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Encouragement for the Spiritual Explorer

This one is for all of you out there that feel called to the spiritual and you feel lost at the same time.


You may feel overwhelmed with all of the information and options out there. It seems like something new is coming along all the time. Either a totally new way to engage with spirituality or a totally new take on ancient and established traditions.


You may be feeling afraid to explore anything for fear of getting it “wrong.” Many spiritual traditions and religions out there claim to be the only one/way, and if you don’t follow then...you’re doomed. Sometimes it can seem like it's better to just stay away altogether, huh? I mean, with so many claiming to be “the one…” If you just ignore the pull, keep going about life like you have been, everything will be okay. Or, at least the same.


Yet, that pull, that pull to something more, just won’t go away. You know there’s more. You know the “real world” isn’t what’s truly real. You know you’re here to do more than just work, have some fun, and die. You know there’s more to who you are than what others have told you.


You feel have to explore this spirituality stuff. You get to a point where there are no ifs, ands, nor buts about it. It's gotta happen.


Fear not. Literally…fear not. There’s too much fear out there already and it’s unnecessary.


Let me tell you that we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got, with what we know.


Everyone thinks they have the “right” answer, but really we’re all exploring.


And that is more than okay. I'm going to explain why.


Rest assured, sweet soul, you are free to explore. This post is going to put your heart at ease and introduce you to the freedom you’ve been craving all along.


Let’s jump into the first reason why exploring is more than okay. It has to do with love.


God Is Love


If you’re called to explore spirituality, in any sense at all, I’m going to go ahead and assume you already have a belief in God. A God of some sort. You know there’s a higher/greater power. You might not know what to call this power, yet, but you know it’s there.


For me, I've called this higher power God for most of my life (I was raised in the Christian faith). Then, as I stepped away from the Christian faith for a bit, I called this power Universe and Source. Sometimes even just Love.


But, despite all the names I’ve heard and all the ones I’ve used, one thing remains: This power is pure love.


That it not all that God is, but that is part of God’s true nature.


Throughout all of my spiritual exploration, I have consistently heard that God is ultimate unconditional love. An unconditional love that our human brains cannot fathom.


An unconditional love that is familiar only to the soul. That spiritual part of who we are.


And in this love, do you think that anger and shame and punishment for “not getting it right” when it comes to spirituality (or anything, for that matter) would ever be a reality?


I don’t.


And I know, many religions out there will tell you that those are also a part of God’s nature, simply because God wants what is best for us.


Yet, it is my firm belief that all can be accomplished in perfect love. And I do not see anger, shame, and punishment as reflective of perfect love.


Here’s a bit more about how I understand it...


God does desire connection with us, as we are a part of God. God desires for us, as humans, to choose that true connection. We are all parts of God, playing out unique roles on this planet for these short human lifetimes. It is only in that true connection to God that we will play out these roles as we are meant to. When we leave this human lifetime, we can go back to a greater connection to God – back to where we came from, our true home. Or we can go on to other lifetimes, different lifetimes. Both, I think, are going to be true for all of us at some point. A beautiful continuation throughout all of eternity. A great divine adventure.


We, whether in this human lifetime or in other lifetimes, continue to be an extension of God’s love (God’s nature). If we so choose.


Which leads me to…


Free Will


A condition of this human life is free will. Free will to choose absolutely anything. (Perhaps it is a condition of any sort of lifetime we may enter, human or not? I’m not sure. And, hey, I’m not even saying I know for sure about these other lifetimes and realms and such. Of course I don’t know for certain! But, do I believe in their possibility? Immensely.)


An honoring of that free will is an act of love. God displays love for us by honoring the free will we have as humans. I believe we chose these human lifetimes, meaning we chose the free will situation that we got ourselves into! (By saying "got ourselves into," I do not mean to label free will in a negative way - it is a wonderful part of this human existence.) It was a choice made in partnership with God before we entered the world. God honoring this free will, allowing us to have these experiences, is a true act of love.


Just like we allow those we love in our lives to make their own choices because we love them.


Even if they are not what we want or think is best.


We allow it because we honor their autonomy. We know true change and transformation only comes from within, from a personal decision. Not a forcing.


God would never force us into connection. God would never force upon us a transformation.


