When people ask me what I do the words struggle to come out. I don’t really know how to answer the question. I do a lot of things! Primarily though, perhaps the answer I resonate with the most is, “I’m on a spiritual journey.” Now I wonder, what does that mean?
In the broadest sense, I like to think of the spiritual journey as the journey of seeking a better way to live. It’s a journey of growth, development, and as I like to say – conscious evolution. To be on the journey requires that I accept myself as I am now while also opening up to potential growth and possibility. Essentially, as best as I can, I’m always seeking the next level. I’m seeking to become better and better each day. This ‘bettering’ of the self refers to not only my relationship with the universe and God and all that is unseen, but also to my relationships with people, the environment, and my physical body and mind. After all, in some way, shape, or form, we are in relationship with Everything. 🙂
On the spiritual journey, I acknowledge where I am now while also focusing on where I’d like to be. What direction do I want to move in? There is my current self and then my projected ideal, or as Matthew Kelly says, the-best-version-of-myself. The spiritual journey is the journey towards that best.
Really, I think anyone who is interested in personal growth or development, education, conscious evolution, self-actualization, being your best – the pursuit of any one of those is spiritual growth. Spirit can be considered our Highest Self, so as we grow, we are moving in the direction of more fully connecting with that Highest Self and living with it in our daily lives, in each moment of our being.
Ben Franklin ventured upon the spiritual journey by identifying 13 virtues he sought to perfectly embody in himself. He called this the pursuit of moral perfection. Each week he focused on living one virtue in particular, making a mark in his journal whenever he found himself not abiding by that particular virtue. Eventually, so the story goes, he no longer made any marks in his journal.
One of the 13 virtues he sought to embody was humility. In his autobiography, Franklin admits that although he might have done a good job of acting humble, he felt that pride would often get the best of him. Humility was the last on the list of his 13 virtues, and he described it as simply as, “Be like Socrates and Jesus.” Go figure, humility is tough.
Nonetheless, humility is one of the most empowering virtues as it continually opens the door to growth and evolution. With humility, we remind ourselves that we are not perfect and can continue to improve. Hence, Gandhi found incredible power in what he called, “becoming zero.” When you perceive yourself as zero, I imagine you focus a whole lot on doing what is right and good, regardless of whatever your ego might tell you.
The spiritual journey is the journey of growth, however you’d like to interpret it. It is also the journey of education. Education comes from the latin educare, which means to draw out. The process of education, then, is the process of drawing out the Best Self, the Highest Self.
This reminds me, one of my other favorite answers to the question, “What do you do?” is, “I am student of life!” And I do plan to be forever a student, continuously educating myself, striving to draw out my Best Self. Of course, along the journey, as we become educated, teaching almost becomes inevitable. You can only hold so much knowledge / wisdom to yourself before you desire to share it with people! Also, I believe sharing what we have and who we are is definitely a part of us being our Best Selves.
The Best Self exists in community, giving, growing, and loving every moment of it. The spiritual journey is just the same. It’s a process of giving more and more, growing (via formal education, books, life experience, meditation, people, etc.), and as best you can, loving everyone and everything that exists exactly as it is, Here & Now.
If you’re unsure about the whole loving everyone and everything bit, consider this…
How do you know you’re not dreaming? If that’s the case, then you created the whole dream anyway. Everything in the dream represents a part of you.
Or…if you’re looking for more ‘informed’ insight…you can look to Deepak Chopra. He says, “See the universe as an extension of yourself.” It’s all you 🙂