What Are You Searching For On The Spiritual Path?
This feeling is probably very relatable. Some describe it as emptiness or the sensation of something missing. Others might describe it as if they’d forgotten something but couldn’t quite put their finger on what it is. Personally, I experienced it as restlessness and the inability to stay still because nothing I pursued was truly fulfilling.
However you experience it, it will be the force that leaves you feeling unsettled or uncertain about the life you have. And like most people, we’ll search to alleviate this feeling in everything except the spiritual path. We’ll try to fill this void with work and relationships. We’ll build up careers and families and wealth. We’ll call it purpose and passion, thinking that these things will ease the aching in our hearts.
And to be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life and the gifts God gives us. But at some point, we have to confront the reality that these things will never fully ease the ache of the search. We have to confront the reality that maybe we don’t know yet what we actually want. And when we do know that that is, we have to accept that the things we’ve been pursuing won’t give it to us.
And that’s where the spiritual path comes in. The spiritual path tells us that these things - prestige, wealth, careers, titles, family and the like - while they may be beautiful and lovely, they are limited. It teaches us that there is something greater than that. And that greater thing is Divine Love. Divine Love, by its very nature, is unconditional, eternal, unlimited, and ever-growing. And while we might call it by many different names, it is the thing we’re all looking for.
‘People are so busy with this material world that they forget about Divine Love. They try to look for this Love in the outside world. They try to look for this Love in other people. They try to look for this Love by travelling around the world, but they forget that they have to travel not outside, nor try to find this Love in other people, but they have to find this Love in themselves. You have to realise how close you are to this Divine Love, which is here, inside your hearts.’ - Paramahamsa Vishwananda
And if that is true, then we must also accept that we’ve been looking for it in all the wrong places. Because God or Divine Love, it’s not found outside of you. It’s the very core of who and what you are. This means you have to find it within yourself.
That’s why having a specific spiritual path is important. It gives you a community, direction, and actions for how to realise that.
But there are many spiritual paths. Some go to the same places. Some go to different places. What’s important is that you find what is yours and what is not yours.
How Do You Find Your Spiritual Path?
‘How do you know Guruji is your guru?’ It’s a question many Bhakti Marga devotees have asked themselves at some point, have been asked, or have asked others. To put the question in other words, how do you know this is your path?
When I’m asked, I often shrug and tell them to ask Him. In lieu of that, I tell them to meditate on the question or on Guruji; the answer will reveal itself. The latter is probably not the practical, do-this-then-that answer people are looking for, but it’s the best alternative I’ve got.
Sometimes, when people ask Paramahamsa Vishwananda if He is their guru He’ll ask them what’s in their heart. When I asked Him if He was mine, He smiled and laughed and said, ‘Yes but you already knew that.’ And I did. I’d known for months that this was my path. I felt it in the core of my heart. He was simply confirming it.
There was no big moment, no grand epiphany, no light from the sky or whatever, but there was a change in the way I saw my life and ultimately my future. I knew it was my path because at the core of me, I resonated with His teachings, I’d experienced His Love, and I knew that the only god I was going to believe in was this loving one.
The answer to this question of how to find your spiritual path isn’t so black and white. It’s not a 'do this, then this' process. It’s exploring the spiritual paths that exist and finding the one that speaks to you, that calls you to be greater than yourself, that calls you not only to find that Love you’re looking for but to share it. And you’ll know, you’ll know when you find it.
‘When one is too attached to the objects of the senses, when one’s mind runs only towards the outside world, when one is going to doom oneself, out of His mercy and Love for humanity, God always sends help. He always sends a reminder. He sends the guru.’ - Paramahamsa Vishwananda
And the beauty of this is that God doesn’t leave us hanging. He calls us and guides us on the path. He sends help. Then it’s up to us to accept the call.
Accepting the Call
Take the first step. That’s the answer to accepting the call. Like the hero of any story, once they figure out what they want and explore their options and a guide appears, they are left with the realisation that they still have to put their effort in. They have to take the first step and then the second.
What your first step is, is up to you.
Within Bhakti Marga, people often attend darshan with Paramahamsa Vishwananda first as part of their search and then later as a first step. Or maybe they begin to attend sangha events or find another way of learning and living His teachings. What’s important is that you start walking your path with the dedication to learning more about it and living its teachings.
You do not have to run away to a cave or an ashram to become a yogi. Learning to live spiritually, no matter where you are, is a key part of spiritual advancement and transformation. Learn how with our free guide on living spiritually in the material world.