By Yale Bowman, Staff Writer

Do you remember when you were young, and you started smoking weed? Maybe you don’t, or never did.

But, if you did, you probably remember how there were little pot jokes and idiosyncrasies all around that most people didn’t notice; but you began to notice them. Bear with me, but that’s what spirituality is, in a nutshell. We begin looking deeper through a new understanding. We can allow ourselves to begin noticing something divinely present and significant everywhere, in every crevice of the world, also in the heart and mind of each individual, and in every situation. We may still disagree with the individual or situation as presented, but we also begin to learn through a higher understanding of what is, and align ourselves with more optimal outcomes and courses of action.

When a spiritual path “opens up”, or when the mind and heart open up, we find ourselves thrust into a new perspective, seeing things through different eyes. The eyes we choose to look through are very important. We may start to see things beneath the surface far greater than our imagination, especially as we begin to rebuild our identities, our personal and collective realities, and our perceptions.

Want are your end goals; Personally, materially, emotionally, and spiritually? The “spiritual path” itself is simply a notion, and it consists of our steps, our personal choices, our ways of thinking; no system can truly define it. Only our inner compass can guide us during each moment. Because the universe operates through a quantum mirror, whatever we choose to look for we will find. Whatever we choose to believe we will receive, we will receive it. Look beyond just the superficial beliefs too, what do we believe on our deepest and most subconscious levels?

As with cannabis, spirituality can be empowering, healing, and filled with personal enlightenment; it can also be overly whimsical, fearful and numbing, misdirected in its use, and filled with an ego-based drive or application.

If we wish to choose the right path for ourselves, the best approach is to identify the end goals, and our values. This is where it begins. Choose wisely, but you can change them at any time, because as we grow these goals will change. They will change as the experience of walking this “path” becomes deeper, as we realize where our truest importance and necessities lie.

Is it excitement you seek? Mystical or psychic powers? Perfect enlightenment? These traits can be acquired within a well-directed path, but if they become the main focus, it is easy to lose sight of the true purpose of spirituality; to heal, to find fulfillment, to empower ourselves, to empower others and a more positive world through our own authentic self-improvements, and self-awareness; by the means of a ripple effect. We should develop a skill for noticing the magic within the mundane, it’s everywhere.

In my personal approach I choose to look for beauty. I choose to look for new sources of my own gratitude every day, and I try to appreciate even the most subtle blessings. Life is a spectacle. The more grateful and appreciative of life that I am through this process, the better life treats me; the better I can be for others, and the better impact I can make for myself, my community, and in turn the world.

The ripple effect starts, in my views and practice, with being the best and truest version of myself, then bringing that best and most authentic self forward as effectively as possible in each situation and moment, even when I am alone. I align this with an increasing awareness and understanding of myself and others, while minimizing criticism and judgment of myself and others, also of situations as well. I do my best with this knowing that there is no perfection, and I try to remain an invested, but humble student within the “School of Life”.

I also choose to look for “God” (or the natural intelligence and creative force of the cosmic universe) in everything, everyone, and every situation, so that I can foster a space for that connection. My own personal practice revolves around reverence for the intelligent universe; especially of the earth and its gifts in the form of people, nature, animals, its medicines, gods and goddesses, ancient and modern knowledge, science and metaphysics, knowing myself, knowing my connection with all things, and by being aware how my own perception of any and all things is the most powerful force in my personal (and collective) universe.

I have developed a deep faith, in regard to a great trust in the universe; faith in the great mother’s ability to care for me, and for all of us, in every way possible. As with even the best nurturers, some things don’t happen right away, but I trust that all happens within a plan that nourishes me, even if I can’t see the entire process in completion as she can. Especially if I don’t stand in the way of her nurturing hands, or question her too much, as her perspective from completion is rooted in infinity. Mother knows best.

Due to this belief, all is growth, all is for a purpose in my reality. And, when I treat all as growth, something magical happens; it truly is. I began at some point to view necessity, even necessary evils, as fortunate growth experiences, even when they aren’t desirable experiences.I learned to do this this after spending many years suffering from a chronic and debilitating illness, knocking at deaths door many times. I lived this way every day until a change happened within me. Yet another major difficulty had occurred when I thought I could take no more, but it was through these situations and catalysts that, by the grace of the intelligent universe, I started changing how I viewed things, and myself. Something amazing happened after that point; I began to heal. My health improved. I slowly regained my ability to eat and walk, I made empowering changes, my life was reborn.

