by Mateo Sol: There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you? – Rumi
Welcome dear wanderer.
You’ve come to this page seeking guidance, and that’s what I intend to give you wholeheartedly.
If you’re short on time, scroll down to see the Table of Contents. Otherwise, I promise you that this article is worth reading from start to finish.
And yet there’s so much more to us as a species than what we really know.
You and I carry the most mysterious and magnificent qualities within us imaginable. Yet, we unknowingly guard and protect the greatest gift that is our Souls from the world.
It’s so easy for us to feel meaningless when we perceive ourselves as mere cogs in society’s machine.
The truth is that we are much more than slaves of 9 to 5 jobs. We are capable of creating deeply meaningful, mystical, and fulfilling lives. We are capable of finding our true calling and personal destiny.
For centuries the indigenous people throughout the world have known that to fully explore the depths of the Soul we must go on a spiritual journey into the unknown lands within ourselves.
In many ancient cultures, they had Elders and Shamans to encourage and oversee these journeys toward a deeper spiritual existence. Sadly, these days in our own culture, we have lost such sacred rites and rituals. Instead, orthodox religion has replaced living spirituality with a theoretical god, dismissing, and outlawing personal experimentation and union with the Divine.
In this article, my aim is to help you start your spiritual journey.
What is the Spiritual Journey?
The spiritual journey is a personal quest we undertake to reconnect with our Souls, find our authentic life purpose, and embody our True Nature. In a nutshell, the spiritual journey is about returning to the Centre of our being: it’s a path traditionally undertaken by mystics, shamans, and sages. But in this day and age where times have changed, and we’re suffering from collective soul loss, the spiritual journey is accessible to all people. Indeed, it’s our deepest longing and highest calling as a species.
12 Signs You’re Called to the Spiritual Journey (the Ancient Hero/ine’s Path)
People have felt a pull toward something greater than themselves since the beginning of time.
Ancient cultures had many stories that served to illustrate the journey to fulfilling one’s destiny and experiencing Wholeness or Enlightenment. These journeys mythologist Joseph Campbell described as the “Calls to Adventure.”
A call to adventure is something we all experience at least once in life. When we embark on this adventure, we begin the process of gaining self-understanding and reclaiming our precious Soul gifts.
The archetype of the hero/heroine discovering their true spiritual nature goes back thousands of years. The Greek’s told the story of Orpheus who descended into the underworld to rescue his bride Eurydice from Hades. The Nordic people had their hero-warrior Beowulf, and the Sumerians wrote of Inanna who battled her sister in the dark world. Throughout history, there have been so many stories of individuals who have struggled through hardship to find themselves. But of what importance are they to our path?
Essentially, these hero/ines symbolize our spiritual journeys: of leaving everything familiar behind, entering the unknown, encountering numerous unconscious monsters, and finally returning back home with a sense of renewed fulfillment and wisdom.
Here are 12 signs you’re being called to walk the spiritual journey of awakening:
- You feel lost in life
- You long for a place that feels like your ‘true home’
- You keep wondering what your meaning or purpose is
- You feel like you have a big destiny to fulfill (which is yet to be revealed)
- You sense that there’s much more to life than meets the eye
- You’re experiencing strange synchronicities, signs, and omens
- You’re shedding your old self and are transforming, but you don’t know who you truly are yet
- There’s a sense of nostalgia and nagging longing for something you can’t pinpoint
- You experience bouts of melancholy, depression, and existential crisis
- You feel extra sensitive and fragile
- A lot of what you once valued seems meaningless and empty
- It feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you, and you’re falling
Can you relate to any of the above signs? If you can, you’re most certainly being called to embark on the spiritual journey.
The 3 Worlds of the Spiritual Journey (Which Are You Inhabiting?)
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.
At some point in life, we all experience the “call to adventure.” Often our journeys start when we experience a sudden spiritual awakening or dark night of the soul. Often without wanting to, we are cast onto the path of Soul expansion.
Like you, I have wandered these paths and have at times wound up lost and confused. For this reason, I find it useful to map out the spiritual journey in a way that helps the human mind know where it is, and where it will go next.
