We Walk Alone, but Choose to do it Together
We all want a life that is meaningful, profound and connected to something bigger than ourselves, but how can we make this stretch when the world may not understand our choices? What lessons can we learn from those who have walked the spiritual path before us? The process of attaining the life we want requires taking some big leaps of faith.
In the 1970s, many young people felt the need to do just that. They started cutting their long hippie hair out of determination to leave their old lifestyles behind. Drawn to a new truth and identifying themselves as Unificationists, they chose to dedicate their lives to building a world of lasting peace through acts of faith and service, living for others instead of themselves.
We must answer the call.
A spiritual journey may appear to others as running away from sensible choice-making in the short term; but it is actually more like running towards a truth that, once realized, becomes something we can no longer deny.
Take Saint Francis of Assisi for an example. He was the son of a wealthy merchant, but once his heart felt the magnitude of the world’s suffering, he rejected his lavish lifestyle, even going so far as to leave his home without any clothes on so that he could begin his journey towards enlightenment. The same goes for Buddha, who renounced his position as a prince so that he could more freely pursue spiritual truth. Had these religious leaders chosen to remain in a life that felt safe and comfortable, their profound insights would have never been realized.
It’s not easy to watch someone else be revolutionary.
Just like people of Buddha’s time may have perceived his choices as “crazy”, the spiritual diaspora in the 70s may have felt intimidating to believers of other faiths, and especially to elders who had hoped their children would follow in their own footsteps. Many began to incorrectly believe that these young people were “breaking away from their families” to “join a cult.”
In a way, this reaction is understandable, as every parent has hopes and expectations for their child. But part of being a parent is learning to let go. God, too, is a parent who has had to let His and Her children make their own choices. Without this process, real maturity and sincere ownership over one’s faith cannot happen.
Others will not always understand our need to venture off the beaten path, but if we are seekers of truth, we must be willing to walk it. Remember, everyone is on a spiritual journey, and for friends and family, letting go may be a part of theirs.
The journey towards truth is one we make our own.
Leaving the familiar behind is scary. While it can be tempting to put our spiritual life in cruise control and just follow what those around us do, the only way to find the truth we seek is to own our faith. That means sometimes having to make the choice to walk alone.
Every person’s journey towards faith is unique. We all come from different walks of life, and we come to understand things in different ways and at different points in time. Because of this, not everyone will understand or even care very much about the revelations that rock our world. This is normal, and part of the process of finding and owning our faith.
No two people will ever have the exact same journey towards God, but we are all journeying. While we might not seek God in the same ways as the people around us, we can take comfort in the fact that ultimately, we are all searching for the same things: love, truth, goodness and the chance to create a life we love.
Check out these practical tips to navigate your Spiritual Journey.