I met God in the supermarket. 20 years ago. It was unlike any moment I had ever experienced, or have since...
It was an on the spot enlightenment which is still unfolding for me to this day. With the original intention to buy some 2 minute noodles, I walked out of the supermarket with no food, but a profound revelation. "I just met God" I told my flatmate when I got back home. He was understandably confused and intrigued by my statement, as were my other friends and family that I shared the experience with.
You see, I had never been religiously inclined. I used to give christians shit whenever I ventured on drunken expeditions into the city. So maybe I was asking for it?
The thing is, the experience was not a religious one. It was a spiritual experience, and one that is very hard to put into words.
After the intense download of what I can only call 'cosmic insight', I proceeded to share my knew understandings about God, that strangely only fully became apparent to me, as the words left my mouth.
For close to two years I would speak of spirituality wherever and whenever. Yet I hadn't read any scriptures or spiritual writings. People I would talk too were often very open to what I was disclosing. It seemed to resonate with many people on a very deep inner level. It was openness, acceptance, encouragement, and gratitude that flowed effortlessly into the hearts of those that were receptive. This changed somewhat when I eventually found myself following a friends steps into the christian pentecostal church. From here I took on the Christian doctrine and allowed my newly constructed beliefs to irritate and polarise my friends and family.
I travelled down that road for around 13 years, and eventually found myself full circle, back to the place of the personal experience and inner reference that is the spiritual journey. Once again I found myself able to converse with almost anyone on spiritual matters without defence or offence. And I can now see how that all makes perfect sense.
The spiritual path is one that can only be known by the traveller. No different than a physical journey. Sure, you can journal, document, take photos and share endless stories about your worldly travels. But that really means very little to the one that is the recipient of your spoken experience. It may cause intrigue and some insight for the listener, but at the end of the day, only the actual experience is the genuine article.
We can't have another persons experience, and this is almost self evident that the spiritual journey is one that you must take on your own. For it is essentially a journey to The Self. How could you ever expect to know God unless you first come to know yourself. And in this age of incredible technology and constant distraction, it is any wonder that people get a half minute to sit and be acquainted with their inner being. And I mean BEING, not thinking or doing.
When I have guided people into an inner conscious state, they often experience something that is unusual, insightful, and yet innately true for them. It is the state I call 'knowing'. This knowing, goes beyond judging or concluding, it is more of a rediscovery of all that has always been there within.
Now this journey can absolutely be made easier with a guide, and I don't mean guide in the tarot card, palm reading sense. Im talking about someone that has invested many hours mapping out and walking the inner terrane of the self.
Much like the Sherpa people of the Himalayan region of Nepal. They have become regarded as master mountaineers and guides due to their adapted capabilities in high altitude and knowledge of the environment. They have guided thousands of mountaineers from around the world to the peaks of the Himalayas, including the summit of Mount Everest. The great mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the top of Mount Everest, but it was not without the guidance and support of his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay.
In the same way the mountain we clime within, can be challenging and difficult without guidance from somebody that has ventured the inner environment themselves. with that said, the guide cannot have your experience. That is your part to play and realise.
So we take the journey on our own, but we don't have to do it alone.
I have come to understand that Jesus lead people in a similar way. He pointed people to seek the kingdom within, and when people were healed in His presence, instead of taking any credit, He was noted as saying "it is YOUR faith that has healed you"!
Faith is the spirit of inner knowing. It has nothing to prove, but everything to share. The word 'faith' comes from the latin 'federe' which literally means 'trust'. Trust is something that is deeply personal to the individual. It is not something that you can be easily convinced to have, because it is only realised through your own perceptions, conclusions and experience.
Belief is different. It is often looking for proof. As with the old saying "I'll believe it when I see it". As apposed to faith that says "I will trust it when I feel it". Faith is the intuition at play. Belief is cognitive reasoning, conviction and ideology. Belief attaches oneself to ideas, religions and social constructs offered by the world. Faith connects oneself to the self. It connects you to the only thing that you can ultimately trust in the world. You.
This is why I see the work of self improvement as spiritual work. It starts and finishes in the realm within. It can only ever happen from within. When I tell a client that we are doing spiritual work they seem to have no problem with that concept at all, because I am not forcing my beliefs upon them. I am simply helping them to navigate the vast expanse within themselves, and to learn that they are the answer to all their questions. The clients that I see coming to the greatest results in what they are wanting, are the ones that have learned to trust themselves. In other words, they become faithful.