When you look back at the spiritual path you traveled in the last decade, what do you see? Did you take an intentionally straight route down the road of your choosing, or did you allow the other vehicles to dictate if you remained in your lane? Did you let yourself get detoured? Did you allow backseat drivers to give you directions that lengthened your journey? Did you end up in a ditch? Or maybe you pulled over by the side of the road and stopped driving altogether.
Sadly, I believe I spent most of the last 10 years—maybe more—driving on the shoulder of the spiritual road (often with the emergency brake on). Sometimes, I actually created dust storms as my tires hit the dirt and threatened to land me in the ditch. And some of the time, I was pulled over at the rest stop, motor idling, watching others speed down the spiritual highway.
The result? I’m not where I thought I’d be by now. Nor have I enjoyed the ride…at all.
It’s Someone Else’s Fault
I’ve spent a lot of time—much of the last 10 years—blaming my husband—for the fact that I wasn’t growing spiritually or expressing my spiritual nature. After all, he fell off the spiritual path leaving me to navigate the journey alone. Who wants to do that, right?
Not only that, he no longer shares my spiritual beliefs and has a lot of spiritual angst and anger. That made expressing my spirituality and pursuing my spiritual development feel unsafe. (For a long time, that was a good excuse for getting off the spiritual path, too.)
Yet, my husband was still in the car with me a lot of the time, and I allowed him to drive or navigate for me. So, if I was not cruising down a spiritual road, I could blame for my lack of spiritual connection, development, and expression.
Time to Drive My Spiritual Car
That’s the story I told (and believed), anyway…for at least the last decade. But I’m not sticking with that story in 2020 and beyond.
I’m ready to stop blaming and finding excuses and take responsibility for my spiritual expression and development.
I’m ready to get back on the spiritual road, map out my route, and drive my car to the spiritual destination of my choice. No looking in the rearview mirror or emergency brake engaged. Just my foot on the gas and my hands on the steering wheel as I travel down the spiritual highway.
7 Ways to Maneuver Back onto the Spiritual Path
If, like me, you’ve been off the spiritual path in some way, it’s time to maneuver back onto the pavement, put pedal to metal, and drive straight to your destination. I don’t have a map for you; each of us has our own. And, like you, I’m also navigating back onto the spiritual road and trying to find the best way to get from where I am to where I want to go.
I can, however, provide you with the strategies and tools I’m going to use to help me get back on the spiritual road, navigate to my destination, keep a steady speed, and stay in my lane. I’ve used some of these before and know they work.
And here’s the thing: I’m not a lot different than you, so maybe what I know or have learned will give you a starting place to discover what works best for you.
With that said, here are the strategies I plan to use as I maneuver back onto the spiritual path.
1. Personal Development
If your car has ended up in a ditch filled with negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, unsupportive habits, and old stories, it’s time to do some serious work on yourself. Personal development helps you get out of your own way. It helps you master your psychology, physiology, and purpose. Ultimately, it enables you to get out of the ditch.
When you learn to master yourself—especially your thoughts and emotions, you can step into the best version of yourself. And that best self has the ability to be spiritually connected as well.
So if you have found it hard to connect with Source or feel guided, work on yourself. The spiritual side of your life will fall into place.
Consider hiring a coach, joining a personal development class, reading a self-help book, or going on a personal development retreat of some sort.
2. Spiritual Development
As you master yourself, you begin to master your spiritual life. However, that takes spiritual development.
Spend time praying, meditating, journaling, visualizing, studying spiritual texts, or reading books related to whatever brand of spirituality appeals to you. Develop a spiritual practice, and practice consistently.
If you can, spend time with other people who are spiritual or have a high vibration or level of consciousness. Remember, you become the average of the 10 people you with whom you spend the most time.
Plus, there is a compounding effect that happens when you meditate, pray, and learn in groups. Add the benefit of feeling less isolated in your attempts to connect to Source, and you soon realize the power of being in a spiritual community.
As you do these things, you’ll step into another version of yourself—one that is connected to and aligned with Source. And that helps you navigate onto and further down the spiritual road.
Meditation is you taking the time to listen to God. And it’s an integral part of many religions and spiritual traditions.
Sitting quietly and trying to reduce the number of thoughts in your mind helps you create a space to hear guidance. It provides the opportunity to feel connected. Most of the time, we are too busy rushing around to know what we think or feel—to tune into the spiritual side of life and have a spiritual experience.
Try meditating even for 10 minutes per day. Allow your mind to get a bit quieter than usual. And then just pay attention to any messages that come to you. Or ask a question, and then wait and listen for the answer.
In the stillness and silence, you will find a connection to Source. But meditation is a practice. Don’t expect immediate results, just keep building the muscle.
Prayer is you talking to God. You can walk and talk to God, or you can get down on your knees and talk to God. How you do it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you pray.
Jesus said, “Pray ceaselessly.” In other words, make your life one continual prayer—a constant conversation with God.
I’m not talking about praying only when you need something. I’m talking about praying every day.
Wondering how to pray? I’ve heard it said that gratitude is the most powerful prayer you can offer. Try offering gratitude every morning and evening—for anything and everything.
I like the Jewish practice of hitbodedut, which simply involves walking in nature and having a conversation with God. Anyone can do this.
Rituals provide a door through which you can walk to access a more spiritual consciousness or experience. A ritual could be saying a prayer at night, offering gratitude first thing in the morning, lighting a candle and setting an intention before you begin work, or even meditating for two minutes and then saying an affirmation aloud before you shower.
You have lots of rituals already, but most of them are not spiritual in nature. Brushing your teeth is a ritual, making coffee when you get up is a ritual, and how you wash your body in the shower every morning is a ritual.
The best spiritual rituals offer a moment of connection to Source. For example, the Jewish tradition of touching a mezuzah before entering a home gives you a few seconds to do that. You kiss your fingers, touch the little case that holds a prayer…maybe recite that prayer, and remembers that God is with you when you come and go from your home. You connect with Source. In those 30 seconds, you have a tiny spiritual experience.
Any ritual you create that allows you to connect—even for a moment—puts you firmly on the spiritual road.
Journaling can be a form of prayer or meditation. You can talk to God, and you can receive—and write down—the messages you receive. Ask questions; jot down the answers.
This writing exercise also provides an opportunity for introspection. It can help you work out issues, develop and practice affirmations, and get insights into how to move to the next level of your personal and spiritual growth.
As such, it’s both a personal and spiritual development practice. Packing a double whammy, it can move you forward on the spiritual path quickly.
When you allow yourself to spend time in nature and appreciate the beauty and mystery of plants, trees, animals, wind, water, you have the opportunity to connect with Divinity. You realize the miracle of all the natural wonders that make up the planet on which you live.
You also connect with the energy of nature, which can be awe-inspiring. Standing on a mountain top or at the edge of the ocean can inspire awe, and awe is a spiritual experience.
Get away from technology and other man-made constructs. Just be in nature. (Meditate there…) Your vibration will change, opening you to a different level of spiritual experience and knowing.
Take the Wheel
I know it can feel hard to maneuver back onto the spiritual path. But the road stretches out before you (and me), and it’s now time to take the wheel. Put your foot on the gas, release the emergency brake, navigate off the shoulder and into your lane—the spiritual road.
Then stay in that lane. Don’t look back. Just keep moving forward down the spiritual highway.
How do you put your self back on the spiritual path? Tell me in a comment below.
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Photo courtesy of Sergey Novikov