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Exploring spirituality can be deeply rewarding… and scary, frustrating and confusing. You’re touching on the boundaries of human understanding and digging deeply into your subjective experience and the objective greater reality. Unfortunately, true spirituality is hidden among the charlatans, religious scapegoating and New Age bupkis. That’s why this ultimate guide to spirituality was created. Learn the secrets now.
This complete guide demystifies spirituality for you. It explains the process of spiritual development and growth we all go through, how the greater reality works, the purpose to life and the spiritual laws that much of spirituality is based on.
Last but not least, it points you to many powerful, well regarded spiritual paths and frameworks that you can start exploring today – all in the name of your personal growth and creating the life you want for yourself and your loved ones.
To your growth! Let’s go!
By sure to check out all the links in this guide – they point you to many great resources. It’s the ultimate spiritual link roundup.
This is an entry in my ‘Ultimate’ series that teaches you how to improve yourself in a balanced way in all your spheres – physical, mental, spiritual and financial. Read “The Ultimate Guide to Becoming Wealthy” and stay tuned for the other ‘Ultimate’ guides!
1. I Respect You
Know that I respect you and your right to have your spiritual and religious beliefs. That doesn’t mean that I understand or agree with your beliefs. But I respect your right to believe them.
I’m not going to try to convert you to any certain religion or school of thought. I take a larger view of spirituality that leaves room for all belief systems.
And spirituality is a personal journey and my journey does not require me to convert anyone to believe what I believe.
This guide was written solely to help point you to many spiritual resources. Use what is useful to you and leave the rest.
2. Difference Between Religion and Spirituality
Religion has a set of organized beliefs and practices shared by a community or group.
Spirituality is more of an individual practice focused on developing personal growth, peace and purpose.
There can be some overlap between the two. The history of religion and spirituality is messy.
I’m only interested in spirituality and is what I’ll teach you in this ultimate guide.
3. Finding My Way
I was born and raised a Jehovah’s Witness.
They teach a small spiritual reality – God/Angels vs. Satan/Demons. And I thought that explained the reality of things. I also thought Jehovah’s Witnesses was the one true path to God and all other religions were false. I was arrogant and close-minded.
But at the same time, I was drawn to the more esoteric parts of spirituality that the Witnesses didn’t explain. Or in a way that satisfied me anyway.
I converted to nondenominational Christianity when I was 17.
My worldview opened. I had less rigid thinking but fell back into thinking that now I knew the truth of how reality works. And that this religion is the true path to God. But again, deep down I yearned for more in my spiritual path and Christianity didn’t fill that need.
4. Blazing My Own Path
I left Christianity and all organized religion when I was 22. Out on my own. Blazing my own spiritual path. I researched, learned and practiced whatever spirituality I was drawn to.
This led me to practice and deep dive into:
- Energy work and Reiki
- Chakra activation
- Eastern philosophy
- Ceremonial magick
- Enochian magick
- The Golden Dawn
- Spirit/entity communication
- Divination (Tarot, runes)
- Astral projection
…and many more spiritual expressions for 20 years now.
5. Am I in a Cult? Being Tricked by Satan?
Now, depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may think I’ve gone crazy. Or am in a cult or a New Age weirdo. Or under Satanic influence.
I understand why it’s easy to think that. Believe me, Jehovah’s Witnesses drill it into your head that it’s off limits to practice this stuff. That it’s ‘meddling’ with demons.
6. Christianity isn’t the Gold Standard of Spirituality
But what I realized is that Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christianity don’t have a lock on spirituality. Christianity isn’t the gold standard that everything else must be judged against. It’s not ‘correct’ and everything else is ‘obviously’ wrong. And all other spiritualities aren’t just the devil trying to trick you into sinning and having wrong beliefs.
On the contrary, I realized and experienced that Christianity is just a tiny sliver of spirituality and there’s a big world out there outside of it. Many other spiritual practices, realms and entities. Just as potentially valid.
I’m not saying Christianity is wrong. Like I said, there is room for all belief systems in my worldview.
Instead, I found something very interesting after practicing all this for 20 years.
7. No One Really Knows Anything for Sure
On one hand, I’ve realized when dealing with this level of reality, no one knows anything. Who made us, why we are here, what happens when we die. No one really knows. I can’t prove anything and neither can you.
On the other hand, it’s worth trying to figure out. Humans are driven to try.
8. Don’t Look for the ‘True’ Spiritual Path
And what I discovered: there are many paths to God. Not just one.
Don’t look for the ‘true’ spiritual path. There’s no such thing.
Don’t jump from one spiritual path to the next, seeking the ‘true’ path. I was guilty of this in my early years. One month, “I’m Wiccan”. Next month, “Now I’m a druid”. The following month, “Now I’m a ceremonial magician”. You’re just trying on different clothes. It’s a fool’s journey. Stop spiritually seeking.
But don’t declare that you’ve found the ‘true’ path to the exclusion of all other paths either. “Now I’m a ceremonial magician and this is definitely how everything works!” Yeah… until you find the next thing.
9. The Key: The Underlying Common Threads
Then what should you do if I say don’t seek multiple paths but don’t settle on one. Don’t seek or settle – then what are you supposed to do??
Approach it differently.
You need to realize that many spiritual paths. From different parts of the world. Spanning thousands of years: there are common threads that run through all of them.
They’re all trying to explain the same common spiritual reality.
They may use different terms. Focus on different aspects. Express themselves with different personalities. But underlying it all, there are common threads. And they are all paths to God.
10. There are Many Paths to God
These spiritual paths are pointing to the same underlying spiritual reality. As much as man has been able to grasp and figure out anyway. Is any of it correct? Who knows? But it seems like it because what they explain and teach is reproducible.
It’s not just faith. They teach the world is run by specific spiritual laws and processes.
You can plug into them. Use them. Use them for your gain or to help others.
It’s how the world works naturally but you can tap into it intentionally. Speeding up your results, growth and spiritual development.
11. Learn the Common Threads before Jumping into Spirituality
So, what you need to do before jumping into any spiritual path is to first learn those common threads that run through many spiritualities.
That will clear up a lot of confusion for you and avoid so much spiritual seeking.
Only then should you check out some spiritual paths and frameworks.
By taking that tact, you’ll be able to quickly tell how they approach those common threads. You’ll see that some spiritualities solely focus on some aspects of the greater reality and ignore other aspects while some pull from many aspects.
