Or..going for broke spiritually without going broke financially.
Or..why the Eckhart Tolle park bench and spiritual shabby chic is way overrated.
These are a few of my tips and recommendations from 23 years as a sometimes earnest, sometimes disenchanted, often dazed and confused consciousness cosmonaut and spiritual polyamorist.
A few breadcrumbs as you make your way down the spiritual path.
Tip 1:Don’t dabble. Don’t try to squeeze it in on the weekends or 2 weeks a year on vacation. Follow the sage advice of Sri Ramakrishna who said, “Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.” Throw yourself completely into the spiritual washing machine tosses you out. As quickly as possible get over the idea that it is out there..there is no out there out there.
Cure the addiction to spiritual seeking the way some people do with smoking–chain-smoke the whole dang carton in the car in the garage until the thought of ever going to another workshop again makes you feel sick. Up-level your addictions to things that are at least partly wholesome and light-filled and then let release those too.
Tip 2: Don’t Forget the Inner Journey
Of the Buddha’s Three Jewels (buddha, dharma, and sangha) the most important of all in his view was sangha. And you
will find fellowship and friends at retreats, conferences, workshops and other spiritual gatherings but the real spiritual journey is the 18 inches from your head to your heart. For some that is a solo journey, others find the passageway through comnitted relationship.
Tip 3: Give Yourself Permission to Float and be Soulfish
Be clear about what you are up to..tell your friends and family up front that you are going to be a spiritual self-obsessed odd one for a while until either your money, cultural conditioning, or resistance wears out.
Tip 4: Don’t over-rely on invisible means of support. As spiritual as it may seem to renounce all your worldlies, American culture doesn’t support or even acknowledge 21st century sadhus. Being a spiritualized poverty case can make you sensitive to all the wrong things. It’s not more spiritual to be poor and living on a park bench for two years won’t make you Eckhart Tolle. The New Earth needs karma yogis who can live powerfully in the material and spiritual and bridge both worlds.
Tip 5: When the going gets weird the weird turn pro.
I’ve made a semi-professional lifestyle out of traveling in spiritual/transformational circles with evolved and conscious beings. You can too. There is a temptation with consciousness exploration or spiritual practice to get more and more extreme or esoteric or weird in pursuit of truth..its not better or worse, just weirder, and a symptom of being what is affectionately known as a “bliss junkie” or monkey.
Because more and more people are opening to new dimensions and realities of being, lots of spiritually powerful places and techniques are really exploding in popularity. That means they are hiring and you can work in exchange for attendance/room/board or real money. Might as well get paid to be who you are, do what you love, and actually live like you are on retreat or in a conscious loving workshop 24/7, instead of having peak experiences and post-workshop traumatic stress disorder when you slink back to your cubicle like an occupational veal calf.
Likely Stops on the Journey of the Peace Pilgrim
Yes, the “path” is a pathless one, a gateless gate, a journey and not a destination..and still..there are space/time coordinates where other peace pilgrims and members of our tribe are likely to gather. These are a few to help focus your spiritual wanderings.
Groovy Workshop/Seminar Places Where People will Love on You No Matter What
- Esalen Institute
- Feathered Pipe
- Harbin Hot Springs
- Mount Madonna
- Nine Gates Mystery School
Conferences & Events With the Vibe
- Bhakti Fest
- Burning Man
- The Rainbow Gathering
- Yoga Journal Conferences
Buddhist/Meditative Havens & Sanctuaries
- Spirit Rock
- Plum Village
- Dhamma Vipassana
- Deer Park
- Green Gulch
Where the Energy/Healing/Intuitive Types Go
- Carolyn Myss
- Barbara Brennan
- John of God
- Theta Healing
Where the Cerebral Types Go
- Integral Studies
- Alan Watts
- Andrew Cohen
- Ken Wilber
- Robert Thurman
Where the Movement and Yoga Types Go
- Yoga Journal Conference
- Moving Center School
- Nia Now
- Five Rhythms
Spiritual Colleges and Universities
- California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
- Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP)
- Maharishi University of Management (MUM)
- Naropa University
- Pacifica Graduate Institute
- University of Santa Monica (USM)
Spiritual Mentors & Teachers
- Byron Katie
- Eckhart Tolle
- Jeddah Mali
Tools & Techniques
- The Hoffman Process
- The Sedona Method
- The Diamond Approach
- Holotropic Breathwork
- The Work
Enjoy the journey! Feel free to share your experiences and recommendations here.