5 Remarkable Mistakes People Struggle to Avoid On Spiritual Journey

Going full on the spiritual train solves none of your problems
Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

When you decide to start a journey, it means you lack something.

It’s never easy to admit you’re not feeling good enough. And it’s even harder to change your feelings. Discovering yourself through spirituality is an act of courage. You face your demons willingly.

But no matter how good your intentions are, the journey inside is dangerous, like all human endeavors.

You can get, of course, in so many ways. It’s enough to get distracted for a while to face temptations stronger than yourself.

The right path is never known upfront, so you can’t avoid them.

What’s left is preparing for them.

How I See Spirituality

Spirituality is discovering yourself.

It’s not about religion or meditation or getting money. It’s about becoming better at being you. As a side effect, you maximize your chances of getting what you want.

I wanted to live a life of my design.

First, I had to understand what design that was and why I didn’t get it. Spirituality is a gate through which I enter my inside world. From there, I asked questions about my goals and reasons for chasing them. I understood there is no end to things I can get, so I must filter for the ones I want.

Discovering what you are is hard.

Many times you may not like what you learn. It’s not about being right or wrong; it’s about understanding yourself. The more you understand why you feel the way you feel and act the way you act, the better you can get at life.

Below I gathered five problems on the spiritual journey that influenced me the most. They’re fierce opponents for a busy mind, but nothing the real you can’t face.

Knowing Better Than Others

When you know, you can’t learn.

It is not possible to learn what you think you already know. 

— Epictetus

Learning is crucial in our fast-paced world. There is much information out there you can’t know everything. With limited time there is a need to filter what to learn. Adapting is crucial, and adapting is about learning, and learning is done best by finding a tutor. That’s why when you think you know better, you always lose.

It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong; it’s about potential. Not knowing is full of potential, and knowing is empty of it.

I represented I-already-knowism.

That greatly limited my exposure to novelty. I constrained myself to a box of what I knew. I was scared of going outside because a dragon of chaos awaited there. The Unknown in its full glory.

But there is no other way to learn than to fight the dragon.

Since I opened myself up to novel ideas from people, I lived a different life. Spirituality is about knowing yourself, and you can use people as a mirror for your flaws.

Learning for already-knowers

Stop being so sure that what you know is right.

Life is not static. It’s a constant change. What you know now can get outdated in a second.

Deep realization of the fact everything changes made me humble.

And if you already know everything, why don’t you have the life you want? Why do you constantly complain about problems instead of doing something to solve them? Shouldn’t you admit that if you failed, your knowledge was not sufficient? From here, there is only a step to understanding that your knowledge is insufficient because everything changes forever.

Become an apprentice of the world.

See the potential in not knowing. Get curious about what people can teach you. Treat them as a free source of knowledge.

That’s how you battle I-already-knowism.

The Curse of Instant Gratification

We want everything now.

The Internet gave us that. You can order a package in the morning and get it in the evening. Want to laugh? Watch a comedy on Netflix. Want to cry? Look at your life. Every emotion at the end of your fingertips.

We treat spirituality the same way.

We expect immediate results. But you can’t buy knowledge about yourself. No one else except you can give it to you. So you need to dig deep and listen, and that’s not what society teaches us.

Living with the curse

Self-discovery is not a lottery.

To win, you must show up daily and do the work. Every small improvement counts. It takes time to change yourself.

The key to making the process work is remembering why you started:

  • You know you’re the problem
  • You want to understand how to solve your problems
  • You understand that not taking action makes your problems worse
  • How can you solve your problems?
  • Why do you want to solve them?
  • What actions must you take to solve them?

When in doubt, remind yourself of your why.

Comparing Results

We want to live better lives.

And we’re taught that a better life means more things. The more cars you have, the more money, the better your life. It’s an easy comparison system. Someone has more than you, so you’re worse.

Comparison is the thief of joy 

— Theodore Roosevelt

The problem with comparing results is that they never show the journey. But you’re on the journey. Your starting point might differ significantly from the starting point of the other person. Seeing only the result can easily make the challenge too big to handle.

It’s easy to miss what you already have when seeing someone having more.

And that’s not what we should focus on while discovering ourselves. What we have doesn’t define us. Our actions do.

I don’t know a way to stop comparing myself to others. I’m not sure there is one, but I found a better way that motivates me to act and not envy.