12. Understanding Our Approach
The rest of this guide is broken down into four sections:
- The big picture – Learn how the greater reality is set up,
- Spiritual laws – Learn the spiritual laws that run the greater reality,
- Spiritual goals – Learn the possible spiritual goals in life,
- Spiritual paths – Learn about some of the most powerful and beloved spiritual paths that can fulfill you and help you achieve your goals and fulfill you,
- Spiritual frameworks – Learn about well-regarded spiritual frameworks that pull from one or more spiritual paths and teach you step-by-step how to use the spiritual laws to reach your goals.
13. Words Fail Me
Don’t underestimate any of the resources that I link to in this ultimate guide.
The guide is written in a straight forward manner. It simply gives you the facts regarding spirituality and links to many great resources. Be sure to check out those resources. Any of them can be life changing and can be exactly what you’re looking for and need in this moment.
That’s because how spirituality works. Much of it is a subjective, personal experience. It’s about feelings, emotions, hunches.
A book passage. A video clip. A song.
All it takes is something small to have a big impact on your spiritual development.
I wish I could portray the impact many of the resources I link to have had on me.
14. Finding Spiritual Resources
For example, when experiencing and exploring a spiritual resource, I feel alive and a specific feeling comes over me. One with the universe. On fire. In the zone. A deep reverence and peace falls over me. A feeling that I’m simply doing exactly what I should be doing. I devour the spiritual resource – book, video – whatever it is. I think about, meditate on it. It starts off as knowledge but turns into wisdom as it becomes a part of me. Can you relate?
How Jenn Found Yogananda
I have a quick story about this. Jenn discovered Paramahansa Yogananda when she was in a bookstore around 2005. What drew her in? What she browsing books and picked his up?
Nope. His eyes. She locked eyes with him. From his image on the cover of “Autobiography of a Yogi“. The same image I’ve put here. She said she felt a tremendous connection to him. She has a special bond with Yogananda and his work since and deeply revers him as her guru.
NOTE: When I call someone a ‘guru‘ or say that I respect them in this guide, I never worship them or consider them a god. Everyone I link to absolutely refused to be worshiped. I also don’t consider them perfect and without fault. But I do respect and revere them and their teachings.
The whole process of spiritual development is amazing to me. There’s nothing else quite like it. But words fail me. Even what I’ve described here pales in comparison to what I actually experience.
So, this guide is written straight and matter of fact. Just don’t assume I don’t think much of a resource since I simply give a link about it without a detailed description.
15. Writing This Guide was Difficult
It’s difficult to write an “Ultimate Guide to Spirituality”.
On one hand, writing my “Ultimate Guide to Becoming Wealthy” was easy.
That guide lays out a well-tested approach to becoming wealthy. It applies to everyone no matter their age, occupation, race or location. It takes you step-by-step from where you are to a life and retirement that you can enjoy. It’s factual, it’s numbers. There is some ‘attitude’ training but that’s even relatively straightforward. People understand money in general terms so it’s easy to discuss and teach.
On the other hand, spirituality by it’s very nature is difficult to write about.
People, especially Christians in the West, don’t understand it. Think it’s weird or satanic. Also there are many different goals you can have in spirituality. So I can’t just say “follow this” or “do this”. So many different spiritual teachings and techniques. Spirituality is a much messier journey than building financial wealth.
With that said, this guide does its best at painting a picture of the wide spirituality landscape and then points you to many helpful resources no matter your goals or path.
16. How to Spiritually Grow
Before diving into the big picture, I would say that if you did nothing else with spirituality, then learning and applying at least these below would bring you centeredness, calmness and help you manifest the life you want. We’ll cover these as we move along this guide:
- Be open,
- Practice mindfulness,
- Meditate daily,
- Learn and use the laws of reality,
- Visualize and manifest your reality,
- Find what spiritual expression works for you,
- Express yourself creatively.
We’ll dive into each of these as we go along in this guide.
17. Be Open
I’ve put myself out there opening up to you about spirituality in this way. I know this isn’t common thinking. So now I ask you for one thing in return. Be open.
Open to new ideas. Open to possibilities. Be open to what I’m explaining. I’m not saying blindly believe it. You shouldn’t blindly believe anyone or anything, including me. But be open.
18. The Big Picture
Let me explain the worldview that this guide is based on.
It’s based on my research and practicing spirituality for 20 years and connecting the dots between the common threads of many spiritual paths and frameworks.
I take a scientific approach to life and spirituality: observe, research, hypothesize, test, analyze and share the results. That’s more robust (and less delusional) than having preconceived notions and trying to twist the world to fit them.
I firmly believe the worldview I explain in this guide is how reality works. I think it’s the best way to see the world and the most thorough model I know of. It literally covers all of reality. But my thinking is always evolving.
The rest of this ‘big picture’ section will describe the worldview that the rest of this guide is based on.
NOTE: Of course no one knows for sure how everything works. This guide are my opinions but I won’t use the phrases ‘I think’, ‘I feel’ and ‘in my opinion’ throughout to avoid cluttering the writing. But just because it sounds more authoritative doesn’t mean I’m stubborn in my beliefs and not willing to always evolve my thinking.
19. The Big Picture: Who/What Created Existence
An intelligence created the multiverse – an infinite number of universes.
It’s unknown who or what the intelligence is.
- An ethereal, eternal being?
- A scientist in a lab and we’re in a petri dish?
- A computer programmer and we’re in a video game?
- An engineer and we’re living a matrix/simulation?
- An advanced human being race (such as the Anunnaki) that evolved hundreds of thousands of years ahead of us created us (in their image – sound familiar)?
- We’re in someone’s dream. When they wake up – poof – we’re gone?
No idea. All spiritualities fail at explaining exactly who or what created us.
NOTE: I will use the words ‘God‘ and ‘he‘ through this guide to describe who/whatever created everything. Not because I think it’s a personal god, or a person in general or male in particular. But because words fail to adequately explain. Fill in your idea/archetype of God when I use that word – The All, the Infinite, the Creator, Consciousness, Father/Mother, etc.
20. The Big Picture: The Purpose of This Universe
No matter, every universe is an experiment. The experiment of this universe is ‘what happens when all conscious beings have free will?’. What happens when everyone can do whatever they want? There are consequences for our actions, but we can do whatever we please.
