Spirituality is a deeply personal subject, different for everybody who experiences it. With so much conflicting information surrounding this subject (especially online), those who consider themselves beginners to spirituality can easily become overwhelmed.
There is no right way to practice or explore your spirituality. Ultimately, any decisions regarding your spiritual practice are completely yours and you should not feel pressured to take on anything which you do not feel comfortable with.
This article will cover some of the basics involved in starting a spiritual journey, as well as some things to avoid.
1. Find your roots
When it comes to researching spiritual practices, it’s important to consider your own cultural background. For a lot of people, discovering their family’s spiritual and religious background provides an easier route towards learning more about their own path.
Exploring your roots could also refer to establishing what is most important to you and what aspects of spirituality appeal to you naturally. Take time to sit and think about what brings you energy, and where your talents potentially lie.
Before getting stuck in, it’s crucial to research the basics of spirituality and the different kinds of practices available to you. Educate yourself on the differences between spirituality and witchcraft, and how to recognise and avoid disrespecting closed practices. For example, Santeria and Brujería are spiritual practices that aren’t open for everyone to join.
Although there seems to be an abundance of information online, avoid using online platforms as your main source of information. Sites such as TikTok, which hold a large and diverse spiritual community, are often filled with misinformation and harmful stereotypes. Engaging with spiritual literature will also help to boost your knowledge but be careful not to fall into the habit of only consuming information that agrees with your biases. An open mind is very important!
3. Let go of what doesn’t serve you
During your spiritual journey, you’ll be doing a lot of reflecting on your inner state. To prepare for the path ahead of you, acknowledge your unhealthy attachments, ideas, and behaviours in order to start working on them. Evaluate what you hang onto that should be let go. This could apply to physical belongings and even relationships with others.
Attempt to clear your living environment of unwanted possessions, as this will help to clear stagnant energy and invite clearer, calmer thinking.
4. Explore mindfulness
Mindfulness and meditation are important aspects of many spiritual practices. Regular meditation helps to quiet the mind and encourage introspection, while also providing physical benefits. Through meditation, a person can learn to be more present in their day-to-day, allowing them to make more conscious decisions about how they spend their energy and time.
Mindfulness is an easily researched topic that can help to regulate emotions and add intentionality into daily aspects of your life. I highly recommend The Mindful Universe by Mark Westmoquette which includes plenty of quick and easy mindfulness tasks.
5. Take care of yourself
Before committing to a routine or more spiritual way of life, ensure that you’re putting in the work to look after yourself physically and mentally. At any point, you can step back from research or practicing to focus on bettering yourself. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health and wellbeing.
As well as being great for your overall health, being in nature frequently provides the perfect opportunity to think, ground yourself and connect to the energy of the outside world. Kill two birds with one stone by being out in nature often.
6. Consider your options
When deciding to start a spiritual journey, some will commit to research about objects and tools that hold metaphysical properties. For example, collecting crystals, smoke-cleansing and methods of divination are things that a person can choose to take part in if they feel ready and called to it. However, you can be spiritual without any tools at all and should not feel pressured into feeling as though you need certain things to be valid in your practice.
There is no correct time to move from research to more active participation. The one tool I would reccomend for all beginners is a book in which to keep your ideas, thought processes, and general progress. They’re perfect for daily journaling too!
“Don’t compare your path to anybody else’s. Your path is unique to you.”Ram Dass
Brig spoke to University of Stirling students to get their opinion on the most important steps when starting out in spirituality:
“What is the most important step towards starting a spiritual journey?”
Hannah C, second year:
“When I say I’m spiritual I’m not even sure I know what I mean, it’s more of a feeling, a connection that I feel to the universe, to nature. I can’t pin point when this started either, the need to connect with something on a deeper level, to believe in something but I think it happened when I started healing from trauma. Spirituality comes in many forms, and it means something different to everyone, your spiritual journey is a long one, but it is worth it. It’s important to have an open mind and allow your body and mind to tell you what it needs. When starting on your spiritual journey you will learn to let go of a lot, and it isn’t easy at the start but it happens with time, letting go is essential for connecting with something new.”
Nelli P, second year:
“In my opinion, the most important step is to find what you truly believe in. When first starting out, it can be easy to go along with everything you see online and while it is good to experiment with different paths and practices, it is important to ask yourself what actually fits your world view and makes sense to you. The great thing about spirituality is it’s not dogmatic and you can tailor your path to your beliefs and needs, there’s no absolute truth.”
Aysun B, second year:
“My beginning in spirituality was a humble one. I was very agnostic and thought that a lot of spiritual things were absolute humbug. However, through research, practice and some paranormal experiences, I have learned that the most important thing is to be brave and open towards everything. There are so many aspects in life that we know so little about. Acknowledging that and even embracing it can be powerful. After the first excitement of getting into spirituality fades you usually get into the harder parts of it. Things like facing your own demons, which can be hard. Traits that we dislike in other people often mirror our own insecurities within. There is always something new to learn, it can be overwhelming at times. Writing down what you want from this can help a lot. This is your journey so make it your own and do what feels right.”
No matter how you choose to persue a spiritual journey, it will take time and consistency to get comfortable in your practice. There is no correct way to be spiritual, take pleasure in making it your own!
Featured Image Credit: Conscious Design