Are you just a Spiritual Tourist on the Journey to Love?
I have to admit that when I first began my inner journey to finding love, I was a spiritual tourist. After being raised as a Roman Catholic, I started exploring other spiritual teachings in my twenties and thirties to figure out why I was still single. The exploration is necessary, but after a while you have to stop being a tourist and find a home. I learned that the big shifts happen in your life when you commit to one path.
What is a spiritual tourist? Someone who checks in and out different places but never really settles anywhere. A tourist typically gravitates toward the popular places but these hot spots are so watered down and without real soul.
Tourists are looking for less work and more fun. They are drawn to experiences that do not require a lot of thinking or effort. They take the guided tours, follow the steps but never really get anywhere (except maybe happy hour.) They don’t stay long enough to explore and rapidly move on to the next attraction.
Being a tourist lets you experience a lot of different things but never go deep into any one of them. You hear lots of great quotes and feel motivated until you have to get something accomplished. A spiritual tourist will quickly leave a teaching when experiencing a little setback or if she is challenged in any way outside of her comfort zone. She will reason away her avoidance by just saying, “This didn’t work for me” but never gives anything enough time.
The reason the spiritual tourist doesn’t stay is that she is not really looking for growth, just obsessed with getting results – their soul-mate, more money, more attention. If you use spiritual principles to gain material success, you are already lost. You are putting the material world above your spirit, which not spiritual at all, and it will only cause you more problems and pain in your life.
A little tourism is good for a while to test things out and see where you fit in, but don’t let the vacation last too long or you will put off true happiness. Once you find a path that resonates with you stick with it. A good sign is when the path makes you uncomfortable and face things to help you grow. If you want to run, then you know you are on the right path!
Here are some signs that you are being a spiritual tourist and how it works against you:
- Wanting external results v. inner results
Any system that promises quick, effortless healing to get a man or instant money is not spirituality, but the lovely by-product of the placebo effect used by charlatans since the dawn of time. You have to grow into the person who has the love and the wealth you desire through spiritual practice first, or any relationship or material success will be short-lived. The spiritual growth leads to all the experiences you want in life but the growth needs to be the focus, not just getting stuff.
- The Kitchen Sink Approach
More is not better. Don’t mix two or more spiritual traditions together in the hopes of covering your bases. This is confusing and your ego will tend to pull you toward the easy side just when you are about to have a breakthrough on the other. You will be kept bouncing back and forth in a never-ending cycle of confusion and status quo.
- Focusing on Techniques without a Philosophy
A true practice should involve a solid foundation and philosophy, not just a hodgepodge of techniques. A philosophy is more than just tapping your forehead, clearing your chakras, therapy, mindfulness, meditation, visualization, hypnosis, or yoga class. If you cram too many different techniques without any philosophical foundation to support them, you are being a spiritual tourist – destination unknown. Techniques are tools, not a whole system. You need a consistent, deep and solid spiritual system for lasting change.
- Too Simple and Common Sense
If you catch yourself saying, “Everything happens for a reason” as your go-to spiritual insight to every obstacle, you are missing out on the real true lessons of life. A spiritual tourist gets her wisdom from Facebook posts and experts’ advice on reality or talk television. You know you are close to your spiritual home when you stop reading pop, watered-down spirituality with its feel-good, ego-soothing nonsense. You get hungry for reading the source of spiritual teachings from thousands of years ago and embrace the complexity of the teachings.
If a teaching is very easy to understand and makes common sense, then it is not deep enough. To truly grow you must stretch your mind with challenging ideas that go against the status quo and what you have been taught. Otherwise, you are just hearing a pop song and singing along without learning anything new.
The Benefit of Finding One Path
When you follow one path you have structure and a foundation to go to when things get tough. If you do not commit to one path, you are more likely to stray to keep your options open and never stick with anything. The ego uses your fear of change to keep you as a spiritual tourist so you never truly change.
When you enter a teaching, ask the teacher about their source before you commit into the path. If you are introduced to a new pop technique, ask the trainer about the spiritual philosophy that backs the technique. It is astounding how many self-proclaimed gurus are not able to answer these questions. In their defense, they are just spiritual tourists themselves who haven’t discovered their home. The human ego has developed many techniques disguising them as “spiritual” to get you hooked into a cycle of constant healing and clearing when your true self doesn’t need to be fixed. You end up just re-arranging the same old furniture.
In your true spiritual home you will find your true self. The real you will become distinguished from the touristy and fickle ego-mind. You will rise above the noise of duality and see the connection of your true nature to everything as perfection. From this place of oneness, you can see clearly the right partner and how to step into a career or mission that fulfills you.
If you are still a spiritual tourist, don’t worry. Trust the journey. Keep asking tough questions. Don’t believe everything you hear and be challenged by new ideas to truly understand yourself and life. A part of you already knows your spiritual home, now it is time for you to rediscover it as it calls you to return.