Finding a Spiritual Path

Flowering Lotus...being open and receptive to knowing...
Flowering Lotus...being open and receptive to knowing...

When we come into the world we are left to the decision making lifestyles our parents embody. We learn their belief systems, their habits and their tainted views. As children, we do not have the ability to reject the philosophies our parents teach us because we love them and wish to please them. We also have no understanding that we are limited in our learning due to our place in the world and how and what we are taught.

One does not tell their parents at three years old that they do not wish to become Catholic, for instance, and that they would rather visit a mosque. Children are mere pawns in the hands of their upbringing and the views they learn about life. To understand and to think about thinking, and what they "feel" about something is an unknown dimension to their world. Later, when these same souls enter school, they are taught they must follow the rules and regulations of their teachers, and they must learn to "fit in" and behave themselves in their classrooms.

As these children grow ( and I am speaking of YOU) there is a sense the teacher and the parent are a sort of demigod. What the child learns is that they know everything and to question those authorities is anathema. It is not until the child reaches college age, (or 18) that they are allowed the opportunity to "think for themselves" and by then there has been such a deeply ingrained sense they do not know anything, that when asked "what do you really think" about something, they honestly have no clue what they think.

If we remain of the same opinion of our parents or some teaching authority throughout our lives, we will never question the idea that there may be other opinions viable, or other paths available for us to consider. In fact, if we do not engage ourselves in inquiry, we remain stuck in limited thinking, and are often closed minded and fearful about new ideas we may have integrated into our lives that serve its primary purpose.

Spirituality is something many people will embrace after many years of religious fervor that does not resonate with an individuals soul path. Growing up as a non-fundamental Christian was something I am happy to report did not make me jaded. What made me jaded was living in the southern part of the United States afterwards and finding that the FEAR of God was something espoused in almost every church I entered. I learned God was a loving and forgiving entity and one who understood human frailties. This God was not judgmental, and not one who loved any religion over another.

It was with this experience I searched and found spiritual groups who taught me that all philosophies are essentially the same, compassion and kindness were found in all of these teachings, and Mother Earth was something to be revered. My spirituality encompasses the teachings of the Native American Indian, the Tibetan Buddhist, the Hindu and Jain, and the mystics of Sufism, and Catholicism. Each of the links brought me further along to what I remain today: a spiritual mutt. I am one who embodies a bit of this, and a touch of that in my core beliefs. I view the Great Teachers as one fantastic professorship: Jesus, Mohammed, John the Baptist, Abraham, the Buddha, Kuan Yin, Gandi, Osho and others have all taught me the meaning of spirituality.

There is so much division in the world and it is incumbent upon us all to focus on the similarities instead of the differences in the path to at-one-ment (atonement). Before enlightenment we "chop wood and carry water" and after enlightenment we do the same. No one gets out of life alive, many of us cleave to the same hope that we will be the best we can possibly be, do that which we can do for ourselves and others, and leave the world a better place for having been in it.

Finding a Spiritual Path is less about finding, and more about allowing. In order for us to know that which we believe is right for us, we must be open and receptive to knowing more about ourselves and how we came to the beliefs we have. Did we merely accept that whatever our parents said was the law, without being open to knowing more about what we-ourselves really think about things? Are we open to new experiences, new people, new ideas and new growth experiences? Do we allow ourselves to reflect and critically think about that which we say and do in the world, or are we sheep-le who follow others, never wanting to make our own minds up about things?

A Spiritual Path, although an individual process, brings us to a place and space of self-knowing. Instead of accepting that which we are as truth, we might try in-sight. We may find our path is fine the way it is, but in assessing that which we are, we still make the journey on the path to higher truth, and in honest reflection, we come to know more about ourselves and our world by being open and receptive to seeking without fear.

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Comments 20 comments

D.G. Smith profile image

D.G. Smith 6 years ago

I liked your take on this subject I couldn't agree more


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

I find spirituality can simplfy the complex and energize the mundane...for every action a reaction:)To question with hightened sense of awareness is ,as you related,a very tenuous journey:)!!


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Thanks DG and Acer...love your comment about simplify and energize...excellent points!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Very interesting and valuable, Aley! Food for thought . . .

Certainly the life we're born into is not by choice, but it may not automatically be either better or worse than what we might choose for ourselves had we any basis for chosing. And those huge influences it is not just those of our parents, but our entire environment, including siblings and all the rest. What was appropriate for them may be totally inappropriate for us - but it is our challenge to test and find what fits us.

From it all we can and do take our cues, though often depending on the overriding factors which are simply THERE. We are also simply thrust into this world as a whole with its warped and its fine examples and choices. We must learn to select what we can support as we grow and it's never finished as long as we are alive and subject to change, which is what it is to be alive.


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Thanks Nellieanna. In the Buddhist tradition and a few others it is believed we choose our parents and life circumstances to best grow in the incarnation we are living. When we die, they indicate we may review the life and decide if it was a "mission accomplished" or if we need to come back again and retry the mission...

of course many traditions believe we only have one life, and even if those believe otherwise, we have this life now and that is the focus we need to keep on our journey. Thanks so much for your inspiration and words, it is always a pleasure.


suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Hello Professor-I read this article with great interest as I can very much relate with this one and please do not think that some of the names of teachers you have mentioned may have compelled me to write this,no this one is true and heart felt one.Thank you so much. I must mention here that we have a Lotus temple in New Delhi that attracts 4.5 million tourist every year just because that the theme is "Peace" ,from all over the world.


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

WOW...someday I hope to come to India and see not only the sights, but some of the connections to people I have met in such forums as this. Thanks Suny.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

The good thing is that more and more people are trying to find their own spiritual path, based on their own need and experience. There is hope... :)


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

I agree FP...there do seem to be more "Awake" people than before.....! Thanks for your comment!


green tea-cher profile image

green tea-cher 6 years ago

Hi Aley! I love your description of yourself as a "spiritual mutt". I agree that even if we follow a certain religious path we stand to learn much from the teachings of different philosophies. Striving for at-one-ment would certainly make our world a better place. Great food for thought.


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Thanks ...appreciate it!


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Aley, I agree wholeheartedly with you. We walk paths that our parents forge, without even thinking. After many years, some of us seek to create a new path. We find it through soul searching and spiritual growth.

Namaste.


MaryRenee 6 years ago

Aley: Another great hub! I agree 100% with everything. It's all so very true! Our parents try to guide us on their path, and somr of us are fortuante enough to find what works for us, and what we're meant to believe in. Excellent hub, bravo! :)


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

thanks Mary Renee.


LeAnn 6 years ago

Oneness and Acceptance flows through what you have written here Aley. That is what I feel when I read your post about spirituality. The ease of BEING in this life and embracing all that is experienced.

Thanks for taking the time to share Oneness and Acceptance.

I appreciate your BEING.


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

And you being here is a true gift to me LeAnn.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

Hi Aley,

I wish more people would be less afraid to read and ask questions about other religions and spiritual practices. It opens the door to so many new thoughts and experiences, and you realize you can put voice to many things you already believed, just couldn't explain!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

Hi Aley,

I wish more people would be less afraid to read and ask questions about other religions and spiritual practices. It opens the door to so many new thoughts and experiences, and you realize you can put voice to many things you already believed, just couldn't explain!


bschnabel profile image

bschnabel 5 years ago from Vermont

very interesting! I like this a lot. Great viewpoint.


Aley Martin profile image

Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

thank you both for your comments and support.

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