21. The Big Picture: Why God Created Us
God created conscious life because he wanted to experience things that he couldn’t on his own. Instead, he created each of us as individual sparks of His divine consciousness.
We experience the things – activities, emotions, relationships – that God couldn’t by himself. All of our experiences are ‘uploaded’ to him on a regular basis. Why? No one knows. Again, maybe he’s a scientist gathering data. Or we’re in his video game for pure entertainment.
22. The Big Picture: What is Conscious Life?
God created existence and all conscious beings.
What are conscious beings? We consider humans conscious. Some consider animals conscious too. They are but other things are conscious as well.
This includes plants, rocks, minerals and even planets. All of these are individual sparks of consciousness with unique personalities. They’re aware of life and are interacting with reality in their own way, just like me and you.
That includes all conscious beings on this planet but the physical universe is unfathomably enormous and is teeming with conscious life throughout it. On many planets. And also in other dimensions of reality.
NOTE: Throughout this guide I mean ‘all conscious beings’ when I say ‘us’ unless I specifically say human beings. It makes the writing more straightforward. But that doesn’t mean that I think of God as a personal god with a special focus on humans or that we’re the only beings in the universe.
23. The Big Picture: Multiple Dimensions of Reality
NOTE: There are other words for dimension that I’ll use through this guide including realm and plane. These mean the same thing.
24. The Big Picture: Spiritual Laws
God is not a personal deity that directly intervenes in our daily lives. Instead, consider him the CEO or general of the universe. There is a hierarchy of beings under him that follow his instructions.
God put spiritual laws into place. These are the rules and systems that run reality like a well-oiled machine. All conscious beings abide by them passively and automatically.
It’s possible to learn and utilize the laws actively and intentionally. This empowers you to manifest good health, wealth and happiness and quicken your spiritual growth, breaking out of the cycle of reincarnation faster.
25. The Big Picture: Your Cycle of Existence
You, along with everyone else, have lived many lifetimes through the process of reincarnation. You share the same destiny as every other conscious being. To work out your karma by spiritually learning, growing and evolving lifetime after lifetime.
Karma includes things you need to work out to continue to spiritually grow and evolve.
After each death, you return to the astral realm, leaving your physical body on the physical realm. You meet with your spiritual advisers. You discuss how that life went. What you learned and what karma you worked through and still need to work through.
It’s then decided if you’ll reincarnate back onto the physical realm. It’s a combination of 1) if you’re drawn to reincarnate again and 2) if your spiritual advisers tell you that you need to. That’s what I call volunteer/told = ‘voluntold‘.
26. The Big Picture: Karma
Situations come up in your life to help you work through your karma.
For example, you may have been racist for the last ten lifetimes. A slave owner in past lives. Cruel and heartless towards those of different skin colors.
Finally, in this lifetime, your daughter marries someone of a different race. The hatred and racism in your heart melts away as you get to know the upstanding young man.
When you die, you and your advisers agree you finally worked out that karma, it’s no longer stopping your spiritual progression and you spiritually evolve that much more.
This is literally how reality works moment by moment. Trillions and trillions of scenarios intersecting and dynamically moving into place every moment on all planes of existence so that we all can work out our karma.
Lifetime after lifetime, we pick our different parents depending on if we think they can give us the life and scenarios that we need to work out our karma and give us the spiritual growth and creativity we yearn.
Some lifetimes, you were born a male, others female. Some white, some black and every shade in between. You’ve lived in many different places around the world – and maybe even around the universe – lifetime after lifetime.
Eventually working out your physical karma, you’ll no longer need to reincarnate back to the Earth or elsewhere on the physical realm, finally breaking the wheel of reincarnation.
27. The Big Picture: The Ultimate Purpose
You ride additional wheels of reincarnation through higher and higher spiritual realms of existence until you work out all your karma on all realms.
You work out your karma and break the wheel incarnation on the physical plane, then the astral plane and onto the casual and so on.
Eventually, you return to the one consciousness of God.
This is when you decide if you want to retain your perception of individual consciousness or blissfully reintegrate with God.
It sounds scary to lose your perception of consciousness. It would be scary for you right now because you haven’t spiritually evolved enough. But once you’re evolved enough to decide on reintegrating or not, you’ll be completely at peace no matter how you decide.
28. The Big Picture: the ‘BIG I’ and ‘little i’
That’s because we each live two lives at the same time.
The ‘little i’ is the life you live from lifetime to lifetime when you reincarnate.
You take on a physical body, and develop a personality and persona: “I’m a dad”, “I’m a husband”, “I’m a doctor”. You develop a story: “I’m a terrible dad”, “I’m a great husband.”
This is the part we play when we’re incarnate. Life is just a play. We’re just playing parts like on a stage. It’s called Maya in Hinduism – life is an illusion, a dream.
At the same time, we’re also the ‘BIG I’. This is the one consciousness of God that is animating all of us and sits behind our self-manufactured ego of our ‘little i’.
So, in reality, we’re all connected and one because we’re really the one consciousness of God (the ‘BIG I’) that sits in the background of all of our ‘little i’ egos. We’re all one, all God, all love.
Here is Mooji discussing this:
29. The Big Picture: Self-Realization
Self-realization interestingly has two definitions and we’re interested in both. One is spiritual and the other psychological.
In psychology, becoming self-realized means reaching your fullest potential. Working through your mental neurosis. Such as anxiety, perfectionism and OCD. Learning how to recognize and lower your defense mechanisms. We’re interested in that as a part of spiritually evolving and becoming a better person.
But in spirituality, self-realization means something different.
Remember we talked about the ‘little i’ and ‘BIG I’? Becoming spiritually self-realized means experiencing that you are not the ‘little i’. That you are not the ego, story, thoughts, feelings and emotions that make up your subjective existence.
Notice I said experiencing self-realization. Not just reading about it. It’s something you can experience so it goes from something you’re aware of to who you are.
30. The Big Picture: Enlightenment
Spiritual enlightenment is related to self-realization. Like I said, Self-realization is experiencing that you are not the ‘little i’. Enlightenment is experiencing that you are actually the ‘BIG I’. It’s the full experience of realizing what you are and what you are not.
