There is no one right spiritual path. No religion, no text, no practice that is The One Way. This is something I've always known, but in the last year it's really hit home.
I used to judge my partner's path. Not in a big, outward, critical way, but something in me judged him for not being drawn to the same practices I was, in terms of spirituality and evolution. I was unsure he'd ever "get there" (as though there was somewhere to get to). Over time, I began to really focus on my own healing. Really long story short: this led me to more authenticity and truth - and to valuing authenticity and truth in others. And then...
... through the practices that work for me, I began to realize the Earth's desire is not only to sustain us with food, but to heal us through her presence and her medicines - trees, plants, stones, all of it. And not only the Earth, but the air, the rain, the sun, the water. I began to exist in loving relationship with our planet, its inhabitants, and the elements... which blossomed into a new love and way of being with other humans, and in life in general. I understood in a new way that with our greed, superiority and entitlement, humans have blatantly and mindlessly disregarded and harmed the Earth in spite of the nurturing, loving, healing, generous home and food and medicine that she is for us. This disrespect has led humans into separation from the Earth, from one another and from God... not to mention the mass destruction of our planet and her atmosphere, our home. I pray for the Earth's forgiveness, and for us to learn how to be in right relationship with her.
Then I truly saw my partner. He lives in relationship with the Earth, the plants and animals. His worldly work revolves around sustainability and eco-consciousness. He is most joyful when he has his hands in the dirt, when he's gardening, creating art from natural elements, tending wounded animals, or delighting in the birds that visit our land. He is an emotional bridge-builder, a loving support for people in need, a wise and humble man. Without following any of the practices I follow, he has lived in that place where I finally arrived.
My way still looks different from his. We still engage in different practices. They'll never be exactly the same. And the path, the healing and awakenings continue to unfold in new directions for each of us. What's important is that there are commonalities between us in terms of service, spirit and relationship. The foundation for all of it - our practices, our commonalities and differences - is love.
I recently went to a Foursquare Church service. The sermon was focused on Jesus being the Way, the Truth and the Life. The speaker very pointedly said that Jesus is the one and only way - that the path to God is very narrow, it is forever, and it is Jesus. That there is nothing else that leads to God. It was implied several times that any way other than Jesus is an attempt to "be cool," and is misguided. That is not my experience. I love Jesus. I feel his presence, and I know him more truly than ever. I know him as part of my always-present unseen tribe, one of many ascended masters, a healer, a being who exists in love and service, and a beautiful model for who we really are. My spiritual journey did begin with him - he was indeed the doorway, when I met him at age 16. But the neverending Way, the infinite Truth and the eternal Life is in no way narrow, or singularly focused. It is expansive. Wherever there is love - this is the Way. This is the Truth. This is Life with God.
So. What I'm trying to say is that your spiritual path will not look like anyone else's. It can't. And that is perfect. If your path does look exactly like someone else's, it's likely that you're actually serving your ego - rather than using the brilliance of your ego to support your truth.
You may find that your path is art. It might be meditation. It might be yoga, or dance, or other physical practices. It could be kirtan, or prayer, or shamanic ceremony, or walking in the woods, or walking in your neighborhood. It might be reveling at sacred music festivals, or it might be sharing a picnic in the park with your community. It might include seeking guidance, or it might be your own private experience. Your true way might be in service as a nurse, a counselor, a gardener, a teacher. You might practice being vulnerable and transparent, and supporting that in others. You might relate with others from a state of mindfulness and compassion, in a workplace that otherwise has none. You might challenge yourself to complete an obstacle course, physically and emotionally supporting and being supported by your team every step of the way through muck and mud and pain and exhaustion and success. You might find yourself truly enjoying being with your friends and family. There is no one path to God. The Way, the Truth and the Life is Love.
And Love, my friends, is no narrow path. It doesn't wear blinders. It doesn't judge. Love includes and accepts. Love trusts. Love sets appropriate boundaries. Love knows what is truly right. Love is humble and empowered. Love works, and love rests. Love has feelings. Love knows peace.
I pray to exist in Love.
I pray for you to trust yourself, to allow the voice of your truth to speak to you, and to follow the spiritual path that is right for you. I pray for you to exist in Love. I pray for your acceptance and your joy. May your Divine purpose be fulfilled.
So now I'm thinking about how each of us is in a different place on the path, and how easy it can be to compare ourselves to others. More on that soon.