Here are some of the ways I’ve learned to cultivate a relationship with Spirit.
The first has been the humbling practise of setting aside the belief, truth, experience that I can do it all on my own.
When you first start cultivating a spiritual experience, you often begin from the same place most of us do: a world you have created where you can handle and manage everything on your own.
That’s comforting. You’ll have created a world around you that is entirely sufficient under your own effort.
If you had spaces that you related to as “That’s something I have to hand over to Spirit”, before you had created any kind of relationship with Spirit, that would be dumb.
For those of us that weren’t raised with a spiritual background, we have created lives that don’t require any surrender or turning over to Spirit at all. Our lives are living evidence that there is never any need to release to Spirit.
As a result, this path begins with some surrender.
It’s a process of starting to willfully hand over things you are struggling with, even though your intellect tells you “That’s pointless, you can handle this, just do X, Y and Z”.
People struggling with addiction often, ironically, have a leg up in this choice. Upon reaching rock-bottom, there’s a conclusion the addict arrives at: “I can’t handle this on my own. My best thinking has brought me here. I’m going to hand this over.”
At first, this is simply a practise of speaking your belief, and doing your best to trust it. You may be able to trust it for no more than thirty seconds before you get your hand back on the wheel. That’s okay.
Cultivating a relationship with Spirit is a practise.
Another practise that really serves those that want to deepen into Spirit is creating moments of silence for yourself.
When we create silence, we create the opportunity to go quiet internally, and to start to listen.
Spirit is always speaking to us, but she often speaks with a whisper (until she doesn’t… but never mind that for now).
When we go quiet, we can start to hear the myriad ways that Spirit is communicating with us.
Creating silence is challenging in the modern world, because it’s so damn noisy. That’s why this is a practise, rather than something you do once and succeed at.
Meditating is one of the best ways to go silent, as it requires little other than setting a timer and sitting, but there are millions of ways to create silence.
Whatever it is you do that allows you to go quiet inside can be your practise. Perhaps going for a run, or a long bike ride allows for this (in which case, turn off the podcast and take out your headphones).
The first thing I tend to notice when I create the space for silence is my own clutching back to the comfort of noisiness. It’s hard for me to clean the house without a podcast in my ears, because the familiarity of noise is more comfortable than sitting in the quietude.
And so, my spiritual practise operates in the face of this tendency. Create the space for silence, notice my fight against it, stand firm in my commitment, and let myself quiet down.
Sometimes, people want to jump straight to the big guns and start working with teachers like Ayahuasca. That’s okay — we all have our process.
The beauty is that the medicine will guide you right back to these first two steps.
She’ll bring you silence and tranquility, while you sit there on your mat, frustrated that you’re not getting visions and cosmic downloads. Sitting there frustrated, waiting for the downloads that aren’t arriving, we look right past the medicine she’s already bringing us: the opportunity to go quiet and to start to listen.
We sit with the medicine and we resist her. “Sure, I’m here to do the work, but right now, all that’s happening is I’m feeling frustrated, and I’m going to try and put some effort in here to make sure I do what is necessary and get the most out of this.”
Ironically, this is a place we are unwilling to surrender and trust Spirit. Instead of trusting that she is bringing us precisely what we need in this moment, we get back into the driving seat, and try to sort ourselves out so that the medicine works.
Remember, Spirit is constantly supporting us, constantly speaking to us.
Our path is not to effort our way into partnership, but rather to surrender, listen and open up to what is already there.