You are not Your Mind
You are not your mind. You are not your thoughts, feelings, emotions. Not the story you have manufactured – your past, your job, your identity – husband, dad, employee. Those are real but only in your mind. Those aren’t really who you are. Everything we think about ourselves is all self-centered: I, I, I. But when we dig deeper into that identity, you realize… there’s nothing there. It’s empty. It doesn’t really exist.
Then What are You?
Instead, you are the consciousness that sits behind your mind. I mean this literally. That consciousness is God’s consciousness. That’s your true nature and identity.
Usually, your made up identity (‘little i’) and actual God consciousness (‘BIG I’) both look out into the world from the same perspective. But through meditation and self-inquiry, you can turn your God consciousness and look at the mind itself. Discovering and experiencing that they’re different. That you are not your mind and that you’re actually nothing – “no thing”. There is doing without a ‘doer’.
Again, it’s an experience. Not just reading and understanding it cognitively.
I cannot stress how important the concept of the ‘BIG I’ and ‘little i’ are: it is the great truth and secret to reality and is the foundation of all spiritual growth, self-realization and enlightenment. But the importance comes from experiencing it and not just reading about it.
31. The Big Picture: Ancient Teachings Backed up by Modern Findings
The big picture that I’m describing builds a case for what the greater reality is like. It’s based on ancient teachings but validated by modern day scientific, medical and psychological thinking.
For example, the ancient teaching that everything is energy has been validated by science. Modern-day string theory may be mathematical proof the of existence of additional planes of existence.Science has finally understood the health and well-being benefits of intermittent fasting, which spirituality has espoused for millennia.
Here’s George Harrison of Beatles fame discussing bliss, consciousness and spirituality:
32. The Big Picture: Summary
This description of the greater reality may sound far-fetched but it’s not. It’s not fantasy or science fiction but is the natural order of things.
Natural, not supernatural. Normal, not paranormal.
I’m not asking you to have blind faith in this any other spiritual or religious teaching. Do not worship priest or guru. Instead, explore, investigate and experience the greater reality for yourself.
And like I said before, be open. The worst thing to think is that you know everything. Here are some quotes to inspire you:
“The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all.”Harry S. Truman
“Those who think they know it all have no way of finding out they don’t.”Leo Buscaglia
“What I learned is that it’s arrogant to be certain of anything. The world is a complex place and only idiots or assholes think they know it all.”Lisa Gardner
” You won’t learn if you think you already know everything.”Robert Kiyosaki
“The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.”Rajneesh
“I took his suggestion to heart and went from a “know-it-all” to a “learn-it-all”.”T. Harv Eker
The best writer I’ve ever found that describes and ties together all aspects of the greater reality is Wes Penre.
For example, he describes in intimate detail how babies are born on the astral realm. I haven’t found anything else close to this level of detail. It’s fascinating. Make sure you check out his work.
We’ll move onto taking a deeper dive into a lot of the aspects of the big picture we’ve been discussing. We’ll also start reviewing spiritual paths and frameworks that empower you to navigate the greater reality in a systemic, well-defined reproducible manner.
TASK: Depending on the faith you were raised and your current spiritual beliefs, you may think the spiritual reality described herein to be heresy, fantasy or New Age malarkey. Ask yourself why? The goal of this task is to come to a place of being open to possibilities.
TASK: How do you discern truth? Is something true just because you were raised to believe it? Is something true just because your family, friends and society believe it? Thinking that your beliefs are correct, does that make others wrong? Can seemingly contradictory things actually both be accurate?
33. Spiritual Laws
There are spiritual laws that God put into place that makes the greater reality run like a well-oiled machine.
God isn’t a personal god, interceding in the daily life of his creation. Instead, we usually interact with his laws and systems he put into place.
Think of everything that’s been put into place:
Consciousness has been created. Beings living and dying over and over on multiple dimensions of reality. The cycles of life, birth, karma and reincarnation.
And it’s not all static and in stasis. It’s dynamic and constantly moving. Trillions of scenarios playing out at the same time to help trillions of beings work out their karma, across multiple dimensions – moment by moment.
“The Kybalion” was published in 1908 by anonymous writers under the pseudonym of “The Three Initiates”. It’s been in the public domain since 1977 and is freely available to read online including here.
The Kybalion is a treatise on Hermetic thought and purports to be the essence of the ancient teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. It explains that there are seven Hermetic principles or spiritual laws that control all of existence.
You’ll see how the spiritual paths and frameworks in this guide approach and fit into the principles:
- Principle of Mentalism – “All is Mind”. Everything that happens is the result of what thought preceded it. Visualization, manifestation and the law of attraction are examples of this principle in action.
- Principle of Correspondence “As above, so below“. There is always a correspondence between the planes of existence. What happens on one, affects the others. Manifestation and divination are examples.
- Principle of Vibration – Everything is energy, to varying levels of vibration. Mental transmutation is an example of this; intentionally changing your mental state by changing its vibration.
- Principle of Polarity – Everything is dual, has two poles, and everything has its opposite. The spiritual elements, Bardon’s electro-magetic forces and non-duality are examples.
- Principle of Rhythm – Everything that is manifested has a pulse, an inflow and outflow, a measured motion. This principle empowers us to move from one pole to another, one state to another.
- Principle of Cause and Effect – There is a cause for every effect. There’s no such thing as luck or chance but instead the causes may simply not be known.
- Principle of Gender – There is feminine and masculine aspects in everything that is manifested. This is not related to physical gender or sex. Instead, feminine relates to receiving impressions (creating new ideas and concepts, for example). And masculine relates to giving impressions (giving or expressing, for example).
The 5 spiritual elements are critical to many spiritual paths and frameworks. They are fire, air, water, Earth and Spirit. They relate to their physical counterparts but are different. They’re the primordial energies that make up all of reality.
34. Spiritual Goals
There are three primary goals of spirituality. They are:
- Spiritual development
- God contact
- Manipulate/view reality for your advantage
You may may not consciously or intentionally think in terms of these three goals. So you may be working on one or more of these goals without knowing it. But ultimately, when practicing spiritually, you’re focusing on these goals.
Sometimes you may start out with more general goals. Such as, “I want to help myself” or “I want to help others”. Or with more specific goals, “I want to get my girlfriend back”. But you eventually work on one of more of these spiritual goals in the process of getting to your goal.
35. Spiritual Goal – Spiritual Development
You don’t need to practice spirituality to spiritually develop. We all develop naturally. But spirituality can speed up your development. Why would you want to do that?
