A spiritual journey is a path of self-expression and transformation. It is the path that takes you to a new dimension. Life becomes more enjoyable and meaningful as you embark on this path. Spirituality is completely different from religion. Even if you are not religious you can still be spiritual. Spirituality helps you to evolve as a soul.
Don’t worry, you don’t even have to leave your home and go to the mountains to become spiritual. This article will make things simple for you. Grab a cup of coffee as we are going to explore the spiritual journey and how you can start one.
What is a spiritual journey?
Have you ever felt void in your life without being able to pinpoint the reasons? Do you believe in a reason for existence? If you are a person who believes there is much more in life than the regular cycle of work-eat-sleep-entertainment, maybe you have a separate path to travel. Those who are about to have spiritual experiences will often have questions in their minds. A spiritual journey is a path of a soul from self-awareness to the quest of spirituality to getting connected with the divine consciousness.
Going on a spiritual journey
Most people have this idea that a spiritual journey is an ego-driven path chosen by an individual. In reality, the spiritual journey is a quest to learn the deeper meanings of life. In a philosophical perspective, our entire life is a spiritual journey. All the experiences we have, things we learn, people we meet, our hurts, passions, happiness, and pain, altogether constitute our spiritual journey.
Even if you do not choose a particular spiritual path, still the journey of living will teach your soul valuable lessons. Our start and finish points are never the same. Between life and death, our soul goes through a transformation process even if it’s only a little for a soul in one lifetime. Through several births, a soul will gradually improve. Finally, every soul fully awakens and gets enlightenment in one final birth before uniting with the Higher Power.
If you have experienced the dark night of the soul, you must be having a lot of questions running in your mind. You want to dig deeper and want some answers. If you are going through such a phase, set an intention towards finding answers to some of those questions appearing in your mind about your existence and purpose.
Some people think it’s selfish to start a journey such as this. But honestly, it is not only beneficial for you but others when you go on a spiritual journey. Why? Because you become a better person. You become wiser, calmer, kind, empathetic, patient and a loving person.
If you make a conscious decision to start a spiritual journey don’t be afraid of what others remark on it. Not everyone will understand your urge. Even your family or friends might not grasp why you need to delve into this lone path. Maybe you will start meditative practices, take guidance from a guru or want to go on a solo travel like Elizabeth Gilbert who later compiled her experiences into a lovely memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Your spiritual quest can open up new opportunities, unravel a new career path, and bring new people into your life. Simply put, be ready for change. As you leap into your spiritual journey you will have to learn new things and also unlearn old patterns. You might change your food habits, thoughts, and ingrained behaviors. Be prepared to even change some of your friends – few of them would leave on their own and few you have to part with.
Going on a spiritual journey means an upheaval. It could be painful at times because we are creatures of habits. Drastic changes might scare you. We do not want to leave our comfort zones. This is why we cling on to the same job even when we hate it, hang out with friends who are toxic and continue a relationship with an abuser. We stay in pain because we are familiar with that.
But when you step into a spiritual quest, be prepared for so many life changes. You will feel discomfort and displeasure at times but remember nothing great happens unless you step out of your comfort zone!
Be ready for a grand transformation in your body, mind and soul.
Where to start on your spiritual journey?
Before starting on a spiritual journey, understand that each person has a unique path. Each soul has a different purpose to achieve. You should not try to emulate someone else’s path even if they inspire you. If you are going through the Dark Night phase eventually you will be shown a path.
But if you are just concerned about your wellbeing and want to start your spiritual journey, start with self-reflection. Spend time alone and deeply reflect on your life. Meditation is always a great step towards spirituality. You can also start journaling and doing prayers.
How to start a spiritual journey?
Most of us have misconceptions around spiritual journey. Some of us think you have to be religious to have a spiritual practice. Others are skeptical and associate spirituality with some kind of madness and hallucinations. Spirituality is sometimes linked to out-of-body experiences, being preachy and living alone.
The books confuse us more. There are so many approaches with each guru claiming his way as the only right way towards the spiritual journey. The question that arises is – how to start a spiritual journey? Is it even possible to start this journey in the modern world we live in? For, it’s not possible for everyone to leave their jobs, homes and family and start living like a recluse.
The thing to do before starting a spiritual journey is to think about the following 5 factors.
• Find the reason
Why do you want to start a spiritual journey? Is it because you read about it in a magazine and it seemed to be a cool idea? Or are you interested in finding some answers to life. Maybe you want to improve your entire life. Or it could be that you had suffered a lot and now you want to recreate your life.
