a candle in your heart,
ready to be
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be
You feel it, don't you?
Most people in the modern world have resigned themselves to a
clichéd existence, indulging in endless distractions...
They go through life
with a minimal or pseudo-faith and avoid grasping the
emptiness of their lives.
They are endlessly
haunted by the shallowness of their relationships, neurotic
issues, and inescapable loneliness.
And yet there's so much more to us as a species than what we
You and I carry the most
mysterious and magnificent qualities within us imaginable, yet we
unknowingly guard and protect the great gift that is our Souls from
It's so easy for us to
feel meaningless when we perceive ourselves as mere cogs in
The truth is that,
We are much more than
slaves of '9 to 5' jobs.
We are capable of
creating deeply meaningful, mystical, and fulfilling lives.
We are capable of
finding our true calling and personal destiny.
For centuries the
indigenous people throughout the world have known that to fully
depths of the Soul we must venture
into a spiritual journey of the unknown darkness within
In many ancient cultures they had Elders and
Shamans to encourage and oversee these journeys
toward a deeper spiritual existence.
Sadly, these days in our
own culture, we have lost such sacred rites and rituals.
orthodox religion has replaced
living spirituality with a theoretical god, dismissing, and
outlawing personal experimentation and union with the Divine.
In this article, my aim
is to help you start your spiritual journey.
To do that, it's
important that you understand the three parts of the spiritual
journey, and also the stages to creating a sacred and personal
People have felt a pull toward something greater than themselves
since the beginning of time.
Ancient cultures had
many stories that served to illustrate the journey to fulfilling
one's destiny and experiencing Wholeness or Enlightenment.
mythologist Joseph Campbell described as the "Calls to
A call to adventure is something we all experience at least
once in life.
When we embark on
this adventure, we begin the process of gaining
self-understanding and reclaiming our precious Soul gifts.
The archetype of the
hero/heroine discovering their true spiritual nature goes back
thousands of years:
the Greek's told
the story of Orpheus who descended into the
underworld to rescue his bride Eurydice from
the Nordic people
had their hero-warrior Beowulf
Inanna who battled
her sister in the dark world
Throughout history, there
have been so many stories of individuals who have struggled through
hardship to find themselves.
But, of what importance
are they to our path?
Essentially, these heroes symbolize our spiritual journeys:
of leaving everything
familiar behind, entering the unknown, encountering countless
unconscious monsters, and finally returning back home with a
sense of renewed fulfillment and wisdom...
The 3 Worlds
of the Spiritual Journey
breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to
You must ask for
what you really want.
Don't go back to
People are going
back and forth
doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is
round and open.
Don't go back to
At some point in life we all experience the "call to adventure."
Often our journeys start
when we experience sudden spiritual awakenings or the
Dark Night of the Soul. Often
without wanting to, we are cast onto the path of Soul expansion.
Like you, I have wandered these paths and have at times wound up
lost and confused.
For this reason, I find it useful to map out the
spiritual journey in a way that helps the human mind know where it
is, and where it will go next.
My Andean ancestry speaks of
three worlds that we can experience
the Upper World (Hanaq
the Middle World
the Lower World (Ukhu
In many traditions and
mythologies, these three worlds correspond to the different
realms of Self.
The Upper World is
the home of Spirit, the Underworld the home of Souls, and the
Middle World is the home of the physical body and human ego.
Different practices and
techniques are used in each of the three realms to help us
spiritually mature and rediscover joy, peace, and wholeness.
Below I'll explore each of these realms with you:
Purpose: Personality development
In our everyday lives, we function within the middle world. The
middle world is responsible for our ego development, and yet
many people on the spiritual path ignore this vital element of
Without developing a
healthy personality, our spiritual growth reaches a dead end.
In life, we all begin within the middle world, or physical
realm. As children and teenagers we go through various years of
personality change and growth.
Finally, as adults,
we all have developed unique personalities. Yet many of us fail
to continue our self-development, getting lost in corporate jobs
and the pursuit of money, status, and fame.
The goal of the middle world path is to develop a healthy
personality or ego. Tasks
involved in this process include the exploration of core
emotional wounds, self-love, and the cultivation of
A healthy adult ego
will be able to,
love freely, be
vulnerable, express creativity, and display
We cannot develop a
healthy personality by using techniques from the Upper or Under
World such as meditation or shadow work.