My Andean ancestry speaks of three worlds that we can experience in life: the Upper World (Hanaq Pacha), the Middle World (Kay Pacha), and the Lower World (Ukhu Pacha).
In many traditions and mythologies, these three worlds correspond to the different realms of Self.
The Upper World is the home of Spirit, the Underworld the home of Souls, and the Middle World is the home of the physical body and human ego.
Different practices and techniques are used in each of the three realms to help us spiritually mature and rediscover joy, peace, and wholeness.
Below I’ll explore each of these three realms with you:
Purpose: Personality development
In our everyday lives, we function within the middle world. The middle world is responsible for our ego development, and yet many people on the spiritual path ignore this vital element of inner growth. Without developing a healthy personality, our spiritual growth reaches a dead end.
In life, we all begin within the middle world, or physical realm. As children and teenagers we go through various years of personality change and growth. Finally, as adults, we all have developed unique personalities. Yet many of us fail to continue our self-development, getting lost in corporate jobs and the pursuit of money, status, and fame.
The goal of the middle world path is to develop a healthy personality or ego. Tasks involved in this process include the exploration of core emotional wounds, self-love, and the cultivation of authenticity. A healthy adult ego will be able to love freely, be vulnerable, express creativity, and display empathy towards others.
We cannot develop a healthy personality by using techniques from the Upper or Under World such as meditation or shadow work. Instead, we must use techniques that pertain to ego development and healing such as assertiveness training, non-violent communication techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP, and other psychological avenues of self-development.
Purpose: Soul discovery
Our Soul is the vital, mysterious, and wild core of our individual selves. It is the unique essence within each of us that goes deeper than our personalities.
Think of your Soul as a stream that is connected to the ocean of Spirit. Our Souls contain our destiny, purpose, gifts, and the ultimate significance of our individual lives. To access these deep layers and qualities we must descend into the Under World of our unconscious minds.
Unfortunately, for thousands of years, our culture has “protected” us from the hardships and dangers of the descent into the Soul. This has been done through the establishment of comfortable, predictable, and clockwork lives that revolve around material pleasures and shallow values. In fact, thanks to religious thought, the descent into our Under Worlds has been condemned as “evil” and wayward. Only Shamanic cultures and a few Western mystical schools like Hermeticism and Alchemy have dedicated themselves to exploring the Under World.
The descent into the Under World has been so feared and avoided because it is a perilous journey. There is a reason why Christianity referred to this place as “hell.” Within our Under Worlds lie our repressed thoughts, feelings, desires, traumas, and denied gifts. Often when we descend, or inscend, into ourselves, we come across many demons, ghastly creatures, and other parts of our Shadow Selves that we’ve been unconsciously hiding from.
Yet despite the fact that the Under World journey can be such a harrowing and haunting experience, it is ultimately a powerful odyssey. Only by descending into our personal Under Worlds can we truly embrace our true life calling, talents, gifts, and deepest values.
Under World, or soulwork techniques, include practices that allow us to access altered states of consciousness. These may include crafts such as lucid dreaming, drumming, shadow work, shamanic trances, breathwork, vision quests, etc.
Purpose: Uniting with Spirit
The Upper World journey, or that of the ascent, is what we often refer to as Self-Realization.
There comes a moment in our journey between the middle world and the underworld in which a fine balance is formed, allowing us to move up into the Upper World. For example, it’s much harder to “Spiritually Awaken” to the Upper World when our unconscious minds are plagued with deep childhood traumas (that stem from the underworld), trust issues (underworld problem), and poor self-esteem (middle world problem).
We enter the path of ascent up into the Upper World when we learn to surrender our ego identification (known as ego death) and Soul identification. Ultimately, we not only intellectually understand that everything is One, but we experience this truth at a core level. At this point, we are free from the illusion of having a separate self. This has also been commonly referred to as the state of complete self-realization or Enlightenment.
This permanent shift of consciousness is about merging with the Infinite, Divine, Eternal, and Absolute. Techniques used to taste this state of being are often found in the mystical schools of Zen, Kundalini, Taoism, Sufism, and disciplines such as meditation and yoga.