WHAT IS SPIRITUAL JOURNEY CALLED?:
A spiritual journey is a journey you would take to find out who you are, what your problems are in life, and how to come to peace with the world. The purpose of a spiritual journey is rarely to find an answer; rather, it is a process of continually asking questions. This article will not tell you what your spiritual journey should look like, but will give you tools that you may find important in structuring your journey.
Method 1 of 3:
Setting Spiritual Goals
Understand that your journey is yours alone. Everyone’s spiritual journey, whether in response to difficult challenges or uplifting opportunities, is unique. Despite this, many spiritual journeys will use similar tools or go down similar paths. Remember that, though advice from others can be helpful, nobody can tell you how your journey should be going, or what direction it should be going in.
You are ultimately responsible for the direction of your journey. If one of the steps in this guide produce stress or harm for you, skip it for the time being and find an alternative that helps you contemplate your life.
No religion has a monopoly on truth. If a religion or its followers begin to control or scare you, consider backing up and consulting a different source.
Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Though this may seem like pre-planning, your journey begins now. Take inventory of your thoughts, feelings, fears, and expectations. Record your thoughts about daily life and your long-term thoughts. Every week, read over your entries and contemplate your accomplishments and challenges for the week. Use this as a grounding exercise to understand your worries, hopes, and ambitions in context.
Such practice is often referred to as keeping a “mindfulness journal.” Its purpose is to reveal to you the thought patterns that govern your life, possibly negatively, so that you may focus on transforming them.
Make a set of goals and prioritize them. The mindfulness journal can help in organizing your thoughts in regards to goal-setting. Spiritual journeys can help those who want to be calmer and less angry, who are anxious about death, who want to enlarge their sense of wonder about the world, or who are struggling to leave behind an old belief system. As this is your journey, it will help you heal or change whatever it is you decide to focus on.
Prioritize what interests you intellectually as well as emotionally; think about what you are curious about, as well as what you might change to live a healthier life. Spiritual journeys can incorporate both intellectual and emotional aspects of your life.
Remember that spiritual goals may take a lifetime to accomplish, and often change along the way. Avoid setting deadlines for your goals, or allowing them to stress you out.
Decide on the scope of your journey. Do you have a single challenge you need assistance with? Or are you looking for long-lasting personal transformation? Are you simply looking for a meditative practice to add to your routine, or are you having a heavy crisis of faith? Understand beforehand how sweeping your journey may be; like therapy, a spiritual journey may require all your focus in changing your relationship to the world, or it may only need a small amount of your time and attention.
Many spiritual journeys are lifelong affairs that constantly build upon themselves. Spirituality is a crucial part of life, and is hardly ever separate from it. Allow your scope to change as is necessary.
Method 2 of 3:
Consulting Spiritual Sources
Read sacred texts. Religious texts such as the Bible, the Torah, the Quar’an, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Upanishads can give you a new perspective on life or open your eyes to other people’s beliefs or thoughts. Though you do not need to subscribe to any of the teachings laid out in religious texts, you can better understand the context of your questions and struggles by understanding how spiritual questions have been posed throughout history. Reading sacred texts can also point you in new directions, allowing you to ask questions you didn’t have the words for before.
You may want to accompany your studies with educational courses. Universities, community colleges, and continuing education centers offer courses in the history of religious practices and texts.
If you do read scholarly texts alongside sacred texts, be aware that there is a difference between theology and “religious studies.” Religious studies can be thought of as studying religion from its outside, while theology is often written by practitioners of that religion.
Consult public services that focus on spirituality. Certain public figures can act as a resource or guide for your spiritual journey. An obvious one is the leader of a local church or clergy; they often will meet with individuals and help them make decisions. Before you meet with such a leader, it may be helpful to attend a few services or events in order to understand the attitudes that underlie the congregation’s beliefs.
Other civic institutions may have a chaplain on staff who are skilled guides when it comes to certain topics, such as grief or loss.
Such institutions include hospitals or army outposts, but you may need to be a regular user of their services to consult with their chaplain.
Read or listen to popular spiritual sources. There are many popular writers and speakers who communicate spiritual or religious ideas in ways that make sense for everyday life. Helpful books can be found in the “spiritual,” “religion,” or “new age” section of bookstores or libraries. Seminars and reading groups may be held by colleges or community centers in your area. Public radio and online podcasts are often good sources of programming that present research, critique, and discussion of spiritual ideas.
