There are two different ways to learn: one is through study and one is through experience. I have always been more inclined towards experience. When given the opportunity to learn I typically prefer to just get out there and feel what is going wrong, even though that might mean learning the wrong things first. Even if it is wrong, it is still learning.
While out on my morning walk today the same idea came over me with regards to developing my intuition and spirituality. I have been asked many times how to further develop one's spirituality and intuition. People get so excited when they realize that they have the ability to be spiritual, as well as how powerfully that can affect your life, that they want to dive head first into it. I love that I am able to assist in this understanding and guide people into this untapped power, but when asked this question I freeze and feel rather sheepish because I never really knew the answer. I never perceived that I had "studied" the metaphysical at all.
"Chelsea, How do you know as much as I do?"
"Ummmmm, I just do?" (getting red with embarrassment for answering such as powerful question with such a pathetic answer
I have only read a few books and I have not been to very many workshops, but we live in a world that tends to judge one on the certifications they have. You don't tend to gain merit from meditation and long journeys in the woods, but you do from reading this "highly acclaimed expert"'s book. For a long time I held some silent judgment towards myself for this, my lack of experience with experts, classrooms and books. I believed that my wisdom was less valid than other's wisdom because I had nobody to quote, no big names to throw around when discussing my spiritual evolution. As much as I felt down on myself about this, I also feel repelled when people start throwing around the names of the people that they have studied with. To me, doing this is akin to driving around town in a Mercedes-Benz believing that this somehow means that you have done a better job at life. Just because you have studied with an expert does not actually mean shit, who knows how much you actually absorbed from this person to assist in this evolutionary process. More importantly, taking on someone else's wisdom does no mean that you are wise.
Please don't get me wrong, I am in now way turning my nose up to workshops, training programs and books, but I do however think it is really important to know the limitations of them. Books can describe what it's like to stand on top of the Himalayas, looking at Mt Everest, but they cannot give you the feeling of all that you take in from that experience. Spiritual guidance cannot replace spiritual exploration.
Spirituality itself is the connection of yourself, to yourself and the divinity of the world around you. The key word is "you". Spiritual guidance is a great place to start, it is also a great place to check in with from time to time to help you formulate certain ideas and understandings. I do not believe that all spiritual leaders are necessarily more spiritual than you, as much as they are really good at putting into words and explaining what it means to be spiritual. They've done a lot of the legwork to getting where they are able to sufficiently explain it all, so you can start with their understandings to help develop your own spiritual temple. It's like using their words as the structural frame, but you still need to put up the walls, floors and roof. You can take their words, but not their experience. Also, something that's important to keep in mind, humanity has been around for a very long time so frankly no ideas are actually original anymore. So to say that you took these ideas from this "expert," is quite false. You may have taken the phrasing from the expert, but the ideas are something that exist in the universe for anyone to take.
Another shortcoming of the spiritual book worm is what is considered it's greatest strength: the mind. The mind is an incredible gift that humanity has, it gives us the ability to consciously connect to the world and develop ourselves more than any other race on this planet. As expansive as this is, it has some serious drawbacks, most importantly the fact that the mind and the Soul don't quite operate on the same levels, so if you are using your mind then you are not fully using your Soul. If you want to advance spiritually you have to use your Soul. That which the Soul perceives, the mind often cannot understand. When we read and listen to spiritual text, we are limiting ourselves to the narrow frame of the mind. When we start getting out there and Being, then our Soul turns on and we start feeling and sensing what all of those books are actually talking about.
This brings me back to my original point, all of my greatest "ah-ha" awakenings have come either out in nature or while traveling the world. The interactions between myself and the world that I live in have given me the greatest moments of spiritual exploration and understanding. Books have been wonderful, so have workshops, they have helped me to frame and reason all that I feel, but if I hadn't experienced it then there would have been nothing to frame. Books gave me the chest to put all of my jewels into. This is because when you are living, eyes wide open and your sensors on hyper drive you have the ability to take in so much. I often feel excited and overwhelmed because I am processing and feeling so much more than my mind can wrap it's head around. I try to think about it, but there is so much going on that often because I can finish thinking and reasoning one part of the awakening, my mind has already forgotten what is next. This is a very clear example to me of how small the mind actually is, because if I just let things be my Soul would take in all of the wisdom, but if I start thinking about it it starts to fragment and disappear again.
So how do you develop your own spirituality? Experience. Get out there and live the heck out of your life. Think less, speak less, move and let yourself be. You can take in so much more when you are allowing wisdom to come in through your pores instead of just your ears. Yes, use the readings, workshops, books and talks to help you better understand all that you are experiencing, but remember that God/Spirit is your greatest guide, your greatest teacher. More importantly, remember that God/Spirit is within YOU. Therefor, You are your greatest teacher.
Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.