I tend to enjoy life now much more intensely than I did before I was ill, and the gratitude and reverence I have for this and other “awful experiences” continues to grow each day because of the blessings they provided. Necessity can be good without being desirable.

Your perception of all people, situations, and things is the most powerful force in YOUR universe.

So how do we find our path to fulfillment? In life, in spirituality? We don’t need to face death as I did. We do need to identify our goals, true desires, and values. We need welcome anything that supports them by viewing even our challenges as growth periods and necessary re-directions, and we need not become discouraged in the moment if we can avoid it. If we do, we must realign with the universe.

When I am aligned, my universe is aligned.”

I like to remind myself of this. I must stay aligned with my goals and true desires, believe in my manifestations, and trust the creative processes of the universe. To personify this again, I trust the universe, I trust my “mother”.

In your path, choose to align with things that benefit you very personally. For balance, choose to align with things that benefit others very personally, choose things that also benefit the world, but there is no dogma or doctrine necessary. Do what feels right to you. Ask for what you need in life, and don’t feel selfish as you do if these are true needsThis is an open practice for an open mind, in a modern age. We become our own ultimate, our own guides, we begin to build a relationship of trust with ourselves and the universe, the great mother herself, on the deepest level by doing this.

Let’s continue to go inward, vibe with what resonates, discard the rest, but always be open to change within and outside of ourselves. Wisdom is ever-expanding, so we can always learn something new, integrate, and grow with it.

Let’s also be fair to ourselves too, we can absolutely still dislike our circumstances while learning to find growth and inspiration within them. We can also leave our comfort zones, and challenge ourselves in new and innovative ways, even if we feel fearful of doing so. As we do this, we shed the layers of who we are, we remove the years of conditioning, and step into the skin of our true selves.

So, what is a path? That’s a subjective question with a subjective answer, but in the words of the some Buddha or Buddhist I cannot definitively recall the name of (or find through Google),

“All is the way.”

All is the way. Every experience is included on your path. All is transformative. All is growth, everything is a signpost. Every experience can lead us deeper into our awareness and our gratitude, while every emotion and thought can drive us further in the direction of our goals and toward our contentment; but we must slow down. We must try to live more meditatively.

A beautiful life and beautiful world is not built through achieving and fighting for perfection outside of ourselves, or within ourselves, it is built through beautiful vision and inspired efforts. It is built through harnessing the laws of quantum physics which state one thing above all others. They state:

“all things are subjective.”

All particle paths are subjective, and all perception is transformative because perception is power.

Just as the path of an electron is subjective, so is every aspect of our world and universe which they (these particles) make up, and if we wish to change our lives, the power of perception is where we start. Without the perceiver, the world ceases to exist. The perceiver creates, as they write the story of the universe. We author our own lives with our thoughts and beliefs. When we as the perceiver change, when we align with our own sense of beauty and appreciation, daily life changes around us to be more beautiful.

What if we all lived with a more beautiful vision? What if we all refused to accept the injustices and darkness of the world, in our lives, but lived a bit more radiantly and trusting of the universe regardless? What if we also trusted ourselves in the process? If many of us did this, would it heat the Earth with blissfulness? What if our radiance could fuel the radiance of others, and we could inspire each other with this sense of faith, persistence, and hopefulness?

If you ask me, it would, and we can. It is not easy, as it requires looking for the glimmer of significant beauty in each moment and nurturing it. But what would New Earth be built of anyway? Surely not of fear, caution, regret, and angst. Surely not through carrying those obstacles we were only meant to climb, on a personal and collective level.

Perhaps it will be built collectively through the beautiful vision of each individual, fostering a space for the world to be more beautiful. Perhaps slowly, if we can find them and foster these glimmering pieces, we might begin to arrange them. Not just for ourselves and in our personal lives, but for the world as a whole through this rippling effect.

Now go, find yourself some magical pot jokes, spoken in the tongue of the cosmic universe…

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