Because we’re driven to. It makes your life better, more fulfilled, more filled with love. And because it’s more satisfying.
With that said, spiritual development includes the following. There is much overlap between them but I’ll give you some detail that is particulars to each.
Working Through your Karma
The ultimate goal of spiritual development is to work through your karma. To break out of the wheel of reincarnation on the physical realm. And ultimately break out of the wheel of reincarnation on every plane of existence (astral, casual, etc.).
Where you finally reach the one consciousness of God. Here, you have to decide if you’re going to retain your individual consciousness or meld back into the one consciousness.
Paramahansa Yogananda taught that Kriya Yoga is the highway to God and is the fastest way to work through your karma. You could work through karma in this lifetime that would otherwise take you dozens or hundreds of lifetimes to work through.
Kriyananda, devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda, wrote a fantastic book on karma and Kriya Yoga called, “The Laws of Karma: Deeper Insight to the Esoteric Teachings of Kriya Yoga“.
Experiencing Self-realization and Enlightenment
As we’ve said before, self-realization is experiencing that you are not your ego-created identity (the ‘little i’). And enlightenment is experiencing that you’re actually the consciousness that sits behind it (the ‘BIG I’).
In totality, that means experiencing that everything is one. We separate things. That’s a ‘table’, ‘chair’, ‘you’ and ‘me’. But in actuality, we’re all the same ‘thing’. In this moment right now.
One common analogy given is that God is the ocean and we’re a wave. We consider a wave a separate thing but it’s also all the ocean. Where does one end and the other start?
This experience isn’t something you need to seek, you are already that. You just have to see it and realize it for yourself.
Popular self-realization and enlightenment teachers are:
Here is Adyashanti discussing the experience of no self:
Mooji is another great teacher. He has a gentle, funny manner and is deeply touching and insightful. He is constantly pointing people to how to experience self-realization for themselves. Here is an example:
I also have to throw this video of Mooji in here. One of my all-time favorites.
Sometimes people experience bliss and laughter when their soul is being touched and fulfilled, especially around those that are self-realized and enlightened. Also great example of dropping all the thoughts and questions of the mind and just “being”. So wonderful and funny (especially the second devotee – starts at 4:30)!
Meditation is a tool with many purposes. It can be used for centering yourself, working through mental neurosis, visualization, manifestation, performing magick, God contact, self-inquiry, self-realization and enlightenment.
There are many schools of thought and instruction on meditation. The best general use instruction I’ve found is the well-regarded Headspace app. It was created by a mindfulness and meditation expert that is an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk. Start your free trial today.
Activating your Chakras
Chakras are energy centers in your body. There are seven main ones, many smaller ones and energy pathways that run between. They’re similar to our physical organs and blood vessels.
Chakras play a big part many spiritualities including Hinduism and Western occult traditions.
Your chakras can become closed or clogged due to childhood trauma or from pass lives. Each chakra focuses on a certain aspect of your being.
For example, your third eye is responsible for extrasensory perception (ESP), pre-cognition and astral projection.
There are many ways to clear and open your chakras. Here is a comic that explains how to open your third eye.
Yoga is a group of spiritual, mental and physical exercises. Most Westerners think of just the physical types of yoga or they think yoga is meditation.
Many of the spiritual paths and frameworks listed in the guide incorporate some form of yoga.
If you’re looking for a physical yoga plan, check out Nerd Fitness Yoga.
36. God Contact
Is it possible to directly contact god? There are some possibilities:
- Prayer could be considered a form of (one-way) contact if your message reaches God or if he cares about individual communication. Scientific research results has been mixed.
- Astral projection – Robert Bruce, famed astral projectionist and spiritualist, regularly projects to the astral dimension and beyond. He pushes the boundaries to see how far humans can go. He’s gone to the outer most areas of space. He’s gone millions of years into the past. He tells the story of how he wanted to see if he could get to God himself. He worked his way through the dimensions. Finally, he saws celestial gates, a throne in the distance, a symphony of beautiful singing, powerful drumming. He was told by angelic beings he couldn’t go any further because he was not advanced enough to see the face of God and live.
- Merkabah mysticism may be a solution to reaching God through astral projection. It was an early form of Jewish mysticism starting around 100 BCE. The system taught how to navigate the astral and other dimensions to reach God. The key was to know how to navigate the realms and to speak certain phrases to be allowed to get through checkpoints. The practitioners are called the Merkabah Riders.
- Paramahansa Yogananda taught how to have direct God contact through meditation. Yogananda released a series of instructional lessons through his Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) organization. They walk you through the right outlook and actions you need to take to obtain God-realization – direct communication and commune with God. You can sign up for the lessons here.
37. Spiritual Goal – Manipulate/View Reality to Your Advantage
NOTE: I used Aleister Crowley‘s spelling of spiritual magick to differentiate it from sleight-of-hand stage magic.
Is magick real? Do spells work? Curses? Hexes? In a word: yes. You can do things that seem like they’re wishful thinking. Or that shouldn’t work but… they work. And it’s not just luck because it’s reproducible. And at much better rates than chance.
First, what is magick anyway? I agree with Aleister Crowley’s definition:
“The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”– Aleister Crowley
But doesn’t that sound vague though? Based on that, isn’t doing anything to accomplish your goals considered magick? Yes. That’s the point of his definition.
You can do regular everyday actions or magickal processes to accomplish your goals. The mundane and the magickal. Because at the end of the day, they’re both the same. It’s just that we currently understand how the mundane works but not the magickal (yet).
Franz Bardon’s definition of magick speaks to this:
“True magic therefore is the high knowledge of the more subtle powers that have not yet been acknowledged by science up to this date because the methods of scrutiny that have been applied so far do not suffice for their grasping, understanding and utilization, although the laws of magic are analogous to all official sciences of the world.”– Franz Bardon
How you Perform Magick?
But how do you actually perform magick? That’s where most beginners get goofed up. Many beginners just perform a ritual or recite a spell from learning them from a book or website and are disappointed when they don’t get results.
That’s because they’re going through the motions but the ritual or spell isn’t magickally charged. There is a magickal system that you must learn. You need to learn how to plug into it and power your magick with it. Until then, you’re just going through the motions and playing pretend.