Instead, we must use
techniques that pertain to ego development and healing such as,
training, non-violent communication techniques, cognitive
NLP, and other psychological avenues of
Purpose: Soul discovery
Our Soul is the vital, mysterious, and wild core of our
It is the unique
essence within each of us that goes deeper than our
Think of your Soul as a stream that is connected to the ocean of
Our Souls contain
gifts, and the ultimate significance of our individual
To access these deep
layers and qualities we must descend into the Under World of our
Unfortunately, for thousands of years our culture has
"protected" us from the hardships and dangers of the descent
into the Soul.
This has been done
through the establishment of,
predictable, and clockwork lives that revolve around
material pleasures and shallow values...
In fact, thanks to
religious thought, the descent into our Under Worlds has been
condemned as "evil" and wayward.
cultures and a few Western mystical schools like Hermeticism
and Alchemy have dedicated themselves to exploring the
The descent into the Under World has been so feared and avoided
because it is a perilous journey. There is a reason why
christianity referred to this place as "hell."
Within our Under
Worlds lie our repressed thoughts, feelings, desires,
traumas, and denied gifts.
Often when we
descend, or inscend, into ourselves, we come across many
demons, ghastly creatures, and other parts of
our Shadow Selves that
we've been unconsciously hiding from.
Yet despite the fact
that the Under World journey can be such a harrowing and
haunting experience, it is ultimately a powerful odyssey.
Only by descending
into our personal Under Worlds can we truly
embrace our true life calling, talents, gifts, and deepest
Under World, or soul-work techniques, include
practices that allow us to access
altered states of consciousness.
These may include
crafts such as,
lucid dreaming, drumming,
shadow work, shamanic trances, vision quests, etc.
Purpose: Uniting with Spirit
The Upper World journey, or that of the ascent, is what we often
refer to as Self-Realization.
There comes a moment in our journey between the middle world and
the underworld in which a perfect balance is formed, allowing us
to move up into the Upper World.
For example, it's
much harder to "Spiritually Awaken" to the Upper World when our
unconscious minds are plagued with deep,
traumas (that stem from the underworld)
self-esteem (middle world problem)
We enter the path of
ascent up into the Upper World when we learn to surrender our
ego identification (known as ego death) and Soul
Ultimately, we not
only intellectually understand that everything is One, but we
experience this truth at a core level.
At this point, we are
free from the illusion of having a separate self. This has also
been commonly referred to as the state of complete
self-realization or Enlightenment.
This permanent shift of consciousness is about merging with the
Infinite, Divine, Eternal, and Absolute.
Techniques used to
taste this state of being are often found in the mystical
Taoism, Sufism, and disciplines such as meditation and yoga.
people in the spiritual community believe that
ascension is all that is needed to experience peace and
As a result, the
middle world and under world paths have been cast aside as if
they don't matter. However, only focusing on your "higher
chakras," cultivating positivity and Oneness with Spirit,
creates lopsided individuals.
When the darker and
more down-to-earth elements of self-growth are ignored, the
result is imbalanced and unhealthy individuals.
How to Start
Your Spiritual Journey (5 Steps)
Everyone's spiritual journey is unique, ever-changing, and ongoing.
There is no single point
at which we stop this inner transformation. In fact, the whole
mistaken idea of reaching a state of "perfection" really only equals
death and stagnation. And what happens when things stop growing and
flowing? They become lethargic, break down, rot, and disintegrate.
While the demands for constant growth and evolution may be difficult
to handle at times, they are necessary for us to find our life
purpose and fulfill our destiny on this planet.
If you wish to live a
deep, meaningful, rich, rewarding, and loving life that is full of
heart and Soul, beginning your spiritual journey is not only
important but crucial.
Understandably, you might feel a bit intimidated and lost, not
knowing where to start.
As someone who has
dedicated a large portion of their life to the spiritual journey, as
well as guiding others through theirs, here are my tips:
1. Figure out the
purpose/aim of your journey
Think carefully about why you want to begin walking the
Do you have a
specific goal, purpose, or intention in mind?
Are you wanting
to find something or avoid something? (Or perhaps both...)
Perhaps you would
like to achieve or experience something?
There are a myriad of
reasons why people enter the spiritual journey, and there is no
right or wrong answer.
For example, some
people want to experience enlightenment, connect with their
spirit guides, develop their spiritual gifts, find their life's
purpose, taste truth/freedom, be free of an old trauma or
addiction, and so on.
Keep in mind that your purpose/aim will likely shift and change
as you progress through your spiritual path - this is completely
Your path and needs
are unique to you, so embrace them.
