For spiritual seekers in the past, spiritual information overload wasn’t an issue.
To the contrary, it used to be extraordinarily challenging to gain access to esoteric spiritual knowledge for most people.
You may have heard stories about interested students being turned from a temple multiple times to prove their commitment before being admitted.
To even get to a temple, some people had to save for years to be able to afford a trek that could take days or weeks. If they were admitted, in some paths they had to undergo years of purification practices before receiving the deeper teachings.
It is amazing how much things have changed!
Nowadays, a simple search on the internet can yield profound esoteric wisdom from a multitude of spiritual paths and countless teachers.
However, this raises a new challenge – all of this knowledge
can be really overwhelming and confusing!
I have received questions from students feeling distressed after watching a YouTube video from an esteemed spiritual teacher who is contradicting what another spiritual teacher suggested on a different video.
They wonder what they should do next? Perhaps watch some more videos from additional teachers to get yet more information?
What I often suggest is to return to a key purpose of spiritual teachings:
external teachings support, not supplant your own inner wisdom.
If you are new to spirituality, it can take some time to get more in touch with your inner wisdom. If this doesn’t make sense to you yet, don’t worry.
When faced with challenging situations in one’s spiritual path, it can be helpful to turn to other situations where you have already developed a similar skill set.
For example, you can increasing learn to trust your own bodies about how much food to take in as you practice becoming mindful and listening to what our bodies need.
If you eat something that does not sit well for you, it may be that you need to take some time to let things digest, or perhaps you need some more food such as bread to balance the spiciness of what you had been eating. Being attuned to your body and how it is feeling can help you avoid overeating.
How do you get in touch with your own inner wisdom related to a situation with spiritual information overload?
Here is a simple process that will allow you to get more in touch with your inner wisdom:
Take a few deep breaths, in and out, and allow your focus to turn inward.
Example: “Ok. I am taking a few breaths. As I do this, I notice that I am feeling a bit more relaxed.:
Notice if you have any strong emotions or thoughts. If you do, gently let go of them and return to noticing your breathing.
Example: “Ok. I was feeling a lot of emotional tension around the conflicting teaching. As I try to let this go, I feel more relaxed and start feeling some space around the situation.”
The next step will be to look for your inner guidance about how to respond to this situation. Take a few additional deep breaths. If you notice any preconceptions about how you should respond, let those go.
Gently wait for an answer to come to you or for you to get an intuition about how to respond. This could look like an insight that comes to you, a sense of a direction to take, or some sensation in your body.
This could take 1 or 2 minutes. If you aren’t receiving an answer, check to see if there are any additional strong thoughts or feelings that you could let go of that may be blocking new ideas from coming in.
Example: “Hmm. As I was doing this, I became aware that different experts in other fields can also disagree. This helped me relax further. As I gave this some more time, I felt myself being drawn to the teachings from the original teacher.”
Take some time (maybe 1 or 2 minutes) to be with the answer you received and consider if there are any next steps for you to take.
Example: “As I consider this further, I realize that what the first teacher was suggesting seemed to be closer to things that worked for me in the past. I feel good following this approach in the future.”
While this can be frustrating at times, it is helpful to remember that these teachings point back to you and your inner wisdom, which already contains what you need to take the next steps on your path.