Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Paths

It seems that no matter how many choices of spiritual paths we have, there is always an appetite for opening new ways, new paths.

Today, it is easy for people to find a variety of teachers and paths. Just a couple of generations ago, a person's choice of spiritual paths was limited to mainstream churches and synagogues. Everything else was really underground or few and far between. Today without venturing far from home, a person can find Buddhist groups to study with, Hindu, Wiccan, Asatru, Druid, or other Pagan groups, Course in Miracles study groups, Native American teachers, Sufi, Muslim, Taoist, Santeria, Voodoo, Unity, Spiritual Science, Science of Mind, Religious Science, and a variety of new age groups.

There are also more loosely affiliated groups, such as those who gather for women's circles, new moon circles, full moon circles, sweats, drumming circles and other gatherings where people get an elevated feeling and sense of spiritual involvement without actually having to join anything specific or observe anything more than a few common courtesy rules.

Perhaps the largest number of people can be found under the category we would call eclectic. Why? Because people like the freedom and the ability to mix and match those things they feel fit best or work best for them.

Joining anything means that you must accept some rules. Every group has some kind of rules, whether you are interested in joining a coven, a Buddhist meditation group, a Hindu group, a Sufi group, a Voodoo group or a Native American study group. And some people, while they enjoy some of the activities and practices of any of these groups or many others that I did not name, prefer to just use the practices they like best and skip the rules or the official joining of anything.

So today, it is common to find people who may enjoy going to drumming circles, sweats, kirtan (Hindu chanting) pagan gatherings, circles, shamanic rituals or anything else they care to access without considering themselves a member of any one of them.

A person can take those practices and concepts that they find most useful and form their own new practice around them. Sometimes they may just practice solitary, alone in the privacy of their own home, with a partner, or open up to the possibility of forming a group of like minded people.

Freedom in this way means a lot to people today. How sweet it is when you can build a practice based on what works for you. No publicity or public actions are required. There are millions of people who have created such practices in the privacy of their own homes and they are perfectly happy to just keep it among themselves and their fellow participants. You will not find them in any directory of churches or religions. You won't even know what their practices are unless you know them personally and they choose to share it with you.

This is a beautiful time to be alive and experience all these possibilities. There may be a lot of other changes in the world at this time that people find bewildering, but creating your own spiritual path in your own home is something that you can control and you do not need to seek anyone else's permission in order to do it.

A benefit of such a choice is that you can begin to feel more centered in your own life, gain strength and clarity and rebuild your confidence so that it may be easier to come to grips with changes in the business world, the social world, with family, money and other issues. Practicing your spiritual path, no matter what it is, can help you form a clearer picture in your mind of how you want to interact with other people in all these other arenas.

Although many people will choose to keep their practice solitary, a unique spiritual practice can also lead to a connection with another person who shares your feelings and ideas and this could form the basis of a dynamic personal relationship for you as well. Sharing at this level is much more powerful than the techniques of dating that appear to be most dominant in our culture. You could share many dinners, drinks, movies, concerts, sporting events etc with someone without ever getting to know them as well as you do when sharing a spiritual rituals and spiritual practices. There are different foundations for forming relationships. You may find yourself working your way through the usual social formats before discovering common bonds in the spiritual realm, but then again, you have the freedom to change the order of the way things progress in your life.

There is a great deal of satisfaction in feeling that those things that you choose to study and practice as part of your spiritual path make sense to you. The opinions of outsiders do not matter. If what you are doing opens up pathways for you to interact with spirit, that is all that matters. If you can do that and feel the results that you are getting, that knowledge is the confirmation that your path is working and when you experiment with new techniques, you decide to either keep them or let go of them, based on your experience. This is why so many people have chosen to fashion their own spiritual path these days. It is one of the benefits of being alive on this planet at this time.