That’s actually how most magickal schools and frameworks teach magick. They teach you rituals and practices step-by-step. What to say, how to move. But you’re performing rituals that aren’t powered. That’s good because you can’t get hurt that way. You can’t get spiritually hurt while you’re spiritual ‘young and dumb’ so to speak. But then once you’re ready, they teach you how to plug in. The magickal frameworks listed later in this guide take this approach.
Here’s a great talk with Grant Morrison on magick and if it’s real:
Astral projection is when your awareness leaves the bounds of your physical body and travels to other parts of the physical world or to other dimensions including the astral realm.
You astral project every night when you sleep. It’s a natural process. Even animals project.
Your ‘soul’ doesn’t leave your body and demons can’t possess you. Instead, a energetic double of yourself splits off – ‘you’ stay in your body and the copy of ‘you’ goes out of your body and projects.
The reason why you don’t remember your projections when you wake up is because only one ‘you’ can write memories to your mind. And you haven’t trained yourself to have strong enough projections that those memories are written to your mind.
You can learn to project intentionally and on command. Teachers show you how step-by-step. From how to project, how to navigate different dimensions, how to protect yourself (it’s a big, strange world out there) to how to come back into your body on command and remember your astral travels.
Why would you want to astral project?
Why would you want to astral project? For multiple reasons:
- Fun – for the pure entertainment and novelty of leaving your body and going anywhere around the world, in the physical universe and other dimensions – in the blink of an eye.
- Socialization – friends regularly meet up on the astral to talk, play games and even have astral sex.
- Learning – to travel to other realms, speak with other beings, to gain spiritual knowledge, to grow and evolve.
Popular astral projection teachers are:
If Robert’s tactile technique doesn’t speak to you, definitely check out D. Scott Rogo’s, “Leaving the Body: a Complete Guide to Astral Projection“. He takes a scientific, reproducible, down-to-Earth approach to projecting. He also goes over many different techniques compared to Robert’s one. This is helpful because, as he explains, we’re all different and different techniques work for different people.
Visualization/Manifestation (Law of Attraction)
Manifestation or law of attraction is the belief that positive or negatives thoughts bring you positive or negative experiences. It sounds too good to be true and pure make believe – “think of anything you want and it comes true”.
But it’s true. Man creates his own reality through his thoughts. Manifestation is one of the most powerful spiritual laws you can understand and use.
Whatever we think imprints itself onto the astral realm and if the thought pattern is strong enough, it takes root and then must become reality here on the physical realm.
This is what occurs at all times from the billions of individual conscious beings on this planet and untold trillions from around this physical universe. Because of that, there are many confluent and conflicting forces at play and so it’s not as easy as thinking once that you’ll be rich, and a pile of money will appear before you.
Action doesn’t only occur from thinking about doing something and then actually doing it but the action of thinking itself has an impact on the thing actually appearing or happening. And sometimes only thought and no action is required. But you need to understand the frame of mind you need to be in for the best chance of manifestation to succeed.
Frame of Mind to Manifest
To manifest something, you need to behave as if it has already happened. Live in the end of it.
How would you act if you actually achieved your desire? Then actually act that way. This is meant literally. This is the secret to manifesting anything you desire.
If you desire a new job, how would you feel if you got it? Amazing, happy, relieved, giddy, excited? Then feel that way now. What would you do if you got the job? Tell friends and family? Visualize yourself doing that – not just picturing it but using all the senses. If you’d tell them over dinner, what does the room sound like and the food smell and taste like? What does the wine glass feel like as you make a toast?
Living in the end of the thing desired is required because there is no past or future and the only moment that truly exists is the present. So if you’re always thinking of wanting to get your desire, then the universe will give you what it thinks you want in this present moment – the state of being in wanting and lack!
So counter-intuitively, you need to act if you already achieved what you want to get it through manifestation.
People visualize and manifest all the time without realizing it:
- When blowing our birthday candles they ‘make a wish’ – visualize what they want. It’s also a magickal act as smoke takes the ‘wish’ to the astral.
- Basketball players imagine (visualize) the ball entering the hoop right before they take the free throw.
- Architects and artists see what the end result of their work will be as they’re creating it.
Here is one of Neville’s direct students discussing his teachings and exercises:
Divination works but there are many fakers and frauds. I know the stereotypes about fortune tellers making stuff up and ripping off vulnerable and susceptible victims. That’s not true divination and not what I’m talking about.
Here’s a funny example of the classical psychic charlatan:
There are different opinions of how divination works. I believe that the divination method used (Tarot, runes) is just a tool that allows you to tap into your own mental powers to glean the future. Eventually, they become a crutch and you won’t need them. The power was in your mind all along.
Even the best mediums can predict the future incorrectly for a couple reasons:
- You rarely see the future directly through clear images like a movie. Instead it’s usually through flashes of emotions, feelings, sensations and disjointed imagery. It’s hard to interpret it correctly.
- You can simply be having an off day. Even the best mediums can have poor divination sessions. We’re human, it happens.
- The future isn’t set. It’s more about potential possibilities. I equate it to being a weatherman. Sure, they get a bad rap (“it’s the only job where you can be wrong more than half the time”). But that’s not the weatherman’s fault. Our models are getting better at telling future weather but the weather is always changing and it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen. Same thing with divination.
- Divination picks up on the strongest forces forming in the future. That’s why a lot of mediums will pick up on war, death and anger. Those are the strongest forces. It’s much harder to pick up on future events that have subtle forces such as love, calmness and peace.
The Rider Tarot deck is by far the most popular and the one that is recommended for most beginners.
Ed Dames was one of the first students trained in the Stargate Project. He’s gone on to give talks and write about RV. He has pushed RV to extremes, with target sessions on Atlantis, UFOs, Mars and aliens.
For example, he has explained how he remote viewed aliens. They at first looked like the stereotypical grey alien description but upon additional remote viewing he discovered they actually looked like demons as described in the Goetia and other grimoires. Yes – he determined aliens and demons are the same beings (that blows my mind and I love that theory).
Here’s a summary of a CIA experiment right on their website where a remote viewer is asked to remote view specific coordinates. He described buildings, shadowy figures and a collapsing civilization. He didn’t realize it wasn’t Earth until afterwards when they revealed from a sealed envelop that they had asked him to remote Mars from 1 million years ago.
Here’s a discussion and example of remote viewing (no, I have no idea why the interviewer is wearing a helmet!):
38. Spirit Contact
NOTE: Evocation is calling upon spirits. Invocation is inviting spirits inside of you (a form of possession). Obviously, invocation is more dangerous.
