What Is The Spiritual Path?
For many years of my life, I thought the spiritual path had something to do with following one of the major world religions or pursuing an Eastern practice. I even thought it had something to do with morality and ethics.
Today my comprehension of the spiritual path has changed completely. Instead of the complexity of any of the disciplines to becoming a good person, I have found that the path is simple. In fact, some of the greatest atheists have followed it better than many theists. An example that comes to mind is the famous British Philosopher Bertrand Russell, who lived an impeccable life of wisdom, compassion, and grace..
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That is the spiritual path. Everything else--all the theology, philosophy, and practices--lead you to that singular ideal.
Physically, do you like to be murdered, wounded, beaten, or raped? Emotionally, do you like to be humiliated, disenfranchised, betrayed, abandoned, disrespected, alienated, and cast aside? Mentally, do you like to be cheated, swindled, lied to, vilified or misinformed?
Of course not. In fact, your whole body just cringes at the thought of such mishap.
Yet, this is what we do to others. If we are truly savage, we abuse others physically. If a little more sophisticated, we abuse others mentally and emotionally.
And in this process we abuse ourselves.
In actuality, there is no enemy, for we are all connected at the collective unconscious, and the misperception that “they” are different from “us” has been the historical cause of most human suffering. Often this abuse is perpetuated from the collective rules referred to as ethics and morality. What is ethical and moral is defined by who is making up the rules.
Yet the bell that tolls for another, also tolls for thee.
Why do we act in a way that injures others?
It is because we feel a deep void inside of us and we lash out like a wounded animal. We relate to the world from the wounds of apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, and pride. By striking out, however, we only deepen our own anguish. Although we are only trying to survive, we achieve only more peril.
A spiritual person, however, comes from a completely different perspective. He or she is motivated by feelings of courage, acceptance, and peace.
What does the spiritual path have to do with good psychology? Everything. A sound mind in a sound body.
Can the spiritual path be defined in an even simpler way? Yes. It can be defined as love.
When you love, love, love--you'll be happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise.
The opposite of grief, misery, and unending travail is the spiritual path. While many disciplines may lead to it, the heart will show you the way. Once we shed our habitual narcissism, then the way to courage, acceptance, and peace becomes possible.
About the Author
Saleem Rana, M.Sc., is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. His articles are appreciated by hundreds of people from around the world. He loves to share inspiration and motivation for personal development.
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