The Four Paths to Enlightenment & Why Meditation Is NOT Your Only Option

What are the four paths to enlightenment? How can you practice each spiritual path and become more self-aware? Here are tons of examples!

This has to be one of the biggest concerns that people have, when they talk to me. That they can’t meditate, and so, something must be wrong with them. The very simple explanation to counter this argument, is talking to them about the four paths of enlightenment.

I want to share this with you as well, because you can’t limit your spiritual journey to meditation only. Meditation is just a small tool, amongst many other methods, to experience a deeper sense of internal peace.

Let’s talk about what the other tools are, explained through the ancient, eastern philosophy, called the four paths of yoga.

The Four Paths to Enlightenment

As first described in Vedantic texts like the Bhagvat Gita, there are multiple paths to enlightenment. They can be used in combination, or walked on in isolation, to reach our ultimate goal of self-awareness.

Here is what each of these four paths entails for us, and how you can apply it to your modern life.

The Path of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga)

This is where my own journey began – by reading lots of books on spiritual topics. I have slowed down with the reading, but the learning has been continual.

The purpose of this path, to approach enlightenment by becoming more knowledgeable about our true nature.

As you gain more knowledge and awareness, the shadow aspects and darkness which come from lack of knowledge disperse.
focus on the light, walk on the path of wisdom and knowledge, disperse the darkness

Jnana Yoga is the way to eliminate the fear of the unknown, by stepping into your all-knowing nature. There are many topics to help you with that, such as –

Note that the more time you are spending learning, you should also be spending reflecting. I always encourage people to practice embodying their truths, by using simple internalization practices.

The Path of Prayer (Bhakti Yoga)

While the first path was based on logic and using our left-brains, the path of bhakti yoga is all about trusting the process and building a truly powerful connection with the Creator.

That’s not to say to have blind faith. Rather to have some acknowledgement of the bigger picture. And then, to be willing to accept it, even if it’s not what we personally believe should happen.

Of the four paths of enlightenment, this may be the trickiest because it can be easy to mistake it as becoming passive. Or thinking it’s okay to step away from one’s duty towards the expansion of the collective consciousness, because everything is “perfect anyway”.

The more you walk on this path, the more you realize you are able to surrender easily and let go, when the situation calls for it. And then you are able to have a dialogue with the Universe, and set the right intention, instead of feeling like God hates you.

Here’s an example of what it looks like to hold a conversation with the Universe.

Prayer is a ritual, only if we don’t understand why it is being done.

So, focus on finding the underlying meaning of the different prayers you were taught, while growing up. You will find the one that truly resonates with your path forward. And then, every time you say that prayer, be more intentional with it.

I’ve shared some of my favorite prayers and their deeper meanings in this post.

The Path of Right Action (Karma Yoga)

This one came as a reality check to me, when my healer reminded me that just because my parents don’t meditate, doesn’t mean they’re not spiritual. And it’s true!

The whole point of being a Karma Yogi, to walk on the path of right action, is to work towards the greater good. To not limit yourself to your personal agenda, but to be able to spread the most amount of joy possible, with your one action.

If the whole world only sat down to meditate or pray for wellbeing, who would actually do the work to make it happen?

The other paths of enlightenment are a means to help us feel grounded and connected with the truth. And then this path is the final nudge to get the ball rolling on all your “good” intentions, and create the manifestation in real life.

charity, be of service, karma yogi, help the world, humanity, four paths to enlightenment

There are so many reflections that I’ve been putting together around what it’s like to be a modern karma yogi. Maybe someday, it might be worth writing it in a book? 🙂

But until then, this is the crux of this path.

When you understand that you are a conduit of the Universe, it is no longer about taking credit or sitting around and waiting for the reward. You will find joy in simply being of service.

As you heal, and help the world around you, your light will spread and automatically grant you bigger opportunities to be of service.

The Royal Path (Raja Yoga)

This is the most intricate of the four paths, because it contains eight steps to be a true Raja Yogi. Interestingly, it was actually introduced to the other three paths at a later point.

Here are the eight steps, and some examples of what they mean in modern times. They are interlinked, but some of the steps can be practiced independently of another. While others occur in a sequential order.

