The question is, “Are you spiritual or are you not?” The truth is you are. The reality is you don’t believe it. – Yogi Bhajan
How does a person start on a path to spiritual enlightenment and awareness?
OH NO SHE DIDN’T.
Yes, yes I did. I just put that question out there.
But relax – this is not over-the-top woo woo, I swear. I think we see the words “spiritual” and “enlightenment” and immediately think of white robes and chanting and monasteries, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
My answer to that question? I would imagine it’s different for everyone, but I do think the search for an awareness of something bigger than us arises out of a certain level of suffering, don’t you? I mean, you hear it time and time again, people saying that their most difficult, darkest, and challenging times ended up being the catalyst for a much richer, fuller, and happier life.
And it makes sense, right? When you’re not suffering, you pleasantly continue going through the motions of life. Good days, bad days, lots of first world problems (OMG I spent THREE HOURS at the Genius Bar this morning), so you know, why look deeper? Everything is fine! I like life. (Kind of.) I like my job. (Kind of.) I like me. (Kind of.) It’s all good. (Kind of.) And then, BAM. Something happens that rattles you to the core, and the mind starts up with those damn thoughts. “Why is this happening? What is going on? Why do I deserve this? I must not be a good person. What does it all mean? I’m so scared. What does it all meeeaaaaan?”
(Oh, that’s just me? Huh.)
Well, that’s how it started with me. I explained of lot of what was going on here, so I won’t bore you with the details again, but in a nutshell, the shit was hitting the fan. However, during this time, I kept experiencing these (very rare) fleeting moments of quiet when my intuition would speak to me, telling me to press on with my budding “investigation” of how our thoughts could shape our reality. To push beyond my current grasp of what I thought this world was all about, and see where it led.
Now, let me tell you what. There were several times, standing at Barnes & Noble, immersed in my own self-help bender, when I asked myself, “Why? Why open myself up to all of these theories and ideas and self-worth crap and Super Soul Sunday episodes – it’s just SO EXHAUSTING. It would be so much easier to squeeze my eyes shut and go on with life as I know it.”
It’s like I knew that making the conscious decision to open my mind to the possibilities of God (the universe/life force/prana/love/whatever you want to call it) was making a declaration to a lifelong commitment of learning. And let’s face it, that sure seemed like a lot of work. I mean, can’t we just go shoe shopping and call it a day?
At that point, I wasn’t sure what I believed in. I wanted to believe in something bigger than us, but how vague can you get? Vague-o-rama. And me? I like black and white. I like concrete, tangible facts. So I picked up the book, E Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. I figured, hey, I like science. I like experiments. Let’s do this thing. I decided to try Experiment #1, and told myself that if it rocked my world, I would never question or turn away from this path. Hoo boy, talk about making a promise.
The premise of Experiment #1 was very simple. You were to ask God (or the energetic life force around us – again, whatever you want to call it) to show itself to you through an unexpected blessing or gift within 48 hours. Something that couldn’t be written off as a coincidence – just a completely unexpected blessing that would prove an invisible energy force is available to us. All I had to do was make the intention, write it on a piece of paper, and put aside all skepticism for the next two days. Expect it with my whole heart. With every ounce of my soul. (That’s the crucial part – you must believe with every fiber of your being.)
So I did it. I wrote down my intention to receive a blessing. I expected a sign.
Within 30 minutes, D called me from work to tell me that we had unexpectedly received $3,000. Long story short, our refrigerator was a lemon and leaked underneath our wood floors, causing all sorts of damage. Unbeknownst to us, the appliance repairman had submitted a claim, and the insurance company agreed to fix all the damage done to our cabinetry and floors. Hello, unexpected blessing.
Here’s the best (worst) part, though. Although I was so happy to hear the news, I questioned if that was actually my “blessing.” YOU GUYS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? There I stood, with the completely surprising knowledge of all this extra money coming our way, and I was like, “Hmmm, I just don’t know if that’s it.” Seriously, I know. Sometimes, I want to smack myself upside the head. And I felt horrible about it! I mean, look at this great situation, and I’m totally questioning it. What kind of a believer am I? Get with the program, Sarah.
The issue was that deep down, I truly believed that a deeply personal, take-my-breath-away moment was coming my way. I expected it. With my heart and soul.
Well, I got it.
The next morning, upon waking, I did what I always do. I rolled over, picked up my iPhone, and looked at the screen. (Obviously, I have a long way to go in regards to enlightenment considering that’s the first thing I do in the morning!) There was a notification on my lock screen – I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, put on my glasses, and read it.
“Keep up the good work.”
That’s all it said. And once I swiped to unlock the screen, it was gone. I figured someone had texted me, or maybe it was a message via Facebook, or something along those lines so I sat up and tried to figure out the source. Except I couldn’t find it. You guys, I spent over an hour trying to find the source of that message. I scoured my notifications, checked all my apps, texts, I even googled for quite some time. Nothing. And I was dead set on finding the source. To prove that it couldn’t possibly be a message from…I don’t know, the life force I’d been seeking?
I never found the source. But I know where it came from, and I believe it wholeheartedly.
Call me crazy, but this whole lifelong spiritual journey thing? I’m fully committed. I mean, I can’t turn back now. GOD WAS ON MY IPHONE, PEOPLE. Feel free to back away slowly.
I invite you to try out the experiment for yourself. What do you have to lose? Just see what happens! I’ve even made a little intention sheet for you to fill out. (You know how much I love organization and lists.)
Do share your experiences!