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I am greatly motivated by all things spiritual but have lost myself - what is the path of love that will fulfill me?


heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
Grew up Catholic and still attend Catholic Church. Respect and am drawn to Buddhism.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
I'm passionate about self-examination; I want to be able to discern my path and encourage people to be less materialistic, listen to their inner voice and make the best of their experience.
Question
I'm struggling with guidance overload. I seem to be greatly motivated by new things on a daily basis. I have a passion for all things spiritual, sign up for all metaphysical/spiritual seminars and order a book weekly. All of this keeps me busy and I seem to have lost myself. I became a dilettante instead of a seeker.

I'm graduating with a bachelor's in metaphysics within months and I'm afraid I won't put my degree to good enough work. How do I zero in on the path that will fulfill me?

Wallace's reply
Wallace
There is a time for study and there is a time for applying what has been learned. It is not your inner guidance that causing you to be so fascinated by all things spiritual, it is an overly curious mind. You want to explore, learn, self-examine and study - but do you want to LIVE a spiritual life? Spiritual life is there to be LIVED - full on, without reservation.

It feels safe to explore, learn, self-examine and study because none of this is living. None of this requires you to change in a fundamental way. It is at its core all about "me" - the me that likes to be the centre of attention, the me that imagines it can be something great, the me that likes to compose wonderful arguments and theories about how things can or should be, the me that declares its self to be a problem to be understood and solved.

But the spiritual life is not about me - it's about others. It's about living a life of love directed outwardly for the benefit of our family, friends, colleagues, community and world. If it's only about me it's as dry as dust scholarship.

My advice to you is to take one insight you have gained about love from all your studies and APPLY IT in every area of your life. Do not consider this task small or unimportant. It is far better to apply one insight about love than to read 1,000 books on the subject. Nor will this task I have set you be easy - because it will challenge you to change fundamentally.

For example if you take the simple spiritual tenet at the foundation of the practical application of love - do unto others as you would have them do unto you - and frame this as a question... "Am I doing to this person in this situation what I would like them to do to me if the roles were reversed?" Then every time you are in relationship with others, before you take action, make a decision or say something, ask yourself this question and let it determine your response. Take this task and apply it to your relationships with your husband, family members, friends, tutors, fellow students, and possible soon to be employers. Especially remember to apply this question (or similar question of your own choice) at times of stress and conflict. Both you and your relationships will be transformed.

Once you have completed your studies, I encourage you to set aside all the complex arguments, seminars, books and dissertations and take a simple spiritual precept like this into the bosom of your heart and APPLY IT universally in your own life. Doing this will bring you down to earth, helping you descend from the rarified atmosphere of dissertation, and getting you in touch with the practical application of spiritual truth. If you apply this spiritual precept rigorously in every practical detail of your life, that profound commitment will, in and of itself, open your heart and put you in touch with inner guidance. Then you will be able, with some degree of authenticity, to help others find and listen to their inner voice.

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