Self-restraint (yama)

Not to be associated with celibacy only. But think of more practical uses, like building self-control and NOT binge-watching TV shows late into the night, because you know you need to wake up early.

Or to NOT indulge that extra piece of cake, just because it’s sitting in your fridge.

indulge, eat, niyama, raja yoga, mindful living, four paths of enlightenment

Essentially, it’s about practicing moderation and refraining from over indulgence. It’s about taming the mind and becoming more mindful. And one of the best ways to step into the practice self-control, is to ask yourself this fundamental question.

Have I been over-indulging in any area of my life?

Discipline (niyama)

Most of us wait for the inspiration, or motivation to come, to do something. But this step asks us to remain persistent and do things that are good for our wellbeing and future, regardless of how we are “feeling” in the moment.

By practicing niyama, we are not only discouraging our inconsistent and moody tendencies, we are building our grit.

One reflection question that comes from niyama, is this.

What do I know is good for me, but I have been avoiding doing for myself?

Poses (asana)

What we, in modern times, loosely call yoga. As you can see by now, yoga isn’t just about poses. In actuality, the poses are a small (albeit essential) part of the many possibilities and paths of yoga.

meditation, asanas, poses, mindfulness

The purpose of learning and practicing asanas isn’t to become more fit, or become more strong. Those are actually the byproducts.

Rather, the purpose is for us to become more mindful in our bodies, and to feel every movement. As a consequence, also stilling our minds.

Breathe work (pranayama)

I think the book, Breath, has been a game changer for me, showing me how important our breath really is. Breathe work is quite intimate, allowing us to feel safer in our bodies, and expanding our lung capacity, as a starting point.

And then, going deeper and healing the subtle body, as your awareness grows.

Withdrawing inwards (pratyahara)

Something to the effect of minimalism and internalization. The two approaches where you stop consuming as much, and start tapping into the wisdom already within.

Or in other words, moving beyond the five primary senses. To move away from distraction.

But don’t be mistaken that overthinking or being checked out from the present moment means you are practicing pratyhara!
thinking, overthinking is not good for your spiritual journey, four paths to enlightenment through raja yoga

It means focusing more deeply on our inner needs. To move above the energy of the primal, root chakra. In fact, much above. To move into a more spiritual view of the world. And then, to investigate yourself through deep inner work and find what your soul needs for its evolution.

It may not always be clear, what it looks like to shift your focus beyond the five senses. If you’d like to talk about, let’s get on a call. No obligations, just set some time up!

Concentrate (dharana)

Concentration is the looser translation actually. The better way to look at this step, as explained in the book, The Heartfulness Way, is “something that holds”. As in, to be fully supported and held by our own Heart.

And you can only achieve that state, once you have withdrawn from the world’s materialism, and stepped into your deeper needs. When you focus on your spiritual development long enough, you will find yourself at ease. You will experience contentment.

This step is about moving past the emotional turbulences and becoming more calm. I’ve shared some ideas about finding this peace, through emotional intelligence here.

Meditate (dhyan)

This is the very thing we’ve been trying to do, and beating ourselves for not doing it. But it is the seventh step to happen in a series of many.

And meditation isn’t a tool that you use. It is a state of consciousness we are training ourselves to reach, by following certain practices.
woman practicing yoga

It is a natural outcome that happens if you are still for long enough, withdrawn of the material tug-of-war, centered in your inner nature.

I recently created a guided walking meditation that you can take with you on your introspections, and tap more into the three steps of raja yoga that we just talked about.

Self-realization (samadhi)

In other words, enlightenment. It is the state where all desires are suspended, or transcended. Even the desire to do good for others!

The state of self-realization becomes deeper and deeper, as we practice stillness and being present.

I share some powerful tools to help people quieten their mind and enter deeper states of meditative thinking. If that’s something you’d like to learn, come find me here.

Concluding Thoughts

So you see? Meditation is NOT your only option.

You could walk on all four paths to enlightenment, in a single day! And then, on some days, you might only feel like meditating – then just do that.

On other days, you might not have the time to do actually do any rituals or practices. But you can still have the intention to be true karma yogi, and be at the service of the Universe.

