Part of what draws people to a spiritual life is a feeling that they need to do something or be something.  It’s like a religious calling, but less well defined or less structured.   And most of us want to know what that calling is and want to achieve it the best way we can. This takes us on a journey to figure things out or “find ourselves.”  Religious callings are wonderful in that they take a lot of the guess work out of things.  They are a straight path that, while difficult to walk and tremendously challenging personally, defines the person and gives them very clear boundaries to live within.

Spiritual paths are just as challenging, but have the added difficulty of having the boundaries defined by the actions of the seeker, not by someone who has gone before or by some authority.  In fact, part of being on a personal path is that creating the boundaries is an ongoing process. One of those boundaries is figuring out what the path is.  One of the indicators of what direction to go is that you have a feeling.  You feel like you should this, that, or the other.  I should go here, do this, become that, meet them, etc., etc., etc.   But how does anyone know if that feeling is the right thing to do?  How do you know what the feeling means?  How do you know what to do with it?

There’s a difference between a feeling of what you should be or do and the actions you take.  Feelings are full of opportunities and potentialities, actions make those reality and have consequences.  Change is painful so causing pain or avoiding pain are not good guidelines for choosing whether or not to do something.  If the actions you take make positive change, have few roadblocks, and have few negative consequences, then even though they are hard or frightening they are worth it.  If everything in life starts pointing in that direction, then you know you’re on the right track.  If everything that you’re attempting to do starts falling apart, you can’t get from here to there, and you are frustrated at every turn, it’s not necessarily the feeling that’s the problem, it’s the actions you’re taking to get there.  There is something you’re not getting, something you’ve added that shouldn’t be there, something you haven’t dealt with that needs dealing.

Having a feeling about yourself and where you’re headed is great.  The thing about feelings is they can steer us in the right direction, but we still have to take the journey one step at a time.