The Path of Self Development – New Age – Spirituality
Since my awakening in 2011, I’ve dedicated my life to the pursuit of self-development, spirituality, and other esoteric interests.
I’ve been perplexed, fascinated, and sometimes concerned by some of what I’ve read and witnessed. Spiritual pursuits like the New Age movement and all things esoteric can be a bit like marmite. People can have strong reactions to these concepts and teachings – they love it or they hate it. This article is not meant to persuade you either way; how you live your life is up to you. Plus, I have no answers, no arguments to put forward or pursue. What I do know is that I’m closer to letting go of all ideas and just experiencing life.
Self-development – spirituality, especially the New Age movement, is massive industry. It churns out speakers who tempt you with the answers about why you’re here, what’s your purpose and how you can turn your dreams into reality. Many voices in this field are genuinely interested and want to help you find ways to improve your life, help you feel more satisfied, or help you grow into your enlightened self. Unfortunately, there are others out to bolster false hopes, false trips and feed into the misinformation that also exists. If you have read any of my other blog posts, you will know that I only advocate that you follow what sparks your interest and what draws your attention, since this is what you might need to explore to help you in your life right now. Here, I hope to introduce you to some ways to approach this vast field.
I love listening to self-development speakers (Abraham Hick, Tony Robins, John Burgos, the Hay House Collection of Authors, etc.). I love their passion, their wise words, and the stories they tell about how they changed their lives and the lives of the people around them. However, with the vast number of choices available to you—whether you purposefully follow a spiritual/self-development path or not—finding what is best for you can be a bit of a minefield. Some of you may be taking a glimpse into self-development for the first time, while others are diving head-first into the vast range of lectures, books, and e-courses available.
Some lectures I attended have helped me understand life better, have enhanced the choices available to me, and gave me tools to manage what I’m going through – so, I’m not for one minute going to discount their value.
But where do you start? Whose teachings do you take on board? Where do you start shaping your life? How do you manage the vast range of information and the various conversations that will surely follow? You cannot miss the ideas on The Law of Attraction, Karma, meditation, Deepak Chopra, retreats, crystals, tarot cards, healing, raw food and yoga, etc. Many of the esoteric ideas once used to be quietly discussed in sacred spaces, but no more. The rise in popularity of what used to be minority interests have grown into the majority culture. One tip: you don’t have to choose. You can pursue what you’re interested in while it’s relevant to your life. None of this is binding. At any point, you are free to decide that it’s not for you. We grow and change, and as my mum used to say, “What you like at 17 isn’t what you might like at 35.” There is only the now.
What spirituality is and what it means to people’s lives is different to different people. For me, I was interested in the spiritual and esoteric since I was a child. Later, quite by chance, it was activated. From that point, I was opened up to a whole world of information and experiences that I never could have imagined. Some of it sent me down the rabbit hole and into other dimensions – ironically, this was around the same time the Wachowski’s film, The Matrix, had been released into cinemas. Some of it was mind expanding and mind altering. Since then, I have explored many different avenues and listened to thousands of hours of teachings. Why? Because of I’m an avid learner. I love learning new things, getting different perspectives, and having those light bulb moments. I’m less fond of the confusion and lack of direction or clarity, however, I have since learned that it does pass.
What was the basis for all of this? Why else do we pick up books, seek out various courses, or attend seminars? What is it we are truly looking for? What difference did it have in my life?
At one point, my life was very dark. Sometime in the future, I’ll cover this more, but having someone or something to believe in when all seems impossible is what helped me through. Doing it alone and having no one to support you is a very lonely place. When the light goes out, you must light your own candle in the darkness and breathe. Being a perpetual student in psychology and a therapist aligning the head, heart, and spirit is not an easy task. There are theories abound, and one must decide what works in each moment and what your destination is. My work has often been about helping someone explore what troubles and what perplexes them, along with helping them discover not just the destination they are trying for, but also the many blocks (spiritual, psychological, etc.) getting in their way. It’s also about holding the space and enabling someone to explore their highs and lows so that they can find solutions or resolutions to their current pain. However, what makes sense and means something now, may later be discarded. After all, we are all meaning-making creatures. So, before I go any further into this, here are some ideas to think about or try:
• Knowing what feels right to you right now is important. Sometimes, you may need help building up your confidence to trust your innate intuition and inner wisdom.
• If you feel a bit edgy or if something feels off, it usually is, so be discerning. Don’t believe everything you hear, but don’t discount everything either.
• Some people go through many stages – for me, doing down this path was such a light bulb moment, such a massive level of insight. You may feel like you should persuade everyone else to do the same thing, get the same book. Don’t! This was just for you.
• The moment we try to share these powerful moments, the more we lose the energy contained in them. We need this to continue to build up positive momentum in which to follow the crumbs that lay on our paths.
• Of course, if people ask then yes, share!
• Be open-minded, be curious, and if you’re drawn to a book, a speaker, a YouTube link, then do it.
• Ask questions, but then give yourself some space to allow your mind to digest what it’s received. A quiet space where nothing is happening is where you start to hear the wisdom from yourself.
• Be kind to yourself.
What you discover may seem like the thing you’ve been waiting for, but later, you may be drawn to more or other or new ideas, and that’s okay. You’re expanding, and that’s what this is all about.
Undergoing personal growth and transformation doesn’t mean that you must follow a certain dogma, way of life, etc. Sometimes people will tell you that you’re only spiritual if you do your healing for free, that you can’t make money while doing community work, etc. There are some very strong opinions out there, but we all need to learn to not judge the choices of another, and that there’s nothing wrong with earning a living or having money.
If what you’re discovering is enhancing your life, enabling you to feel more positive feelings, peace, joy, happiness or harmony, then this might be right choice for you. However, spiritual growth can sometimes feel painful. When you don’t know what to do or if you feel overwhelmed, trust that it will pass. Breathe, focus on your breath, and breath some more.
And lastly, along with finding purpose, many people are now talking about living according to their authentic self. Your authentic self can be expressed in different ways—you might change your lifestyle or you might stay the same. It doesn’t matter. You can be spiritual, loving and kind regardless of whether you work in the city and drive a big car or if you live on a commune and grow your own vegetables. Life has many different expressions.
The path can have many twists and turns, highs and lows, challenges and joys – but it’s your path. Seek what you need, what helps and what lights you up.
Let me know if you are pursuing a spiritual path, taking self-development courses like the esoteric, and why. Thank you for reading 🙂