“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
– Ram Dass
A few weekends ago, my girlfriend and I decided to grab breakfast at one of our favorite spots downtown. Across the street from the restaurant, a new building was in the process of being built. Chicago is known for its architecture, so we always enjoy seeing new construction. As we walked down the sidewalk, I looked up and noticed a construction worker about 30 floors up, seemingly unphased that he was eye level with pigeons as they flew between buildings. I couldn’t spot any signs saying what the building was going to be, so we headed in and ordered our food.
Afterwards, we strolled back to the car and drove around the corner to search for a sign. We finally found an advertisement, promoting “Mindful Rental Living”. I hopped on my phone later in the day and found that they plan to have a “meditation garden”, but other than that I didn’t find anything particularly mindful about the place. I’m no expert on mindfulness, but the point is, spirituality has become big business. Mindfulness is just one of the many spiritual buzzwords that have been absorbed by companies, thrown around in marketing departments and plastered on billboards.
For the individual in search for their own spiritual path, this can be troublesome. We get pulled in every direction and we start to search outside of ourselves for answers. Companies are experts in persuasion, so its up to us as individuals to truly be mindful and use our awareness to see what is really happening.
Take it from Ram Dass, our spiritual paths are uniquely personal. We must follow our own truths and read our own hearts to find peace. When our culture is based on consumerism, its hard to convince ourselves that we don’t have to solely rely on outside sources for answers.
Follow teachers or teachings that feel close to your heart. As you go through the experience of life and learning, pay close attention to what arises along the way. Outside sources can be very useful, but allow your inside source to be your supporting guide. Your inner guide is like the rudder of a boat. As you recognize what is useful and what isn’t, use your rudder to move toward usefulness and what feels true to you.
A wise teacher will tell you that his or her purpose is to teach you how to be your own teacher. So before you move on to trying something new, put down the books, turn off the TV, close your eyes, and read your heart.