Be honest with yourself and find out why you actually want to start living spiritually. The stronger your reason the easier would be for you to stick to a spiritual practice.
• There is no one perfect way
Spiritual gurus insist that their way is the only right way to become spiritual. But, in reality there is no one such way. Also, it differs from person to person. Some people keep a gratitude journal that gives them a deep spiritual meaning. For others it is a form of yoga or meditation.
Few others find spiritual connection in solo travels. Still others might form a deep spiritual connection through service to others. Music can be the source of spirituality for some.
Remember there is no one perfect way. It would be different from person to person. Also, it can change over the years. Maybe you do not like meditation now. But after a few years it can give you solace. Also, forms of meditative practices could change as you mature.
Don’t overthink. Start your spiritual journey with a purpose and try to fulfill that. It could be with reading spiritual books. Yes, that is also a way to start a spiritual journey. Just begin somewhere. Start small for the matter but it’s good enough to get started.
• Consistency is the key
Just like any other practice, spiritual practice also becomes better as you do it every single day. If you decide to do meditation, do it even for 10 minutes every morning. Whatever you have decided, keep doing it on a daily basis.
• Practice solitude
All great things in the world started in someone’s solitude. The great artists, musicians, writers, academicians, scientists, change-makers have all conceived their ideas in aloneness. When you start your spiritual journey, spend some time only with yourself. And this does not include the times you watch Netflix or browse your mobile phone.
This is a time for self reflection. It could be the time for meditative practices, or journaling thoughts or just walking alone on the beach. Allow your mind to be comfortable in your own company.
• Find like-minded people
One of the easiest ways to stay committed to your spiritual path is by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. No, you don’t even have to hang out with them! Join Facebook groups and other virtual communities for spiritual practices. Or, if you join a yoga class your new friends might support your spiritual path.
12 Steps to a Spiritual Journey
Spiritual journey is a journey of self discovery. It can take an entire lifetime for a complete spiritual transformation to take place. Usually, the initial stages in a spiritual journey are challenging for most people. In the beginning you have to struggle but after that your journey will become smooth and enjoyable.
Here are the 12 stages of our spiritual journey.
Step 1: Life falls apart
The first stage of a spiritual journey always starts with chaos. There is a lot of drama in your life. You might lose your job, your health might be at stake, old friendships could turn sour, or your romantic partner can split with you. Simply put, you are in hell. Or so you think.
The more you try to solve your problems, the more you are entangled in them. Life seems unfair. For some people, life-shattering experiences like near-fatal accidents, death of a loved one, betrayal by a close person, or huge financial crisis occurs. You literally feel your life is falling apart. But in reality things are shaking and moving so that what’s old and unnecessary should go away from your life. It’s making space for the new stuff that you need.
You will feel miserable and frustrated at this stage. Many people suffer from depression and even might take therapy and medication. But none of these can permanently solve your problem. They act as Band-Aids to your deep wounds. You need to heal but you are not yet aware of the process.
Step 2: Solitude
To get the wisdom we must discover ourselves. Therefore, you enter the phase of solitude. The materialistic world does not attract you anymore. You don’t like to associate with your peers anymore. Because you don’t resonate with their words and vibes. It is a phase of soul-searching. You spend time in nature, simply sit and journal your thoughts, start a meditation practice etc. In this phase you do some quiet self-reflection. A lot of spiritual questions arrive in your mind. You feel restless because you have never thought so deeply before.
Step 3: Seeking for answers
On the third step, you try to find answers to your questions. You start reading a lot, attend self-improvement seminars, listen to a number of spiritual gurus or even start investing in courses, workshops etc. In this phase you are aware that life is much deeper than we think. There is more to it. And you want to find out exactly what life is in real. You are determined to find the missing piece of the puzzle.
Step 4: Need for deep conversations
Shallow talks bore you at this point. You are indifferent towards the regular conversations at your office or friendly gatherings. Because now you do not find pleasure in gossip, back-biting, complaining and all such negative stuff. You feel the need for deep conversations but you don’t know many people in your life you can discuss your ideas with. At this point you start building a spiritual community with new friends and acquaintances.
Step 5: Going into a process of self development
When you enter the fifth step you are in a process of self development. It feels good learning about spiritual practices, laws of attraction, and reading books on personal growth. In this stage you want to receive wisdom from several people. You start practicing the spiritual laws of success. As a result, some improvement does take place in your career.
Step 6: Identify the need to proceed in a spiritual path
Going through so many books and listening to so many spiritual teachers is now becoming overwhelming for you. At this stage, you want to stick to one spiritual practice. What you seek now is simply the journey.
