I’m a spiritual person, which I also frequently describe as, “Spiritual, not religious” — so people don’t get confused. Here’s the difference: spirituality is your experience of the divine, and religion is learning about someone else’s experience. (Mysticism, paganism, and, more recently, “witch,” are also terms I identify with; the last having nothing to do with pointy hats or evil, but aspirations for a more grounded practice.) Spirituality brings depth and joy to the lives of millions, yet it’s not very well understood by our culture at large.
Spirituality can mean magical-feeling experiences that make you wonder if you somehow accidentally ate some ‘shrooms, or it can look like a daily ritual that helps you connect to deeper meaning, or a whole world of other experiences; the avenues to explore in spirituality are endless. While this makes it a never-ending and wildly satisfying path, it doesn’t make it the easiest to start down. Here’s some tips to get rolling.
- Meditate: Spirituality is all about connecting to a deeper wisdom that lies within, your intuition. And you’ll never ever learn how to do that if you don’t learn to get your mind to STFU! It’s really easy. All you need to do is sit or lie comfortably, and focus on your breath. When thoughts arise, let them go without judgement, and focus on your breath again. The more you do it, the better it will serve you.
- Read: You can start forming your philosophy on life by reading others’. Some of my recommendations for first picks are The Celestine Prophecy, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Conversations with God, and The Four Agreements. (Here’s more.) I also highly recommend the movies Waking Life and i heart huckabees.
- Divinate: Divination is essentially asking the divine for advice. Tarot and oracle cards are my favorite ways; tarot can be explored like learning another language, but oracle cards come with books that explain the cards. There’s also: runes, dowsing, the I-ching, and scrying, among others. They can help you make decisions and help predict the energy of what’s coming next in your life.
- Google Stuff: Here’s some topics to start checking out — astrology, numerology, ascension, lightworker, dark night of the soul, shadow work, chakra cleansing, law of attraction, conscious evolution, intuition, sacred geometry, and starseeds. That should give you 20-bazillion more wormholes to fall down!
- Buy Stuff: Contrary to popular opinion, this alone will do absolutely fucking nothing. But, when powered with intention and dedication, stuff can be a great aid to your spiritual practice. Go to a new age store and see what you’re drawn to, but a few basics are: sage and palo santo for energy cleansing, gemstones, and books books books! I know I said books already, but there is no one book for this stuff; just many teachers who help point to wisdom that must be located within. So read up!
- Practice Gratitude: Gratitude is the attitude, man. Practicing regular gratitude brings you into the present moment; little things like noticing the amazing taste of your coffee, appreciating the way your body feels after a workout, or the fact that your car started today can help bring perspective and shake of nonsense whiny thoughts. Focusing on stuff you want brings more stuff you want. (And samesies for the opposite… 😮)
- Community: Finding other people who are into this stuff is key. Check out bulletin boards at health food stores, yoga centers, and other places of conscious living. There’s also non-religious churches! Nontheistic is a helpful term here, Unitarian Universalist churches and Jain centers are two great examples. The internet is also awesome (and so quick!) — just checking out hashtags of topics is likely to introduce you to people. Talking (or typing) with others about these things really helps ground the ideas, helps bring them into your everyday life.
Best wishes on your spiritual journey!!