Avoid figures that actively request financial support, promise reliable answers, or who seem to be selling something. Oftentimes, they are not counting your spiritual journey as a priority.
If you can afford it, traveling to retreats, camps, and spiritual meetups can be a healthy way to expand your horizons and meet new people.
Don’t be afraid to use community support. Though the stereotypical image of the spiritual journeyer portrays a monk praying alone, spiritual journeys can be enriched by the inclusion of others. Talk to friends or family members about your questions or the ideas you are trying to refine. Attend local meet-ups or study groups that focus on your topic at hand. Whether you are trying to improve a skill, such as mindfulness or meditation, or trying to become more culturally literate, learning from others can make the process more fulfilling.
Not only is this a way to find mentors, this is also may lead you to mentoring others, which can enrich your journey.
Method 3 of 3:
Using Spiritual Practices
Practice meditation. Meditation can help deeply probe your sense of self, still anxiety, and clear your mind. It is a technique for directing attention and refining how one focuses on their self. Meditation doesn’t have to be performed while cross-legged on the bare ground; modifications such as walking meditation exist, and many religions have their own form of self-contemplation.
Yoga can add a physical component to contemplation and can help you in clarifying your spiritual goals.
There are many different variations on meditation. They can be learned and practiced in social settings, whether they be spiritual meetups or regularly-meeting meditation groups led by an expert. These meetups are often free to attend, or ask for a small donation.
Incorporate exercise into your spiritual life. The body is understood by some religions to be a temple for the spirit, so maintaining your temple makes sense from a spiritual standpoint. More than that, though, regular exercise can elevate our mental capabilities, helping to relieve mild depression and promote positive thinking. A holistic and balanced approach to life, including exercise, can keep one involved in and attuned to the world, increase mindfulness, and improve quality of life.
Exercise needn’t be exhausting. Moderate exercise, spread out throughout the week, can keep one’s body fit and in shape.
Create reflective spaces. Reflective, quiet spaces in which to contemplate life can shield you from a daily intake of information and stress. College campuses and work places incorporate aspects of nature, movement and rhythm, quietness, and relaxation in order to improve mindfulness and groundedness. Creating a comfortable space in your home, office, or dorm that you can visit in order to unpack the day’s events can promote your spiritual well-being
Reflective spaces may incorporate images, icons, and posters, smells (such as incense or flowers), and either silence or meditative music.
Investigate alternative states of consciousness. Recent research in psychoactive plants (such as psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, and marijuana) indicates that they may promote openness and a more accepting personality after even one use. These sorts of plants, most generally associated with shamanism and 60’s counterculture, contain drugs that are the subject of intense pharmaceutical research due to their ability to positively influence thought patterns and relieve chronic stress. Educated use of psychoactives may improve or add to spiritual practices and understandings.
Many of these plants are illegal to possess or cultivate in the United States.
Psychedelic drugs are notorious for carrying the risk of a “bad trip,” which may spiritually confuse or disorient users. Psychoactives can still be largely beneficial when used in a sparing, informed, and limited capacity.
Visit sacred places. Sacred places are often historically significant locations that hosted important religious events or practices. Sacred places include a range of sites, many of which are visited heavily throughout the year (such as Stonehenge or the Vatican), others of which may be interesting to historians only (such as certain cathedrals). Sacred places are often grand in scale and communicate a feeling of the sublime to visitors. In being unordinary, sacred places can help cement spiritual understanding in your life, as well as deepen your appreciation for history.
Some sacred places are associated with sacred events, such as the Hajj. It may make more sense to time your visit with religious calendars.
Investigate yourself! Continue to monitor how your practice and research impact your thinking. The mindfulness journal is an important spiritual tool–it keeps you in touch with your findings, your doubts, and new aspects of your beliefs and location in the world. Notice if negative thinking is increased or decreased as you explore, and change what and how you explore based on these changes.
The spiritual journey is there to serve you, and though it may not be comfortable at times, you should be able to see how it is improving your relationship to yourself, others, and your sense of compassion.
Getting to know yourself is a life-long journey.
You can try different ways to understand your changing personality. 
Check out podcasts, audiobooks, retreats, or anything else that supports personal growth, but make sure it speaks to you. Get experimental on your self-discovery journey and know there are no failures, only different paths of discovery.