39. Quick Lesson: Past, Present and Future
Time is an Illusion
The single most important action you can take to improve your well-being and spiritual develop is to stay in the present moment by practicing mindfulness.
Time as we think of it is an illusion. The only true moment that exists is the current one.
The past is merely our memories of present moments that have occurred.
The future is only our thoughts of possible current moments that haven’t yet happened.
Our perceptions of the past and future are filtered through our minds and warped and bastardized by our neurosis and defense mechanisms.
How to Stay Present
Stay in the present moment by focusing on what is going on around you in the current moment, moment-by-moment, and try to experience it directly instead of thinking about, filtering and judging what’s going on. You stay “out of your head” as much as possible.
So much of our neurosis and defense mechanisms are based on thinking of the past or worrying about the future and being too much “in your head”. Staying in the present moment combats and counteracts much of this mental suffering.
It is also a great antidote to slow your perception of time back down when your “fight or flight” response triggers and seems to make everything speed up chaotically.
Asking yourself “what is wrong in this moment right now?” is a great way to check if you’re staying present and you know you are if you answer “nothing”. You’re not present if your mind instead goes to thoughts about the past or future.
Don’t take any of this to philosophical extremes. Yes, you can still think about the past. Can still plan for things in the future. And you can still be “in your head” when it makes sense. But being in the present moment keeps these balanced and moderated.
Staying in the moment may begin as an artificial exercise you perform but you’ll quickly come to appreciate the naturally calm, centered, peaceful, lucid state that you’ll find yourself in.
Eckhart Tolle came out of nowhere with the instant classic, “The Power of Now“. It teaches the importance and power of mindfulness and staying in the present moment. As of 2009, it has sold 3 million copies in North America alone and translated into 33 languages. He’s now regularly considered one of the top spiritual leaders in the world.
Here’s a great video by Eckhart that explains the power of the present moment:
TASK: Observe your thoughts for one week. Do they stay in the present moment do they gravitate to the past or future? How about when you’re calm and when you’re stressed? Journal your observations.
TASK: Focus on the present moment, moment-by-moment, for one week. Try to discern when your mind focuses on the past or future. Are there certain triggers you can identify? Journal your observations.
40. Spiritual Paths
Spiritual paths have developed over time. They usually include philosophical teachings as well as exercises or actions you can take to reach the goals that the spiritual path defines.
Here is a list of spiritual paths that include many of the common threads that we’ve discussed throughout this guide.
41. Spiritual Path – Ceremonial Magick
Ceremonial magick is characterized by long, complex rituals and the addition of accessories to aid the practitioner.
Ceremonial magick had a revival in the mid 19th century. Eliphas Lévi published a treatise called “Transcendental Magic: It’s Doctrine and Ritual” which has proven popular. His version of magic has become a great success since then.
The height of ceremonial magick’s popularity was in the late 19th century to early 20th century with the rise of the Golden Dawn (Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). It probably has had the single biggest influence on Western occultism.
42. Spiritual Path – Chaos Magick
Chaos magick is a contemporary magical practice. It was initially developed in England in the 1970s.
Chaos magick is “results-based” and prioritizes achieving results over the methods used. It freely pulls from any spiritual tradition and practice – whatever works to achieve the result. It has a postmodern vibe that has little patience for ceremonial’s traditional and ‘stuffy’ pedantry and ornamental traditions.
Notable practitioners and works include:
- Peter J Carroll – “Liber Null & Psychonaut” book is considered a defining work of the chaos magick movement.
- Grant Morrison
43. Spiritual Path – Enochian Magic
The entities gave them a unique language, a system of ceremonial magic and instructions on how to use them.
Jason Louv wrote a great historical account of it in his amazing 2018 book, “John Dee and the Empire of Angels: Enochian Magick and the Occult Roots of the Modern World“.
Enochian magick is considered one of the most powerful and dangerous forms of magick and that is saying a lot. Mostly because the entities (whatever they are – angels, demons, aliens) are powerful, strong-willed, can wreck your life and don’t have patience for beginners.
44. Spiritual Path – Hermeticism
Hermeticism (or Hermetics) is a unified philosophy and word-view that teaches the greater reality can be understood and manipulated for your personal gain. Those teachings are summarized in the Kybalion.
Although the Kybalion was published in 1908, it’s a summary of writings known as the Corpus Hermeticum which is dated to around to the 2nd century AD.
Hermetics has had a tremendous influence on Western occult teachings and much of it is based on its teachings.
45. Spiritual Path – Buddhism
Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion. It was founded by Siddhārtha Gautama who was born in 623 B.C.
Siddhartha’s early life is one that many people can related to even two thousand years later. He was born wealthy and was given everything he wanted. They kept him inside the kingdom’s walls and not allowed to go outside of them.
He started noticing not everything in life is wonderful all the time. He started asking questions: why do people get sick? Why do people get old? And why do we die? Maybe you’ve wondered these too?
The Buddha Searches for Answers
He decided to leave the kingdom to search for answers. Not to be a leader, priest or guru (he was adamant that he was never to be worshiped).
He wanted to understand why we suffer. He went to the all the land’s most knowledgeable Hindu priests but they couldn’t give him answers. And he practiced extreme forms of fasting but didn’t receive answers there either.
Finally, he sat under the Bodhi Tree, determined to not stop meditating until he got his answer. Finally, by that morning, he experienced self-realization and became enlightened.
Afterwards, he went out to the people to teach them what he discovered and experienced. But he was afraid to teach it, not knowing how and concerned that people wouldn’t believe him or understand him. Some didn’t believe him because when questioned, he said he became enlightened on his own and not taught by anyone which was unheard of.
Ultimately, people got his message as there are over 520 million Buddhists worldwide.
Watch this wonderful documentary on the Buddha for the whole story:
46. Spiritual Path – Hinduism
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion in the world.
It’s considered a fusion of multiple Indian philosophies, cultures and traditions and no founder. Although it contains a broad range of philosophies, it’s linked by a shared cosmology, sacred sites and writings such as the Upanishads (a part of the Vedas).
47. Spiritual Path – Kabbalah
The Kabbalah (Qabalah, Cabala) was originally a part of mainstream Judaism and is Jewish mysticism. It concerns itself with the definition and characteristics of the divine, infinite creator of existence and it’s fallible, finite creation.
