January 30, 2016

Understanding the Spiritual Path: What is It & Why Do We Need It?


Spirituality is hard to pin down.

Words often fail me when I try to conceptualize spirituality, because it is simply a massive dimension.

Those who have intentionally leapt into that dimension, however, were triggered by particular events, emotions, or traumas. On the other hand, there are people who are already walking down the spiritual path without even realizing it.

In my own experience, it started with a trauma that had me questioning, “Who am I, what am I doing here, and what is my purpose?”

Those particular questions led me to embark on a journey of finding out more about myself, my purpose and about the universe I am living in.

Throughout the years, I’ve had interactions with plenty of people who were asking the exact same questions. After long scrutiny, I came to realize that the spiritual path is an inevitable path that our beings are destined to walk.

But everyone walks this path differently.

The other day, as I was watching the sunset from the window, my mother came and stood next to me. She kept looking at the two trees that were right in front of us. She truly baffled me. I asked her why she was looking at the trees while a breathtaking sunset was taking place right behind them.

She said, “Do you know that it’s been years that I’ve been watching those trees? During the summer months, they take on the shape of a person. In the fall, they shed their leaves and create more space for us to see the sunset better. Watching them go through a constant process of evolution allows me to contemplate life’s inevitable cycles of living and dying.”

Words failed me when she said this.

It has been more than ten years that I have watched the sunset through that window, but I never really paid any attention to the trees.

I then considered why she wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. But it was just that she had her own way of being spiritual. We perceived things differently, but both observations led to the same understanding.

Some of us experience the spiritual path through music, others through meditation. Nature, for instance, serves as a significant medium to live spirituality.

And so, we ask ourselves, “What does the spiritual path truly mean?”

You see, if I were to put this path into words, I would say that it’s a path that consists of looking inward. Anything that allows us to become in tune with the universe—and our being—is spiritual.

Since we were kids, we’ve been accustomed to looking outward. We knew that our purpose is to grow and to evolve somehow. Sarcastically, we grew in education, business and affairs related to money. We basically evolved on the materialistic and worldly path, rather than the spiritual one.

Thankfully, some of us awaken.

We basically awaken when we realize that the physical realm hasn’t brought about any long-term personal satisfaction and that we are far more than physical beings.

And so, we delve into the spiritual sea that presents to us a clearer understanding about life, the universe and one’s self. We become connected to greater things that allow us in return to connect to everyone and everything around us.

Through deeds that are filled with love and kindness, we connect to other human beings and to other living things.

From here, we can say that the spiritual path is a set of experiences that lets us unfold answers bit by bit and aids us at becoming better human beings. We are transformed into seekers who wish to unravel the truth about life and its enigmas.

Spirituality is not about believing in a certain deity or religion.

I know many religious people who I consider not to have the slightest understanding about life or about themselves. On the other hand, I know many atheists who are far more spiritual than any religious man I know of. In some cases, however, religion can serve as a stepping stone to spirituality and it happens to be that there are some religious people who can be spiritual too.

However, the spiritual path isn’t an easy one. It is an arduous path that has its own ups and downs that leave us at times baffled and restless.

In the past, I quit that path so many times because I loathed failing. I consistently aimed at seeing an end result. I believed that I am on the road X and will reach the road Y, where I believed true success lived.

But then I understood that this path isn’t an actual path that leads to a destination. There is no road Y. The path itself “is” the destination.

Every step that we walk is part of an ongoing quest that has no particular ending. Our inner transformation is an endless development that knows no limits.

The spiritual path is not a path which we can quit or leave because we are simply destined to walk it and when we do, we realize that our own essence is spiritual and this is when we ascertain that our development is indeed limitless for we are as vast as the universe itself.

And though we will be faced with plenty of questions along the way, bit by bit we will come to notice the abundance of our spiritual capabilities.

We might ponder the question, “why do I we need it?”

Having asked that question countless times before, I can say that we will know the worth of needing it only when we experience stepping out of it.

We will come to realize that it is the food for our souls.

It is only through spirituality that we are able to attune to the higher energies, the mysterious and the hidden of the universe.

We need it because we need to become better at dealing with ourselves (first), then with life and with others. We need it because we need to question everything. Because without spirituality, we would only be persons made of flesh and bones, eating, drinking, spending money, and enjoying transient, worldly pleasures.

We shouldn’t fail to remember that it’s not about the amount of years that we live, but it’s more about “how” we live whatever years we have left.

And it is only through the spiritual path that we can make those years truly remarkable.

Dig deep to know what can transport you to that path and do it. Be it a sunset or a couple of trees, never refrain from doing it.



3 Teachings that are Right in Front of Us, if only We’d Look.


Author: Elyane Youssef

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

Image: Pilottage/Flickr

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