In this phase you start to look for a guru or one such person who can guide you on your spiritual quest. At the end of this phase, you find the right spiritual path for yourself.
Step 7: Start a spiritual practice
On the seventh stage you begin a spirituality practice. Now, you are more confident and focused because you have identified your spiritual goals. For each person the spiritual journey is unique. So, it’s crucial to recognize your goals. You do that in this phase and start a spiritual practice, maybe a form of meditation etc.
Step 8: Change of mindset
As you are entering your spiritual path a change of mindset happens. There is a huge shift in your thoughts and feelings. You let go of your past conditioning as you become spiritually mature. In this phase you focus on true happiness and dwell on the present moment. In this step you identify your life purpose.
People on the eighth spiritual step make several changes in their life at this point. It could be career related, romantic life related or something else but changes are going to happen fast at this phase. Also, as you seek spiritual enlightenment, you become more compassionate and kind towards others. So, a big personality change is going to happen as well.
Step 9: A holistic lifestyle
In the ninth step, you start living a holistic lifestyle. Most people turn vegan at this point, or at least they bring some healthy changes to their diet. You make shifts in your routine to enrich your body, mind and soul.
Step 10: Encourage others
Now that you are nourishing your body, mind and spirit, you are becoming calm and soft-hearted. You want others to make some changes in their lives as well. Although you are a high-vibe person now, you are not scared of other people’s low vibrations. You encourage people in your life to implement changes in their lifestyle. In the tenth step you become a loving soul who wants other people to be happy as well.
Step 11: Service to others
Now that you are becoming better as a soul, you are determined to make a positive impact in the world. Once you were lost and have experienced terrible pain. Now that you are wise, you want to help others. You make an intention to bring value to the world. It seems that it is your duty to be of service to others.
Step 12: Spiritual advancement
This is the final step in your spiritual journey. This is when a path opens to you for spiritual development. Obviously, it differs from person to person how much they would advance in one lifetime. Only few become spiritually enlightened but most others will mature a lot and proceed in their spiritual path.
If you have chosen a branch of yoga or a form of meditation, you will start to advance in the practice now. Spiritual advancement is not a phase you just step into. It is a true spiritual process that will need determination and persistent efforts for a long time.
7 Stages of spiritual development
Embarking on a spiritual path does not happen abruptly. It takes time to evolve into a spiritual being. This is most often a lone journey and it takes us from sadness, anxiety, fear, pain, and limitation to passion, empathy, love, connectedness and abundance.
It has been recognized that spiritual development takes place through seven phases. These seven phases correspond to seven spiritual points that transform us into a completely evolved being. The change processes involve the body, mind and spirit. It is said that a person on the advanced stages of spiritual development experiences paradigm shifts.
Each of the stages of spiritual growth can take time. Also, some can move from one phase to another quite quickly while for the others it could take an ample amount of time. The key is to focus on your development and not compare with others.
A brief review of the seven stages of spiritual development:
Stage I: Identification
Something shifts internally. You start to become aware of the void in your life. In the first phase of spiritual development, most people experience the dark night of the soul. You have questions in your mind, you think deeply and there is a yearning in your soul. This is the phase in which you go through painful realizations, frustrations, depression and hurts.
Suddenly, you observe that you are alone even in a crowd. Life seems to have a deeper meaning but you feel restless as you cannot grasp what it is. You become aware that until this time you were not aware of your potential.
Now your mind becomes more aware and you start seeing the world in a different light. Your mind relentlessly works on aspects you never imagined you will ever think about.
Life seems to be meaningless at certain times. Again, it appears to have a lot of meaning beyond our scope of understanding. You want to make a change even if you are not sure what it is and how to start.
Stage II: Breaking Loose
After the development of awareness in the first stage, you become a bit courageous. In the second stage you start to take charge of your life. You realize that you have to step out of your comfort zone to live life fully. In this phase you start fighting with fear and anxiety. You start breaking the chains and losing the grips of all limiting beliefs.
Stage III: Claiming your Power
This is the stage when you get a taste of freedom for the very first time in your life. You realize your true potential. New paths open to you with new possibilities. As you are more aware now you become the boss of your life. You claim your right to live the way you were born to live!
In this phase, you start doing new things because you know you are unique. You may even change your career. Your friends and family might complain that – “You are so different now!”
In this stage, you start exploring new possibilities. You might start dressing differently, flaunt a new hairstyle, pursue new interests, make new friends, and so on. There would be a definite change in your whole personality and thinking process. You might change your food habits, move to a different place, change your job, implement drastic lifestyle changes etc.
