The spiritual soul longs for a state of nearness to God. For some, this nearness is inherent from birth – they are born into their nearness, feeling it heart and soul. For others, this nearness is elusive – requiring more time and energy to seek out than anything else in life. While the search for a path to nearness is a daunting task, it’s one that, like anything else, becomes easier over time given enough practice and knowledge.
A while ago I made the case for Spiritual Education, and argued that the best way to cultivate an understanding of those around you is to learn about them and recognize the similarities and differences between you and them. But Spiritual Education has an entirely different purpose outside of the context of human unity.Given different circumstances, spiritual education also helps us tune into the truth that our hearts whisper to us on a daily basis. This whispering holds our truest path to nearness with God – many times it comes in the form of an established faith like Islam, Christianity, or Baha’i. Other times it’s much harder to pinpoint as some aspects don’t mesh with one faith in particular, or just not one we’ve ever heard of. Regardless of this truth, the only way to understand what your heart has to tell you is to learn about faith, both as a whole and on an individual level taking into consideration each separate faith and their ideologies.
Understanding faith and where your heart calls you is a long and difficult journey. It would certainly be simpler to stay in the faith you were born into and ignore the whisperings of your heart. It would be easier to put your head down and study your faith harder and try to put your whole heart and soul into the rituals and prayers that have gotten you this far. But if something truly is missing – you’ll find that hole in your heart expand until it’s a need you can longer ignore.
Researching your faith as well as others can stir some feelings of guilt for those who are searching. I’ve heard it many times over, “Why would I spend my time researching other faith when I should be learning more about my own?” And while that certainly is a valid question, the miscommunication here is that learning is the same as converting. Searching for truth can be done in your own faith, and it should be if you already belong to a faith and have been practicing for some time.
If you feel there is something missing from your current spiritual path, the first question you should ask is not, “What else is out there?” The first question should be, “What is missing from my path now that I hope to find along another one?” Asking this question instead will lead you to search for the answers you seek within your own faith before firmly deciding that another path is where your heart lies.
What is equally as important to remember for those that are not searching and are only curious about the other paths before them, is that researching other faith will still show you the truth of your own heart. If you are truly called to follow the path of one faith, learning about others will not show you a completely different image of your truth. It will only show you what differences exist between the paths you have been given and solidify the reasoning behind your beliefs. Put simply: if your heart’s truth comes in the form of Jesus, learning the teachings of Muhammad (PBUH) will not make you a Muslim, it will only show you the difference between the two and show you why you believe in Jesus.
Your heart has one truth to show you, and it can be exhausting trying to listen in on what that truth might be. But it’s important to remember to make time for your own version of worship while you search for what speaks to your heart. Don’t lose sight of what you truly want while trying to find a way to get there. If you find yourself searching in this great state of flux, remember that there is nothing wrong with worshiping in any way you feel comfortable, even if that means you fall back on methods from a faith you no longer identify with. Your spiritual path will always be a unique one, but investigating the truth of your heart will bring you nearer to God in ways you can never imagine.
Searching for your path but don’t know where to start? Click here to find some resources that can help!