There is no right or wrong way to go back home – we are all headed there in our own unique ways! So, the only thing you should remember, is to remain intentional and put in some kind of work every single day, to attain enlightenment.

In doing this, you will not only learn how to love life, and show up with more energy than ever. You will also become closer to your truth, and glow inwards out!

The journey is neither about being passive, nor being a renunciate. It is simply about shedding the parts of ourselves that aren’t really who we are. And in that, discovering that our infinite Self was here all along!

Related read: 10 Spiritual Practices Worth Trying If You Can’t Meditate

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7 Strange Ways Your Body Releases Old Energy To Heal Itself

Did you know that your body has strange ways in which it releases energy in order to heal itself? Here’s a fun spiritual post to learn more!

I’ll be honest – I used to live in my head a lot. But ever since I started practicing emotional and somatic awareness, I’ve been observing weird things happen in my body as a part of the process. These recent events inspired me to talk about some strange ways our body releases residual energy to heal itself!

Note that while I’m pointing out the spiritual meaning of bodily reactions such as tremors and pains, there can also be an underlying physical challenge. That may require medical intervention.

So, this article isn’t intended to substitute for any kind of medical advice. Rather, to offer an alternate outlook to the different ways your body might respond to all the healing work you’re doing.

On that note, let me start with a funny story.

#1 – Yawning

As a part of my coaching certification, I’m required to practice on a peer before I can practice the tool on a client.

As soon as our session began, my peer kept yawning. At one point, I felt annoyed! I began questioning if she wasn’t interested in the activity, or if she was bored.

yawning is one way the body releases energy to heal itself during an intense healing session

But as our session concluded, she revealed how deeply transformative the work had been for her. I was confused because it didn’t add up for me. Being a deeply intuitive spiritual coach herself, she revealed that her yawning was actually a way for her body to inhale new energy.

To shift out the old.

Who would have thought?!

#2- Tremors

Now comes my turn. I am being coached on a challenge that had recently ‘shaken’ me, and I notice my body tremor as I work through the emotions. As that happens, it also strikes me that this has happened before to me, in a group coaching setting.

So this time, I pay deeper attention.

The tremors felt as if every inch of me was shaking to release the trauma it was uncovering. I felt very uncomfortable, as my heart raced and different body parts experienced the shaking. But deep down inside, another part of me was aware that this was actually helping as my body released old energy to heal itself.

Turns out, this shaking is classified as neurogenic tremors. This is our primal response to trauma, and it holds true throughout the animal kingdom. Which is why you’ll see a zebra shaking off their rears after a close chase!

a zebra will shake its body to release energy and heal itself; neurogenic tremors

But for humans, we can go into shock (or freeze) and forget this primal skill. Later on, this shaking can happen as a response to recollecting the trauma, and intensify the event as it replays, not just in the mind, but in the body too!

Tremors can be felt in different parts of the body, as a response to anxiety, fear, and what-not. Not qualified to medically diagnose this, but it can be an important part of your spiritual healing. And if it feels okay, you should give yourself permission to fully shake off whatever is holding you hostage within.

Learning about tremor therapy from a somatic healing specialist can be a great way to ground your shaking practice, as a way to release the old energy from your body.

#3 – Burping

It’s just getting weirder, and weirder. I hear you!

One way the body reflexively releases excess or dormant energy from its system to heal itself, especially during a Reiki or massage session, is burping.

I’d first heard about this phenomenon when I watched a random YouTuber talk about her massage experience. It sounded just as strange then, so I didn’t take it very seriously, but then a friend confirmed this too. And it is very real!

reiki to release old energy from the body to heal

It can feel awkward if you or the other person starts burping so profusely. But now that you know why it’s happening, I’d say you celebrate the energy that has officially and so loudly passed through! 🙂

#4 – Tingling or Numbness

This first began for me when I was experimenting with different types of meditation.

Many people will experience weird tingling, tickling, or numbing sensations in their extremities during deep meditation. Your arms might feel light, or heavy. There may be sensations running up and down your spine.

It might even feel like currents are running up and down, inside of you!

shock, sensations, tingling, tickling, current in the body as a response to healing

Without getting scared, try to tap into the sensations and be aware of them as they pass through you. Just like everything else, this too is a part of your body’s way of releasing old energy.

