Spirituality can best be thought of as new territory, there for you to explore. Think of yourself as a pioneer and the spiritual landscape as a vast kind of brand new adventure playground, a place where you can both learn and have fun. It can be scary, but there is no need to be frightened if you don't stray too far too soon. It can be peaceful and beautiful too.
Reading the accounts, the maps and guides that others - spiritual masters - have already drawn is highly recommended. They have trodden the pathways and learned, no doubt, from making many of the mistakes. But you really have to experience it for yourself. It is a mistake, in other words, to consider spirituality as just an object, like some lifeless specimen to dissect and analyse. It doesn't work that way.
Why explore this new realm? Firstly, because a unique area is reserved for each individual person, and only you can discover this part...
Secondly, because it is all so amazing!
Thirdly, it is worth exploring because there is nothing ultimately to lose, and much to gain.
How can you explore this new terrain of spirituality? Firstly, this series of articles will not require any previous knowledge. Its aim is to guide you step by step, partly by asking you to think about a number of questions and reflecting on your own experience. Many people are surprised, when they stop to think about it, by how much spiritual experience they have already had. This will become clearer and make more sense as we go.
Beginners do not need any special religious knowledge or experience. Spirituality and religion are obviously somehow linked. People have likened spirituality to the roots of a great tree, for example, providing it with stability and nourishment. The different religions and philosophies are represented by the tree's different trunks, branches and leaves.
To keep thing reasonably simple, I am not going to write a lot more about the links between spirituality and religion. It's not necessary to go too deeply into them at this stage, as it can be confusing. Nevertheless, this idea about the roots and the tree's different branches gets you thinking in the right way, and it leaves us free to use examples from different world religions to illustrate various points as we go along.
A good way to find out about spirituality is to ask yourself questions. Some types of question are better than others. Next time, I will say more about this.
Copyright Larry Culliford
Larry's books include ‘The Psychology of Spirituality', ‘Love, Healing & Happiness' and (as Patrick Whiteside) ‘The Little Book of Happiness' and ‘Happiness: The 30 Day Guide' (personally endorsed by HH The Dalai Lama).