Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Four Paths: Which One's Right for You?

If you're like many of us, you've read and become interested in various spiritual and/or psychological practices, such as meditation, energy work, psychotherapy, surrendering to a higher power, affirmative prayer, creative visualization, mindfulness, yoga, devotional practices, journaling, or voice-dialoging with Higher Self, guides, or subpersonalities. 

Or maybe you've found (or been born into) a particular religion or philosophy with which you identify fully, such as Judaism, Islam, Fundamentalist Christianity, New Age Metaphysics,  Buddhism, or Devotional practices. 

Personally, I've been a dabbler, because I've always found many spiritually-based ideas to have merit and to hold a critical puzzle piece of the great mystery of life. Still, I was occasionally perplexed when it came to seemingly conflicting ideas. Was the practice of mindfulness more beneficial for me than the practice of creative manifestation? One said that acceptance would lead to peace, while the other said you had to create your own peace. Whaaaaaaat?

And so it went, until I came across a phenomenal class handout by Tim Kelley, (a world-class thinker, author, and Life Purpose consultant). Kelley's "Four Paths" (which are different than Hinduism's four paths of enlightenment)  are general approaches to spirituality based on how people manage two major life components:  Ego (or lower self), and Trusted Source (which could be God, Budhha, Higher Self, Jesus, a Guardian Angel, etc., depending on the individual).

According to Kelley, there are four possible configurations or paths: 

1.   High ego, low trusted source:   The Path of Power
2.   Low ego, low trusted source:    The Path of Presence
3.   Low ego, high trusted source:   The Path of Piety
4.   High ego, high trusted source:  The Path of Purpose

In each case, the two components weigh in differently and create a psycho-spiritual direction for us. And each path has its pros and cons, or potential benefits and pitfalls. 

The Path of Power emphasizes personal goals and achievement, while minimizing the role of Source. The Path of Presence deemphasizes both the ego and the role of Trusted Source, in favor of the practice of mindlfulness. The Path of Piety diminishes the role of the ego in favor of serving and surrendering to a Higher Power. And the Path of Purpose empowers and engages both the ego and the Trusted Source, and enlists them to work together in service of one's life purpose. 

I found this perspective ingenious, as it points directly to the individual's (or philosophy's) core values. After reflecting on this, I realized that while I value aspects of each spiritual/psychological approach, I am (and always have been) on the Path of Purpose. As always, I am free to dabble, practice mindfulness, surrender when it feels right, and set goals when I want to make something happen.

What about you? Are you on a conscious path that falls into one of the above categories? If you're not sure, or would like more information, please check out The Four Paths work by Tim Kelley. (And consider taking one of his life-changing classes).

Have a great week.