Your old friends might be shocked because they will find you completely different from how you used to be. In this phase, you will become a completely new person.
Stage IV: Embracing Yourself
From a self-critical person, you start to shower yourself with some level of love. This is the path towards self-love. You start accepting yourself wholeheartedly. This is when magic happens. You are now more aware of your potential. The limiting beliefs around you start fading away and you shine like never before.
Now you are a compassionate person. You do not judge others easily because you are aware that people are at different levels of understandings and paradigms. This is a phase when you start forgiving others. It is the phase, you start working on yourself. You start practicing meditation, do a lot of gratitude, listen to motivational podcasts and read a lot of books on spirituality and self-development.
As a combined effect to your new practices, you start attracting kindred spirits in your life. The new people who will enter your life now are far more encouraging and empowering than the existing people in your life. You can as well manifest your Soulmate on this phase!
This is a phase when good things start happening with you. Opportunities and all the good stuff just draw towards you as if you are a magnet! Life starts to become more fulfilling from this phase onwards.
Stage V: Self Expression
Now that you have started being self aware and practicing self love, you express yourself better. Even if you are an introverted person, you will begin to uphold your ideas and talents to the world. At this point you start doing things you are passionate about, things you always wanted to do but didn’t do it for whatsoever reasons. But now is the time to do those things you have a natural talent in.
In this phase, most people feel free to showcase their creative talents. You might be writing or sketching or learning a musical instrument or practicing some kind of art. It’s not that you have to choose art as a career, but you will pursue some form of art at this phase.
Also, the goal is not becoming a great artist (although it could be for some) it’s expressing your inner self. In whatever form, art enables us to do that. Art frees our minds and allows us to recognize our inner essence. It helps us to bond with the eternal power that flows within and without. Creativity is a way of connection to the Source energy.
Stage VI: Intentionally Creating Value in the World
In the sixth phase you develop a strong urge to contribute to the world and its people. You want to genuinely help others. As a result, you find one or many ways to serve mankind. Maybe you associate yourself with a great cause or personally contribute towards wellbeing of other humans. You offer your money, service, and time towards building a better world.
Stage VII: The transcendence
This is the final stage of spiritual development in which you become aware of your mind and soul. You realize how the manifestation process works and the power of your own thoughts and feelings. In this phase you go through a 360° transformation. Now you are living the life you were meant to live.
You have taken accountability of your own life because you have realized that you are a creator! Life becomes harmonious as you start abiding the laws of the universe.
Spiritual Journey Books
While on a spiritual journey you need some great books that awaken your soul. A great read can change your perspective. At whatever stage of spiritual development you might be, the following spiritual books will be of great help. We have combined a list of books written by spiritual leaders and great yogis. These books can start to awaken your personal power.
Here’s a list of 10 best Spiritual journey books.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
The Good Life: What Jesus teaches About Finding True Happiness by Dr. Derwin L. Gray
Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
Divine Love: Awakening Unity Consciousness by Shivana Pateras
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
Purana Purusha by Dr. Ashoke Kumar Chatterjee
Spiritual journey quotes
Here are 10 inspirational quotes about spiritual journeys.
1. “The state in which the knower, known, knowledge become one that only is the state of science. This is the true devotion or true knowledge.”--Lahiri Mahasaya
2. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”--Lao Tzu
3. “You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.”--Deepak Chopra
4. “True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection.”--Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul
5. “It is not the length of life, but the depth.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. “A life without a lonely place, that is, without a quiet center, becomes destructive.”--Henri Nouwen
7. “Where there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe.”--Tao teaching
8. “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”--Dalai Lama
9. “Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”--Marianne Williamson
10. “Turn your wounds into wisdom.”--Oprah Winfrey
Most of us are living our lives without reflecting on it. Life sometimes throws on us such turbulences that we are forced to question our existence. Spiritual path is something most people do not seek unless they have no choice.
Hardships often lead us to the path of spiritual growth. You start a spiritual life after encountering lots of struggle and pain. Eventually, when you start a spiritual life and experience a spiritual awakening process, you realize that your pain was indeed your greatest teacher.
Ishita is a published author, poet and freelance writer. Being an avid reader from early childhood, she has always loved books more than anything else in the world! At the start of her career, she has worked in the corporate as well as the academic sector being a double master's degree holder - M.Sc and MBA. But now she is a fulltime writer. She believes words have immense power and writers can make a huge impact in the world! She wants to bring positivity into the lives of the readers through her association with TheMindFool.