The Kabbalistic teachings were removed from mainstream Judaism and went underground. It was kept alive through the centuries. It had a resurgence during the late 19th century and early 20th century and was a central teaching in the Golden Dawn.
48. Spiritual Path – Wicca
Wicca is a modern spiritual path based on ancient concepts. It’s a part of the Pagan tradition as well as considered an extension of the Western occult movement.
Wicca is an Earth-based spirituality and focuses on worshiping a God and Goddess. There is no central leader of Wicca. It’s teachings and practices include karma (The Rule of Three), reincarnation and sympathetic magic.
Wicca was introduced to the world by Gerald Gardner in 1954.
49. Spiritual Frameworks
People from around the world and through the millennia have developed spiritual frameworks to help understand, utilize and teach the spiritual forces and laws. They all try to explain the same things but in different ways and with different focuses and personalities. They typically pull from multiple spiritual paths and condense their teachings and give step-by-step instructions to help you progress on your path.
It’s recommended that you acquaint yourself with them to see how they explain the greater reality, ultimately selecting and going deep into a framework aligned with your personality and ultimate spiritual goals.
This is in contrast to jumping from framework to framework, becoming an ‘armchair magician’ where you read a lot about spirituality but actually do very little.
It’s also discouraged to “make up” your own spiritual framework. Although it may seem fun and exciting, you’re deluding yourself, barely scratching the spiritual surface and playing ‘make believe’. Only once you go deep into a spiritual framework, should you then set out and blaze your own path.
Some examples of well-established frameworks include:
50. Framework – The Mind Illuminated
Who hasn’t sat in meditation wondering, “What am I supposed to be doing?”, “Am I doing it right?”, “what’s the point of all of this, anyway?”. (I know I have!) Then Culadasa’s book is for you.
Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.) is an ordained meditation master in multiple Buddhist traditions as well as having a Ph.D. in neuroscience. He wrote “The Mind Illuminated“, a book that walks you step-by-step how to gain not only peace and centeredness but ultimately experience self-realization and enlightenment.
He combines the ancient teachings with modern day neuroscience to walk you step-by-step not only in what you should do, but why you should do it, and what you’ll experience step-by-step and how to avoid common pitfalls.
Culadasa writes in a clear, reassuring, friendly style that you can tell is based off multiple decades of meditation mastery.
“The Mind Illuminated” has become well-respected and highly recommended. It’s frequently listed as the book that everyone recommends if they’re asked which one book would they recommend to a new or experienced meditation practitioners.
- “The Mind Illuminated” book on Amazon
- Culadasa’s website
- Culadasa’s YouTube channel
- The Mind Illuminated sub-reddit
Here’s a video of Culdasa explaining the benefits for meditation, therapy and awakening:
51. Framework – Initiation into Hermetics (IIH)
IIH is a crash course on Hermetic magick and manipulating reality to your advantage. The book is laid out in ten steps.
Bardon’s teaches about electro/magnetic forces and elemental fluids. These are similar but different than the mundane electro/magnetic forces that we’re familiar with.
IIH has become a seminal magical instruction system. But Barbon’s writing style is very direct, strict and stern. It may partly be due to the translation from the original Czech to English.
In any event, people commonly recommend studying from Rawn Clark’s “A Bardon Companion” at the same time. He walks you through the steps and explains why Barbon is having you do what he tells you to do and gives some additional context and flavor.
- “Initiation into Hermetics” book on Amazon
- “A Bardon Companion” by Rawn Clark’s – free PDF
Here’s a video by Martin Faulks, a hermeticist and big Bardon fan, talking about the origins of Bardon’s teachings:
52. Framework – The Psychonaut Field Manual
The “Psychonaut Field Manual” by Archtraitor Blueflake is a popular instructional cartoon series. It teaches you step-by-step the basic practices of Chaos magic in an easy to follow and understand format.
53. Framework – Modern Magick
Donald Michael Craig published “Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts“. It’s a seminal work that brought ceremonial magick to a wider audience. He pulls a lot from the Golden Dawn but boils it down and makes it easier to understand and perform.
54. Framework – Astral Dynamics
Robert Bruce wrote the seminal book, “Astral Dynamics“. He followed it up with “Mastering Astral Projection“. Both do a great job at teaching you step-by-step on how to astral project, protect yourself when protecting and how to remember your projections.
55. Framework – Quareia
Quareia is a free online magickal training course.
It is extensive, deep and extremely well written. It walks you through over a hundred lessons, teaching you the basics of magic and ritual through plugging into the magical systems of reality, which ‘energizes’ your rituals and brings them to life.
It’s written by the great Josephine Mccarthy with the help of a team of spiritual practitioners and sorcerers from around the world hand-picked by Josephine.
I cannot recommend it highly enough and did I mention it is free?
56. Framework – Paramahansa Yogananda’s SRF Lessons
Paramahansa Yogananda brought yoga to the West in the 1920′ and introduced yoga to America. He broke out of the wheel of reincarnation on the physical realm but chose to reincarnate to help us break free as well.
His book “Autobiography of a Yogi” is an introduction of attaining God-realization and to the spiritual wisdom of the East. Steve Jobs first read it as a teenager and read it every year during his life. Every attendee at Steve’s memorial service was given a small brown box. “Autobiography of a Yogi” was inside.
Yogananda released a series of instructional lessons through his Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) organization. They walk you through the right and mind and actions you need to take to obtain God-realization – direct communication and commune with God. You can sign up for the lessons here.
Watch this short video on the importance and impact of “Autobiography of a Yogi”.
I hope this ultimate guide of spirituality has helped you.
I wrote the guide that I wish existed when I was starting out in spirituality 20 years ago. Or that someone would have sat down and told me all of this over a dinner (a looooooong dinner!) But no one did. I had to figure it out on my own.
Even at 10,000 words (!), this still isn’t the ultimate guide. There are still so many great resources that I haven’t included. Alan Watts. Babaji. Rasputin. So many more great spiritual paths, frameworks and teachers.
But I hope you were able to use this guide as a springboard and have dove into the resources linked here and then found more from those resources.
58. Over to You
You’ve heard from me in this guide. Now, I want to hear from you. How did this guide help you? What spiritual path or framework do you follow? Leave me a comment or email me.