#5 – Change in body temperature

I remember the first time I had a chiropractor realign my body. I could feel so much heat rushing out of me from different points, as if these parts were “letting go” of something.

Similar things happen when you are meditating or seated in deep contemplation. You might experience heat rising in different parts of your body, or conversely, yourself cooling down and feeling lighter.

stack of stones, healing, spirituality

If that happens to you, it’ll be interesting to take note of what you were thinking about right before the change started. Because the chances are, you are probably releasing your old patterning from that very memory, through this change in body temperature.

#6 – Aches and Palpitations

When I first started listening to Binaural Beats, I wanted to focus on healing my Heart Chakra. And every time I’d listen to this particular frequency, my heart would start pounding as if it were truly “opening”.

love, heart chakra, selfawareness, self love

A few years later, when I experienced the same phenomenon during the Heartfulness Meditation, my theory was confirmed by the spiritual teacher, Daaji.

But it’s not just our heart that may pound. You may have a sudden, sharp shooting pain in some part of the body, like a headache or stomach becoming sore as your body resists or releases old wounds.

While there could be a purely physiological explanation at such a time, don’t eliminate the possibility of something psychological.

The book You Can Heal Your Life is another powerful introspection into the different diseases and bodily ailments that actually have a deeper spiritual meaning.

#7 – Unexplained crying

When the Dark Night of the Soul kicks in, you are more than likely to undergo a deep “grieving” that is at times, unexplainable. It can feel like a dark cloud that is trapping you in, and you might feel like crying for no reason.

crying is another way the body releases energy to heal

Well, you’re not alone. This blog, among many other amazing spiritual websites out there, is here to simply remind you that this too shall pass.

The spiritual meaning behind crying for no reason can be associated with the way your body is using the eyes as a passageway to release energy and to heal.

For many people, this can actually mean crying after years of pent-up emotions! Building the muscle to cry without having shame and guilt around it is in itself another huge relief for you in your healing journey.

And then, alongside crying, tap into the other aspects of your emotional intelligence. This resource can be used as a good starting point for building that awareness.

Concluding Thoughts

We don’t give our body the credit it deserves. Truly, it’s a piece of art that can speak volumes to us if we step down from the mind.

As a left-brained spiritual seeker, it has taken me a WHILE to integrate my healing with my physical body. If you’re like me, this resource might help you understand how to realize the spiritual significance of your human vessel.

Ready to take your healing deeper? Let’s talk about it! You’re welcome to setup a complimentary 30-minutes call using this form, and learn how you can set your spiritual plans into action. See you soon!

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no added cost to you, every purchase you make through these links brings a small commission to my blog. This helps support my work. Thank you for your consideration! Here are other ways to support and help this blog grow.

3 Ways To Read Someone’s Energy Without Being A Psychic

How can you tune into someone’s consciousness and read their energy? Here are solid tips to help strengthen your telepathic skills.

Its important to be conscious enough to read someone’s energy, because you not only elevate the quality of your relationships, you learn how to dis-identify with what is not yours in that interaction. And yes, you don’t have to become a psychic to do this.

The fact is, we are all very sensitive to each other’s energy. Some of us are so sensitive, we act like an emotional sponge, soaking each other’s moods and emotions up in daily interactions.

But in general, we might not even realize that we have the ability to tune into someone’s energy field, and that it can effect us so deeply.

I wanted to share these tips to help you understand your own energy, as well as that of the other person.

How to Read Someone’s Energy & Heal From The Experience

First things first. Energy is in continuum, even though our physical bodies may be distinctively separate from each other. So, there’s no point where you stop, and I start, metaphysically speaking.

But it helps to see another person’s energy as separate from yours. Otherwise unconsciously, we might find ourselves getting stirred by another person’s baggage, if we don’t recognize the distinction. Which brings me to my first point.

#1 – Realize that energy is neutral, but your past experience is what brings charge to it.

Have you ever spoken to a loved one that’s undergoing a life challenge, and you’ve felt deeply sorry for them? But when you talk to them, it feels like in their mind, their situation might not even be that sorrowful?

