Growing up in a family connected with an organized religion has advantages. You have a community of people that care about you and want the best for you. And you have the benefit of the wisdom and experience of that community to teach you. And for a while that was enough… However, even during my early years I questioned the disconnect between what I was told and what I experienced.
I have always been driven to deepen my spiritual life. However disillusionment with main stream religion sent me down unexpected paths throughout my life. I don’t feel that I have any horror stories about being abused by religion. The organizations I was connected with never directly traumatized or persecuted me. But the stories that I was told were so powerful, and the experiences I had were so not. My attempts to connect on a spiritual level with my religion failed and as a result I began to search for truth outside of that framework.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t hold ill will toward religious people. I believe there are religious beliefs that empower and enliven people to become all they can be and truly enhance the world. But it didn’t do this for me. So my search continued.
This is where yoga and meditation entered my life. I had a misrepresentation of yoga in my head. When the idea was first suggested to me I was under the impression that yoga was for women who wanted mild exercise, I had no concept of the history or the experience that yoga offered. My education began 8 years ago and has continued since. A highlight was in 2006 when I became a certified yoga instructor. I took a 200 hour certification program here in California.
Yoga was a different world to me. I was surrounded by people having their own intimate experiences with the spiritual world. The movement and fluidity of Vinyasa Flow yoga centered me in a way I had never felt before. I was able to find peace in the midst of my mental chaos. This is an experience that I never would have had, if I hadn’t tried yoga.
I’m sharing this in an effort to highlight the importance of experiential spirituality. In life we will find many people that will try to tell us how things work and even what we are experiencing and feeling. These guides can be beneficial, but they can also rob us of what is really happening. I invite you to experiment and find a spiritual path that works for you. Find something that you are experiencing and feeling for yourself, not something where you have to depend on someone Else’s interpretation. This is your path! No one else can walk it for you.
It is important to highlight my use of the word experiment. Be prudent. Be cautious. Use your instincts. I’m not encouraging anyone to try anything harmful or damaging. I am encouraging people to live. This is your chance to grow. You only get one shot at this moment, embrace the opportunity and let the universe guide you.