Stop measuring the gap and start measuring the progress

I’m guilty of comparing myself to others.

When I saw other writers’ successful articles, I compared them to mine, where I have 5 reads most of the time. It’s demotivating when I see the abyss between the results. But when I started, I had no reads, articles, or followers. I couldn’t even think about publishing my work.

Use the success of others as proof it’s possible to succeed.

But when it comes to numbers, measure your progress, not the gap between you and the desired state. While you’re on the way, spend some time noticing how far you have got.

One of my goals for 2023 is to practice writing for 500 hours.

so to see the progress, I track how much I have already accomplished. I’m still behind the schedule as of now.

Spirituality is not about having what others have. It’s about knowing what you want, why you want that, and how far you’ve come.

Harsh Self-Judgement

You’re bad at many things.

You judge yourself too harshly for your sins. When you drop a mug, do you smile and say, ‘What a silly mistake,’ or go full throttle, “I’m a disappointment; I can’t even hold a mug?”

I was in the second camp, and occasionally I still visit it.

It’s always the same. No benefits, only despair. The thing is not to deny your mistake but to accept it. You don’t need to punish yourself twice for making a mistake. Losing a mug is a punishment, so let it go without making it an unbearable burden.

It’s impossible to see a way out of the problem if you’re always focused on how unwanted it is. Or how awful you are that it happened to you.

There are solutions to the broken mug. You can glue it. You can replace it. Or you can live without it.

The idea is to try, fail, learn, and try again, not to try, fail and fall into despair.

Accept who you are to work on improving yourself

Accept what you are and what you did.

It’s easy to write, much harder to do, but it’s possible.

If you encounter a problem:

  • reframe it as a challenge,
  • ask yourself: how to beat the challenge?
  • experiment with a solution
  • save the results
  • judge the results
  • if the results are not acceptable, go to step 2

Judge to know if something requires your attention, not to blame yourself. Judge to decide if what you did was right. You want to take action, not to feel miserable about failing.

Everyone makes mistakes.

But only a few consider fixing them. Mistakes are not the problem. You are when you despair about them constantly.

Instead of wasting time judging yourself, use your judgment to determine if you did the right thing.

Treating Spirituality as a Silver Bullet

Going full on the spiritual train solves none of your problems.

Self-discovery is not the answer, it’s a way to find answers. Or, at first, it’s a way to convince yourself; you may find solutions. And it’s not always glamorous like some gurus present.

Many times it’s awful and depressing.

I got scared when I saw myself for what I was for the first time. How could I ever fix what I already did wrong in the world? How could I live with the shame?

I didn’t stop at realizing how f*cked up I was.

I dug deeper to understand what the problem was finally. It’s not the thoughts about how worthless I feel that make me suffer; it’s the constant reminder that I must be useless when I have ideas like that. But I can’t control my thoughts — they come and go.

The only way leads through them.

I learned that from the spiritual journey, but that didn’t change me. I got a potential solution and had to act on it.

Using spirituality to spark action

I think of spirituality like it’s a book.

Interesting one, full of insights, but still a book. It never solves any problem I have, but it may contain solutions. To fix a problem, I must act based on the knowledge I got from the book.

When I realized the peace I longed for was just behind my thoughts, I tried letting them in.

Because they already appeared. I just couldn’t accept that. You know, it’s like fighting the echo of your voice in an empty room. Let it be, it’ll pass, and after the echo, there will be silence if you are quiet. Resist the sound, and you’ll suffer longer than the sound lasts.

To ever have peace of mind, you must accept what you already are.

Do not give up on changing. Accept what is already here. Accept what you already are. Resiting who you are doesn’t make you a better person. It’s an inside version of virtue signaling.

Spirituality gives you an abstract structure to become a better you. You’re responsible for implementing that structure in life.


The beautiful complexity of the world we live in makes it impossible to predict what’s going to happen.

Everything we can know about reality is an approximation at best. To face the world with such knowledge is an act of stupidity or courage. What differentiates the two is knowledge about yourself.

Fighting the world how it is without knowing what you want is stupid.

Adapting to get what you want from it is courageous. Spirituality is a way to discover yourself. You can’t buy knowledge about yourself. You must earn it.

But be mindful that knowing something is always abstract unless you try it out.

That’s why I think of spirituality as a book I learn from but never as a solution to my problems.

What is spirituality for you, and what are the problems you face?

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