I’ve been interacting with a lot of folks recently who have expressed an interest in spirituality, but don’t know where to start. They respect and admire others who seem to be ‘spiritual’ people, and yearn for that connection in their own lives, but they say they don’t know what ‘spirituality’ means to them.
On the one hand , I think that ‘spirituality’ is one of the most subjective words in the books; a personal word whose definition only you know. And at the same time, there have been spiritual traditions throughout human history that seem to point to similar themes and ways of being.
If you are interested in exploring and deepening your connection to spirituality and further defining that word for yourself, below are 20 gateways (in no particular order) that I have discovered through a variety of means to be imperative on my own path.
1. Intimacy. Lose yourself in another person’s eyes — Share your whole being with another human.
2. Earnestly questioning the nature of reality — Is reality a simulation? Does magic exist? Do my thoughts affect reality?
3. Connecting with something Greater — Connect with God, Life, Nature, a religion/beliefset, a community, a cult, a sports-team.
4. Deconstructing your sense of self — Use tools of inquiry (meditation, acting, roleplaying) to see through the mirage of self.
5. Identifying with different parts of your consciousness — Do you usually identify as your thoughts? Or as the thinker of your thoughts? Can you identify as your sensations? As the observer of your thinker, thoughts, and sensations?
6. Being intentional with your awareness — Where do you tend to put your awareness? Where else can you put it?
7. Presence — Lose yourself in flow-states of NOWness and passion.
8. Beauty — What does a gorgeous pond or breathtaking song touch in you?
9. Interconnectedness — Think about how many different human hands were involved in the components of your breakfast. Inquire into how far each action of your’s ripples outward.
10. Cultivating qualities of heart — Gratitude. Joy. Kindness. Love. Happiness at others’ happiness. Compassion. Forgiveness.
11. Living virtuously — study how honesty, integrity, loyalty, courage, and trustworthiness feel in you.
12. Contemplating death — The unavoidable teacher.
13. Intuition, desire, wisdom — What is it in you that knows what you want? What would happen if you followed that feeling without question?
14. Increasing sensitivity — Feel vibes and ambiances with greater nuance. Connect with other humans with greater subtlety.
15. Noticing the feeling of truth — Sometimes life feels true, and the mind has no idea why. Pay attention to that.
16. Letting go of control — Find spaces to relax deeply, surrender fully, and trust that it’ll be okay. This could be in a sauna, or while your partner handcuffs you to the bedframe, or while your mom gives you a long hug.
17. Unrepressing your expression — Locate places of shame and express what’s hidden. Find safe spaces to emote feelings you’ve never touched before.
18. Connecting with Purpose — Touch into the part of you that must give to humanity, that must express its gifts, that must fully serve its destiny.
19. Creativity — Dance, sing, paint. Let your self turn off and allow creativity to flow through you.
20. Moving towards fear — Find what you’re most afraid of. Then do that thing. All of life’s magic is on the other side of your deepest fears.