The Relationship Between our Individual and Collective Spiritual Journeys

Our spiritual journey is unique. It will be different than anyone in history who has ever undergone this transformation before. Such a realization can be incredibly lonely and frightening.

When we start down this path we find our first guru and we read about the circumstances of their enlightenment. We understand their suffering deeply and believe that we feel exactly as they did prior to their shift. We read about their dark night of the soul, or their dramatic shift in perception, and helplessly try to recreate it for ourselves.

We start out treating enlightenment as if it comes with a manual. Sometimes even the most profound spiritual texts initially sound like this. We all know the instructions. You must surrender. You must accept the present moment. You must be still. You must be the witness. It’s almost like a to do list that we need to scratch off to become enlightened.

And after numerous attempts at mimicking the transformation of spiritual gurus I came to the realization that my journey is completely my own. I don’t know if, or how, I will become enlightened so I can not walk on the path as if I know where it’s going. I can not do something and know if it is helpful or a hindrance to my transformation.

It’s at this point out of sheer desperation that we reach out to the collective. We share our experiences and listen to the experiences of others. We scour the internet for wisdom and then share it with those like minded souls. We meditate, do yoga, have a realization, and then have this powerful instinct to communicate with those undergoing the same struggle.

It is this desire to share with the collective that fuels my individual journey.

What if I couldn’t blog? What if there was no YouTube? No Twitter or Facebook? Many of us may think that the world would be a much better place, and to a large degree I believe they may be right. But from another perspective social media has enabled me to create this huge community from which I find wisdom, and hopefully to which I contribute some myself.

The simple existence of this community has kept me moving forward. It has propelled me deeper into spirituality than I ever would have gone without them. Through my community I find encouragement, compassion, empathy, guidance and knowledge.

However, there is most certainly an element of sharing that strengthens the egoic “I”. It is the part that feels good when a post gets a lot of likes, or the part that feels excited when an original quote gets retweeted. The irony can get quite thick when you get a large response on some wisdom you had shared about not being your thoughts, and as a result start thinking how clever you are.

But perhaps the ego has a vitally important role to play in my personal journey. That as my ego seeks validation through a increasingly larger spiritual community I am also pulled deeper into the realm of spiritual seeking. As I surround myself with vast amounts of spiritual texts, lectures, and gurus, I increase the chance that I will ignite my transformation through encountering the right person, or hearing the right bit of wisdom.

Or maybe, and this is what I believe now, the greatest lesson I will learn through immersing myself into all things spiritual as a means to enlightenment will be its complete and undeniable failure. Perhaps this is where I will finally learn what surrender, acceptance, and stillness truly is.

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2 thoughts on “The Relationship Between our Individual and Collective Spiritual Journeys”

  1. Very true. Without the ego, there would be no journey. I also agree with the benefits of the online community – it helps to know one is not alone … or crazy!!

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  2. Enjoyed this and lots of Nods of agreement as I read. Something I’ve learned in my spiritual journey is EVERYONE is a teacher, EVERYONE is a student…we are all messengers. You’re sharing here is all these things and one more, you gain insight on what’s going on inside all jumbled up. Writing helps me process the dialogue and disconnected thoughts –helps it makes sense (and get input and sanity checks too!! Sharing helps others while we help ourselves. KEEP WRITING! 🙂

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