2. Pay attention
to philosophies, tools, or practices that intrigue you
Once you've figured out why you want to explore the spiritual
path and discover your destiny, simply pay attention.
Notice what spiritual
fields, ideas, philosophies, and practices pique your interest.
The spiritual journey doesn't have to be something dry,
monotone, and repetitive (unless you want it to be).
This is a quest that
ideally involves play, joy, and passion.
In fact, you will
likely get the most out of your spiritual path if you approach
it from this heart-centered place.
Neuroscience has proven that we
learn the most when we're having fun - so find your bliss.
Walk a path with
This is the path
you're meant to be on.
3. Go deep-diving
One of the main issues that often arises on the spiritual path
is a certain kind of spiritual materialism or spiritual
Jumping from practice to practice can be useful at the beginning
(to become familiar with the territory). But if we get into the
addictive habit of finding the "next and best" spiritual
practice, tool, workshop, etc. we are doing ourselves a great
We are not only
approaching spirituality with a materialistic mindset, but we're
also avoiding the fundamental purpose of the spiritual path:
transform and evolve...
Once you have done
some dabbling here and there (this might involve watching
YouTube videos, readings books, attending workshops, etc.), it's
time to slow down and commit to something.
Don't worry if you
discover later down the road that the path you're on is
not for you, you can always change route.
What's important is
that you slow down and commit to something, to begin with - this
is the only way to extract the nutrients, deep essential truths,
and embodied wisdom.
So tune into yourself and figure out what sets your Soul on
What speaks to
you on a profound level?
benefited you the most?
Begin to circle
around that topic, practice, or path and dedicate your full
attention to it. (And if there are a handful of paths, that's
okay too, stick with them.)
what you've learned and experienced
We hear a lot of pretty sounding words and mystical ideas on the
But all of them mean
little if we don't actively find ways of absorbing them into our
One of the simplest ways of recording what you've learned and
experienced is simply through the act of journaling. Have a
special journal or diary that you dedicate to writing down your
thoughts, experiences, ideas, and discoveries.
You don't need to be
a good writer (or even good at spelling/grammar) to do this -
forget about that! What matters is that you have a solid record
that you can refer back to throughout your journey.
There are also other ways of recording what you've
learned/experienced such as creating pieces of art or composing
creative outlet suits you the most.
That might even
include creating a blog where you go into your daily experience
(and you can keep this private or share it with others).
Integrate and embody your spirituality
It's easy to go spiritual window shopping and jump onto whatever
new and exciting bandwagon emerges.
But it takes much
more strength of character, sincerity, and courage to actively
integrate and embody what you've learned.
means to absorb something into your being; to make it a
living and breathing part of you.
To embody means
to be an expression of what you have learned:
to be the
change you're looking for, to infuse your life with the
essence of what you've discovered.
There are numerous
ways to integrate and embody your spirituality, but remember
that this is an organic process that takes time.
You cannot rush or
force integration/embodiment - it is the natural product of
Soulful maturation and spiritual ripening.
There are, however, ways to initiate the integration/embodiment
part of your journey.
Some of these
Anything that helps
you to slow down, be introspective, and go inwards, while
encouraging present moment awareness, will help you to integrate
and embody what you experience.
Instead of being a magical sounding idea, you will actively live
and express qualities such as loving-kindness, presence, and
But first, you need
to be sincere and dedicated to this path.
In my honest
opinion, no spiritual journey is balanced (or healthy) without
some level of psychological healing. We need to focus not just
on ascending to the Upper World, but also working with the
Middle and Under World.
Journey is a Valley, Not a Mountain
Contrary to popular depiction, the spiritual journey of fulfilling
your destiny isn't like climbing a mountain...
We rarely start at the bottom and climb to the top. Instead, for
most of us the spiritual journey is like hiking through a series of
beautiful, but perilous range of valleys.
Our spiritual journeys alternate between periods of descending and
In one period of our
lives we may cultivate our connection with Spirit, while in
other parts we may descend to the Soul to heal core wounds, or
the middle world to develop self-care.
Finally, it is very possible and also quite common to get hung
up in these valleys.
Many of us become lost,
distracted, and even forget why we were trying to get to the top of
the mountain in the first place (Traps
Sabotaging Your Spiritual Growth.)
However, with guidance,
willpower, and persistence, we can make our way through.
In the end,
you will find that the spiritual journey is like,
marriage between the ego, the Soul, and the Spirit...
One cannot exist without