This is because the first mistake we make around other people, is projecting our own fears onto them.

Let’s say someone was sharing about their relationship problems with you. And you have fears around a failed marriage, or the fear of ‘dying alone’. So, you get nervous and start convincing this person to hold on to their partner through thick and thin.

At that point, you might become so winded up in your own thoughts about how to save their relationship, that you forget to hear what the person is really trying to say.

communication, openness, telepathy, friends talking, building a connection

Of course, it’s completely normal to get emotionally charged up when we’re interacting with people, and then, to subconsciously project our fears on them. However, here’s what you can do when you catch yourself projecting into someone else’s energy field.

Get present in the moment with them. Take a deep breath, acknowledging your own fear as it comes up, and affirm to yourself that you’ll come back to it later. And then, allow yourself to be with this person in the now, minus your own idea of how good or bad the situation is.

You can do that by asking lots of questions to help you reconnect with them, and then tuning into their answers as you listen to them speak. This is where you can tap into their consciousness – from a place of curiosity.

As you become neutral, you will be able to approach this person with more openness. And it will become easier to read someone’s energy when you’re not already charged up by your own past. Here’s another example of what it can look like to move out of emotional charge, into a place of alignment.

Later on, when you do finally sit down and work on your fears, perhaps journaling about them or meditating on the blocks, it becomes such a great healing opportunity for you!

#2 – Observe their projections in your energy field.

On then opposite end of the spectrum, we might become so involved in troubleshooting a problem with somebody, so tapped into their psyche, that we literally ‘share the load’ and carry their burdens for them.

When we wake up from this experience of getting so shaken by some people, we can find ourselves labelling them as ‘toxic’.

It isn’t so much as the other person being toxic, as their energy penetrating yours and creating overwhelm. This is an invitation to you, to setup healthier relationship boundaries and read someone’s energy from a distance.

Here’s an example of handling projection from other people that I’ve recently been working on. Being aware of other people’s disappointment and not trying to fix it.

If we’re in our unconscious patterns, it becomes easy for us to step into people-pleasing behaviors as a way to avoid disappointing another person.

handling disappointment, projecting fears,

However, this notion that we need to make someone feel better if they get triggered by something we do or say, isn’t healthy. When we take on the responsibility to make another person happy, we rob them of the opportunity to sit with themselves and reason with their own inner turbulence.

Infact, this is a bad example of telepathy, when you can almost sense their reaction, and you try to manage it before it even unfolds.

So the next time a conversation brings emotional charge to you, evaluate how much of it was actually a reaction to the other person’s emotional charge. And as you do that, you heal simply from understanding how much effect someone’s reaction has on you.

#3 – Speak to their fears.

Now that you understand how easy it is for everyone to get charged up, let’s address the very thing that creates this charge for us. Fear.

Fear is the primal part of us that steps into action, the moment we need to deal with a problem. Depending on how much grip your fear has over you, you begin to operate in your survival mode.

scared, fear, read someone's energy and help them heal

The survival may not be a physical threat, but to our mind, a physiological threat is just as scary. So, people are not only losing their logic and reasoning when they get emotionally charged, they become primal in their ways.

This is because we aren’t familiar with using our right hemisphere. The emotional, feminine energy becomes dormant within us when we are acting out of fear.

This leads to tightness and contraction in the mind, and the body.

So, to read someone’s energy, start by noticing how their body responds in any given discussion.

The more open and fluid they are in movement, the lighter their thought pattern will be. The more rigid and closed they appear, the denser their conditioning will be in that moment.

As you become aware of their energy, and you are neither adding fuels to the flame, nor getting triggered by them, you step into your true power. And then, through your own playful and nurturing nature, you can bring them back into the flow too.

Concluding Thoughts

Reading someone’s energy isn’t about predicting the future for them, or reading their mind. It is more about picking up on the language beyond words that you read from their energy field.

And then translating it to them in a way that not just heals them, it heals you too. Of course, this is a rich topic that we’ve just touched the tip of! So if you feel called to, let’s take it deeper. Setup a complimentary 30-min session with me, and let’s find ways to elevate your consciousness!

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