God’s love is demonstrated in the fact that the invitation is always there, no matter what we do.


And we can choose absolutely anything. I guess this is part of what creates the confusion we can feel when it comes to spirituality, huh?


The fact that we can choose anything is reflected in just how many paths there are out there.


But, what’s a common thread? They can all lead to connection back to God.


The Many Paths


As I said, there are many paths to finding and connecting with God. God just desires true, genuine connection. That is my belief.


Yikes! In saying that, I can just imagine getting attacked (figuratively, by people)! But, that’s okay. That’s what I believe, and I’m standing by it.


I want to interject why I can imagine an attack resulting from that statement. It’s going to go back a little bit to free will for a second, but fear not – we’re circling back to the “many paths” thing in just a moment!


I grew up in the Christian faith where I was told that Jesus is the only way to God. Professing and believing that Jesus is the son of God and that he died for our sins (that we deserve the gruesome death for) is the only way to have a relationship with God. That God needed a sacrifice in order to spare us the death that we deserve for our sinful nature; Jesus was that sacrifice. And the only way to have a relationship with God is to go through belief in Jesus Christ.


Anything other than Jesus is wrong.


Hmm.


I’m not behind that, people. I’m not.


I don’t believe that’s representative of a loving God. A God who needed a human to die in order to satisfy his wrath at sin? Y’all. That’s not a God I feel comfortable with.


Now, do I think that the entire Jesus thing is a lie? Not at all! I do believe God was working through Jesus. I believe in the miracles. I take wisdom from the parables.


There was something different about Jesus, something divine. Yes.


But do we understand it fully?


Do we understand the Bible fully?


I just don’t think we do. I don’t think anyone does.


I think it’s a continuing unfolding of wisdom with continuing study. That it’s a process that never ends.


I do believe in the Bible being the living word of God – that it changes as benefits us. The messages that come through change based on what we need and where we are with our level of consciousness.


At the same time, I’ve never been of the camp that we have to take every word of the Bible literally. As in, what is written happened word for word and there is no room for modern-day interpretation. That all stories quite literally happened as spelled out and none could have been reflective of the beliefs of a people group, reflective of an old way of human thinking and ancient human consciousness.


Again…this has never felt right to me. If that were the case, look at the God of the Old Testament.


Always choosing the Israelites and horrifically killing other people groups?


Sometimes getting angry at the Israelites and severely punishing them?


Is that a God of love? I know some try to justify that, but to me it has never felt right.


My current beliefs and views on all of this are so very counter to the faith I grew up in. So, it’s a little scary to put out there. To openly say. Especially because I do not discount many aspects of the Christian faith – I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


I don’t believe God wants us to feel squashed, restricted, put down, ashamed, afraid, and guilty.


Yes, I believe instruction and rules can lead to true freedom. Rather than rules, however, I think I’ll just leave it at instruction. Because rules seem to be automatically confining. But instruction shows you the best way. And that’s what God shows us, wants for us.


Rules take away free will. It’s not really free will if you’re being threatened by punishment. It’s not a pure choosing. You’re choosing because you’re afraid of the consequences. It’s fear-based.


Now, we are warned (through basically every faith/religion/spiritual tradition) that there are natural consequences for disconnection from God. Life sucks at that point, to a large degree.


That’s a natural byproduct of spiritual disconnection.


I think this is what is meant by “sin.”


And yes, there can be fear surrounding that knowledge, too.


But not like the fear of punishment – the fear of someone else doing something to you that is outside of your control.


This fear is reflective of something that is within your control, totally.


It is a fear that is more like a strong knowing of, “I do not want that!” rather than true fear.


When you know that you do not want those consequences, you are also more easily able to be pulled by what you do want instead – the true life that comes from a connection to God.


When you’re fearing punishment (especially one as gnarly as the hell that’s described to us in the Christian religion!), that’s kind of all you can think about! It’s all-consuming.


And then your actions are fear-based. They are not coming from a desire for true life.


They are avoidance-based, not based on something grander pulling you forward.


Okay, back to “many paths to connection with God!”


First, I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about true connection with God.


A true dive into the spiritual.


Can the spiritual be found in religion? Of course!


And, yet, religion gets turned into all sorts of things because of…people.


