but there’s no specific method for reaching a satisfied state of the soul. Humans are a diverse group, and each person is unique. To find a path that works for you must be a personal journey because the soul will only rest when it has reached full communion with its host. Working to attain this requires great introspection, open-mindedness, a certain level of abandonment, all things that are personal in nature. That’s why I don’t believe any spiritual leader can successfully guide you if you’re closed off to yourself, hard as they may try. But I paint a bleak picture here, the reality isn’t black and white, it’s much grayer than that.
While I firmly stand by the idea that great (and honest) introspection remains at the center of a healthy soul, I’m also aware our senses are bombarded to a point where it becomes difficult to hear one’s thoughts. This is when a sense of loss can set in, and if you haven’t been communing with your soul, that feeling can snowball into depression or create the impression you’ve lost control. There are many ways to commune with your soul; I’m not in a position to dictate which is right for you, so let’s look at some of those options with an innocent gaze:
The most common option is religion. The texts are written, there are guides in every church, synagogue, temple, and mosque, so why doesn’t this work for some people? On this one, I might be able to offer some input. I was raised far from religion. From zero to twenty years old, I went to church maybe ten times; three funerals, two marriages, and a few Christmas masses (for my grandfather). This reality made me into a person in search of logic. For a long time, I was convinced life and its mysteries could be untangled with reason. But I lived in my head, not my heart, so there were still many elements missing from my life. Which brings me to my next point.
A more and more popular option is secular, or agnostic beliefs. Here again, texts are already written, and a varied sample of temples have opened around the world to serve a community not interested in organized religion. The guides in these temples are different from religious ones because they incorporate beliefs from a wider source, which can sometimes lead to confusion because they aren’t organized properly.
After that, there are animists. They are people who believe in the notion that all is connected, that there is a creator, it is everywhere you look. This approach, sometimes called paganism, has no official texts and can be daunting to a person who feels they need guidance since there are no temples. An animist will search for his truth on his own, which can be intensely satisfying and profoundly scary at the same time.
Those are only a few options out there for a person looking to soul search. I don’t think anyone is THE solution, it really depends on you, your heart, your mind. Don’t hesitate to continue the discussion if you have other ideas, I’m a curious being who thrives on learning.
Have a good week everyone!