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Spiritual Practice

Where Do I Start?

“The mind is by nature restless. Begin liberating it from its restlessness; give it peace, make it free from distractions, train it to look inward, and make all this a habit." - Ramana Maharshi

How does one practice spirituality? It is a big question. There are so many options, so many differing approaches, so many competing points of view.

As someone who has a lot of videos on YouTube and gets lots of comments, I can attest to the wide range of ideas that are presented, some with great conviction and fervor. In the market place of ideas we can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices and endless stream of "latest and greatest."

But the questions I get more most often of all is the question "HOW TO?"

How do I awaken?

How do I meditate?

How can I heal this?

How can I deal with my family, boyfriend, spouse, children, ex-spouse, employer, life situations of all kinds?

Arrrrrggggg, where do I start?

We recently did an OM School Live episode about the necessity of having a teacher. In this time of unprecedented access to information, practices and spiritual "innovations" the necessity of an experienced guide cannot be overstated.

But then of course comes the question, "How do I choose a real teacher?"

OK, this is just one blog and one episode of OM School Live, so I can't address all of this in one sitting. So I am going to start with, what to me, is the most essential of all beginning practices.

It is the essence of meditation

It is the essence of energy healing

It is even the essence of personal development

And it is the essential spirit necessary for the successful practice of self-inquiry

It is the practice of Self-Compassion

It has other names:

  • Unconditional love

  • Self-acceptance

  • Allowing

  • Equanimity

  • Meditation

  • Upeksa

  • Self-love

  • Presence

  • Nowness

Those all boil down to the direct practice of simply bring present with your own feelings, with no intention to do anything other than feel them.

But it IS a practice. Try it. Just try to let yourself feel what you are feeling without any judgement of it. Without wanting to change or improve it. Without preferring some other feeling you would rather be having. It's not easy to do. And that is why it is a practice.

So why this as the starting point?

As long as self-rejection and the need for self-fixing is present, all efforts, no matter how sincere, will be colored by the desire to find some state more pleasant that the one you happen to be in. Every other practice will be judged on whether or not it delivers you to the new state. Meditation, self-inquiry, good works and all of the various yogas will be saddled with the responsibility of creating some emotional state.

In other words they will not be practiced purely, on their own terms but as a means to an end and thus the true end will remain forever out of reach.

And what is that true end? What is the ultimate goal of spiritual practice? The ultimate goal of spiritual practice is to know who you really are.

It is not to gain special abilities or esoteric knowledge. It is not to remain in some blissful state or altered consciousness. it is not even to improve life circumstances or heal whatever is currently ailing you. Those are byproducts.

It is to reach the true knowledge of who you ARE. When you discover what you are, the search is over. Practice is over. To be what you are requires no practice because... well... it's what you are. What you permanently, unchangingly, effortlessly are.

Because I regard this ultimate self-knowledge or self-realization as the ultimate goal of any spiritual practice, it is the criteria by which I assess all practices. And it is the reason I see self-compassion or what I call the Yoga of Allowing as the most essential and thus the answer to the often asked question, "Where do I start?"

Start here. Allowing yourself to simply feel yourself, which gradually develops into allowing yourself to be yourself and that will eventually lead you to the last step which is knowing yourself.

Join us for the next episode of "OM School Live" every Tuesday at 12 noon eastern time. at or in the private facebook group

GP offers dozens of workshops, meditations and courses on his learning platform, The OM School

Check out GP's podcast on Spotify and other media outlets

Watch GP Live Every Tuesday at noon Eastern and Every Sunday at 2pm Eastern or catch his hundreds of vides on Youtube.

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