People who don’t know what the heck they’re doing or talking about. (And, believe me, I’m not saying that I have all the answers here! This is not a put-down of others. Let me explain.)


This is because they’re coming from a largely earthly, human-based perspective. Working from the brain alone. Using logic. Playing into fear.


Not coming from the truth of who we are as humans (souls in human bodies). Not coming from the truth of reality. Not coming first from the connection to God.


Religion becomes about actions and rules and words and exclusion.


So, yeah…I’m not talking about religion.


I’m talking about what you are drawn to that reveals to you the true nature of who you are, reality, and God.


Yes, it can come from a religion. You can find God there. But also...


It can come from going on a personal growth journey, looking deeply within and being committed to healing from the past, who you believed yourself to be, the person you have become that is not your truth. Even if it doesn’t involve spirituality, at first, a personal growth journey will always lead you down that path at some point. And when you keep going deeper, you will find your soul. And when you find your soul and continue to go even deeper, you will find God.


It can come from an interest in the mystical. Perhaps you feel drawn to something like astrology or human design. You begin to dive deep into these systems. You find that it goes deeper than the physical, that it’s not really about the physical at all. That it all begins with energy and the spiritual. And as you keep following the breadcrumbs on these paths, you again, find your soul and you find God.


It can come from a connection to nature, when you sit in the energies of wonder, joy, curiosity, and peace. As you embody these energies, you find yourself drawn deeper. You know there’s more. And, once again, you find your soul and then you find God.


These are just a few examples.


Now…caveat. Anything that can lead you to God can also lead you astray.


Ugh, really?! I thought this was getting simpler?!


It is! This is just a word of caution that will actually turn into a comfort.


It just has to do with human nature.


Humans Can Spin Anything


Remember how I just talked about humans turning religion into basically nothing to do with a true connection to God?


Well, humans can do that with anything else, too.


Anything else labeled “spiritual.” Anything else that purports to help you discover the truth of who you are and help you connect back to God.


Now, do I think that there are some evil people out there that are always intentionally trying to hurt others? No.


Do I see evil actions? Sure! But that doesn’t mean the people are evil.


I 100% believe that all the evil we see is reflective of a disconnection from God. A disconnection from the truth. A disconnection from one’s true nature.


I believe all can be healed through connection back to God.


Okay, that’s a topic for another day! Back to evil actions and all.


Yes, people do things with the intent to harm. That is possible.


People can also do things because they don’t know any better! I’m not calling them stupid. I’m just saying that their thinking and actions are misguided.


Every human is subject to fallibility. Even though the soul nature of who we are is pure, amazing, wonderful, and perfect…if we’re not fully connected to that, our actions will not reflect that truth. And, even when we do connect to that true soul nature of ours, it’s not a one-and-done. We can “fall back asleep” after awakening. We have to remain intentional.


So, how do we know what and who to trust?


Ahh…here comes sweet intuition.


Our intuition is our inner knowing. I’ve always understood it to be our communication line between the human parts of ourselves and our soul, the spiritual realm, and God.


It’s how we know something is right without being able to give a clear, concrete reason as to why. It’s how we know something is “off” as well.


It is the filter through which we should be taking all information.


Asking ourselves if this feels right and true.


You always know – you always have an intuitive feeling about things.


Everyone is going to feel and experience intuition differently. For me? It’s my gut. I get gut feelings.


We all have intuition, but not everyone is listening. You may be having constant, consistent intuitive feelings and knowings, and at the same time you can be ignoring them all the day long.


Intuition’s not doing you so much good there, is it?


We have to get back in touch with our intuition if we are to ever find the right paths for ourselves.


In addition to intuition, we have another amazing tool at our disposal: Prayer.


Now, prayer is something we can be doing constantly. Constant prayer is living in communication with God.


But, when it comes to discerning what is true and right for us, prayer is vital.


God’s not gonna lie. Ever.


And if you don’t know how to hear God’s answers, ask for that, too.


Remember how God wants connection with us? God’s not going to hide anything from you that would help you get there! That’s just silly.


For both intuition and prayer, we must be open. We have to be in the receptive mode. We have to quiet the brain and the logical mind. They are beautiful and wonderful, and sometimes they have to go offline.


Follow the path you’re led toward. See where it takes you.


