The Endless Search for Divine Guidance

Religions and Spiritual TraditionsToday, we live in a spiritually complex world. Personal values and belief systems are constantly questioned and reexamined. While there are both individual and universal reasons for this perpetual shift in awareness, the bottom line often gets overlooked. What is the bottom line? First, realize that when it comes to your spiritual development, there’s no right or wrong – there is only what works for you. More than ever before, learn to trust yourself, follow your instincts, and above all – listen to your heart!

The Problem with One Faith

Let me start by saying that if there’s a particular religion or spiritual tradition that’s currently working for you, continue on the path – just be mindful of your journey. There comes a point in many people’s lives when they begin to question their faith of choice. This isn’t blasphemy but rather a sign of growth / evolution. If you’ve outgrown the teachings, they stop working for you, or they begin to loose meaning, move on in order to continue your spiritual development. This is a very personal journey that shouldn’t be dictated by outsiders. The notion that there’s only one true religion or spiritual tradition is nothing more than shortsightedness on the part of both the faith’s leaders and its congregation. Your personal journey can take you literally anywhere. Don’t limit it!

When it’s Time to Move On

Part of religion’s work has been to help us understand our needs and desires, and to establish guidelines for socially acceptable ways to meet them. Of course, one way this has been accomplished is by dictating what our needs and desires should be. Many people are happy and fulfilled following a religious creed. They like having a clear moral code, familiar rituals, continuity with a tradition, and a community that shares their values – in other words, something tangible to believe in as well as a place to fit in.

But religion is not the only institution able to provide these things. As people create new communities and traditions, some feel stunted and restricted by religious teachings that contradict modern metaphysical and ethical ideals. Others are frustrated by repetitive services that bear no relationship to their actual lives. They crave meaningful intellectual stimulation and resent being bored. When anything in our lives feels like it’s stagnating (or taking over), it’s time to move on. Humans are wired for evolution, not stagnation or suppression.

Religious Abstinence

It’s interesting to note that one-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated – the highest in U.S. history. Those under 30 years of age especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. Among this demographic, raised in a wide range of belief systems including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, one-third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion. Their reasons for disconnecting from their family faith range from simple disbelief in the teachings and stories to the loss of loved ones to diseases like cancer (sort of a… “Why do bad things happen to good people?”).

According to Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, who writes frequently about religion, this young generation has been noticeably distancing itself from community institutions and from institutions in general since the 1990s. What’s behind this trend? In a nutshell, the group:

  • Comprises atheists and agnostics as well as those who ally themselves with “nothing in particular” or are “following their own path”
  • Includes many who say they are spiritual in some way and still pray / meditate regularly
  • Overwhelmingly says they are not looking to find an organized religion as most don’t fit within their spiritual needs and/or belief systems
  • Is socially liberal, with three-quarters favoring ideals such as same-sex marriage and legal abortion – beliefs that often go against mainstream religions’ views

Find Your Own Spiritual Path

As humanity continues to collectively evolve, many are coming to realize that there’s no right or wrong path to follow when it comes to religion / spirituality. What works for one person may not work for another. It all depends on the individual’s current stage of evolution. For some, that means more structure and dictation from external sources such as organized religions. For others, it means following a path less traveled and defined – one where binding rules don’t exist. These are spiritual explorers who’ve come to realize that the universe is full of self-discovery and where the lessons are unique / specific to the individual rather than the masses. To these kindred spirits I say, “Enjoy the journey!”

Do you have any interesting spiritual growth stories to share? How do you feel your journey is progressing? Share your thoughts below!

About Scott Matthews
The founder of Egoic Living shares more than 15 years of research about the human condition. A student of consciousness and metaphysics, he strives to bridge the gap between ego and being. Learn more.

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