Module 1 – Lesson 1
What is A Spiritual Journey?
In a spiritual story that I wrote entitled The King of the Fairies, there is a question that the Heroine Maggie McParland has to answer in order to return home from Fairyland.
This spiritual question (Quest-I-On) is, “What is the longest and shortest journey that you will ever take?” The answer is the spiritual journey from the head to the heart. This is the journey we will all take at some point.
It is a paradoxical journey in that ends in the revelation that we have always been what we are journeying toward. This is the revelation that ends the poem by T. S. Eliot entitled Little Gidding.
We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.—From Little Gidding —T. S. Eliot
The spiritual journey that is the longest and shortest journey can happen in an instant or it can be the journey of a lifetime that spirals from the head to the heart.
The purpose of this Beginner’s Guide to the Spiritual Journey is to prepare you for this descent from the overthinking separate personal mind into the heart where you access the transpersonal.
Let me begin by giving you four key aspects of this longest and shortest journey.
- The Journey Within.
- The Feminine Journey.
- The Experiential Journey and
- The Journey of Revelation and Insight.
The Journey Within
The spiritual journey is a unique kind journey. It is not a journey from A to B. One of the best symbols of the spiritual journey is the equidistant cross.
The equidistant cross is one of the five universal symbols found through all time and all cultures.
It represents the union of time and eternity. The horizontal aspect of the symbol represents time moving from past to present to future. The vertical aspect represents the eternal NOW. Human life is the intersection of the two.
The reason the Master Jesus Christ died on the cross was to symbolize the fact that to become spiritually awakened you have to die to the experience of time and realize your eternal nature. This is your spiritual nature.
This does not mean that you have to die physically, but it means that the key aspect of the inner journey is the dying into Life. This is the surrender of the personal sense of self to the union with the True Self. While it might appear rather uninviting all wisdom teachings assure us that this is the only real way to true fulfillment.
This is also my assurance to you.
The inner journey is a journey into the unknown but not the unknowable. It is a journey of trust and faith in the potential seeded within you that is created to be expressed through you and as you.
The Feminine Journey.
The spiritual journey is a journey of trust and allowing. It is a journey of letting go and surrender. It is not a journey of goal setting and achievement.
A Buddhist monk approached his teacher and asked the Zen Master, “If I meditate very diligently, how long will it take for me to become enlightened?”
The Master thought for a moment, and then replied, “Ten years.”
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast. How long then?”
The Master replied, “Well, then it will take twenty years.”
“But if I really, really work at it. How long then?” persisted the student.
“Thirty years,” said the Master.
“But I don’t understand,” said the disappointed student. “Each time I say I will work harder; you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”
The Master replied, “When you have one eye on the goal, you can only have one eye on the path.”
The paradox of the spiritual journey is that the less you do, the more it gives you. You learn the secret paradox that emptiness is fulfillment. Do not try to think your way into this kind of experience. It is not logical and your overthinking personal mind cannot grasp the magic of non-doing.
Trade logic for bewilderment – Rumi.
The Journey is Experiential
Being the experience is the way to learn how to become a spiritual revelation. The spiritual journey is different from the journey into religion. While the purpose of religion is to bind you to the KNOWING of your Divinity, the focus is on belief in God rather than the experience of God.
In fact, most religion does not teach you belief IN God which is experiential (having your life within Divine Consciousness) but teaches you to believe there is a God. This is usually some God outside yourself who will reward you given that you adhere to the teachings of the religion you subscribe too.
In the experience of this writer, most teachers of religion have never had an experience of awakening and so they are the blind leading the blind. The Master Jesus experienced this in his own time when he admonished the religious teachers of his day.
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. – Matthew 23:13
You can start the spiritual journey with the belief in the potential inherent in the teachings but do not become one who clings to the signposts and refuses to take the journey. This is the journey beyond belief into the KNOWING of who you are.
Journey of Insight
The spiritual journey is a journey of revelation and insight. It is a journey of insider seeing. This insider seeing is a way of using your mind rather than being used by the personal mind.
It is not so much a change of thought but a distinct way of thinking that allows the Universe to think through you. This is not thinking in words but in subtle energetic frequencies. These are higher frequencies.
These are the higher frequencies of enthusiasm and joy. You allow the Dance of Life to dance you. This is the experience of Presence moving through you. It is not you dictating to the Cosmos but being surrendered to how Love’s Message intends to express you within this limitation of embodied time and space.
This is an overview of what the spiritual journey involves. It is a journey that requires trust and courage (meaning to “enter the heart”)
Along the spiritual journey, you will be graced the experience of awakening that will allow you to know that you are blessed and can bless.
Here are some longer articles on this website that give you the additional information that will allow you to explore the question (Quest-I-On) “What is a Spiritual Journey.
Signs of Life – The Five Universal Shapes – Angeles Arrien
Awakening the Heart – 21 Ways to Follow Love’s Message – Tony Cuckson 4.6 star rating for book by this writer.