It might not be the last path for you. It might be leading you to something else.


If so, that doesn’t mean it was wrong. It means it served its purpose.


Be open to flow and do not get married to finding the one path to God right this very second.


Let it all evolve as life and you evolve.


And you may leave for a time and come back! There’s no right or wrong.


It’s all about what you need when you need it.


God can be in everything.


Now, I want to address one last thing as we end. And I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not, but I certainly have. So, I want to say this for you if you received this messaging like I did.


Isn’t Choosing from Many Paths…Wrong?


I’ve heard time and time again that you have to pick one thing and stick with everything about it. When it comes to religion and spirituality, that is.


We can’t just take what we like from many places and craft it into something of our own.


But…


Why the heck not???


Isn’t the whole entire point of choosing a spiritual belief system to improve your life, help you live a life of joy + meaning/purpose, and to connect you to God? (Broadly - of course there are details under those umbrellas!)


Why would we say, “Well…I like 80% of this system. But that 20%? I don’t know…I guess I just have to suck it up and accept that as true, too.”


NO! Oh my goodness, no. Well, in my opinion, it’s a big fat no!


Let me go ahead and say that, from one perspective, I do understand saying not to only choose what feels comfortable. That’s the key word: Comfortable.


Because what is comfortable is not always what is best. Heck, it might be most comfortable (from the human perspective) to stay in a place of not delving into spirituality at all! Because that’s going to result in a life transformation. And transformation necessitates a lot of change. Change, to the human, can be uncomfortable – even when it’s best.


And some truths that are uncomfortable feel that way simply because they bump up against our human programming. But that programming isn’t the truth we need to be living by! That programming is what was taught to us by others who were living by the same programming, who weren’t in touch with their true nature, and who weren’t aware of the grander perspective of reality. They were not connected to God and living from that connection (truly – they may have claimed that, but if they were they would not have been playing into the detrimental programming). We think things are true because others have told us such and “that’s just the way it’s always been.” But that’s not the definition of truth. Those two situations do not equal truth.


People go along doing as others have always done and doing as they’ve been told until someone dares to boldly listen to that spark inside that says, “This is not the way.”


The voice that tells them there is something better. The voice that leads them away from the “norm.” That calls them to something grander.


That encourages them to be the one to break the mold and be the change.


To discover and craft something new.


Listen, even if something is “working,” it doesn’t mean there’s still not a better way.


We have to stop setting for just “okay!”


Sure, some of our religions and spiritual systems “work.” When people aren’t using them to harm others (and, yes, I know that sometimes people think this harm is for others’ own good).


But, what if by following what we know is right for us, we discover something new?


We do not have to settle for what we have! We can be grateful for it, yes. And at the same time, we can keep moving forward!


It doesn’t mean where we’ve been is wrong. Sometimes, we’re just not meant to stay there.


So, we don’t have to choose beliefs that are comfortable. We have to choose the ones that are right, even if they are uncomfortable.


And there will always be a part of us that knows what is right. Right to the soul, even if the human part is going to have to take a bit to adjust.


We choose that.


No matter what someone else says.


God could be working to birth something new into the world through us.


What if that doesn’t come through because we are resisting?


We do not have to pick one thing and stick with all that other humans have said go along with that.


If it doesn’t feel right (and you have to be radically honest with yourself whether it’s “not right” or “uncomfortable!”), it’s not right.


Sure, one-and-done makes things simpler.


But is simpler always better?


Complex can be amazing. Complex does not mean challenging.


Complex can be exciting!


Complex can lead to so much more.


Complex can also lead to uncertainty. Yet, uncertainty is not bad, either. Not if we choose to jump into the unknown with God. Guided by God.


Trusting that the very best is going to come.


And we are going to be a part of it.


Explore, dear adventurer. Be an adventurous soul.


Be bold. Be courageous.


Stand in love. Live in light.


Be committed and intentional.


Know that the truth of who you are, your soul nature, is beautiful, wonderful, and pure.


Your connection to God will bring you all you need and truly (at a soul level) desire in this lifetime.


That is how you change the world. That is how you bring the magic that only you can bring.


God will never be mad at you. People can be, but that’s okay.


Be a spiritual explorer. You’re going to find so much gold.


XOXO Katie Anne (The Joy Babe)

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