Form a Spiritual Philosophy

Forming a spiritual philosophy takes time, thought, and dedication. You can begin by identifying your values and asking yourself questions about the human experience. It’s important to keep an open mind and listen to your inner voice as you embark on your spiritual journey. Exploring different spiritual philosophies through scared texts, literature, music, and by visiting spiritual places will help you form your own spiritual philosophy.


Developing Your Own Spiritual Philosophy

  1. Make a list of your values. What you value in life is a critical component of your spiritual philosophy. Take some time to make a list of values and keep these values in mind as you explore different spiritual philosophies. Some example of values include honesty, respect, courage, and open-mindedness.[1]
  2. Ask yourself “big” questions. As you different spiritual philosophies, it’s important to ask yourself how your thoughts and beliefs compare to what you are learning. Take time to ask yourself questions about your take on the human experience, the soul, afterlife, and the relationship of humans to the natural environment.
    • Try asking yourself, “What happens to the human soul after death?”
    • You can ask yourself, “What is the place of humans in the universe?”
  3. Keep an open mind. It is important to approach the development of a spiritual philosophy with an open mind. While you might have been raised in a particular spiritual or religious tradition, you can benefit from learning about how others approach and philosophize about spirituality. Don’t disregard anyone’s approach until you have taken time to learn about it.[2]
  4. Pay attention to your inner voice. As you develop your spiritual philosophy, it is important to pay attention to your inner voice. For example, if a certain approach to spirituality makes you feel uncomfortable, you should not push yourself into it. If something feels right to you, on the other hand, make an effort to continue exploring it.[3]
  5. Develop a writing practice. As you are forming a spiritual philosophy, you will likely experience a vast array of emotions. Set aside time each day to write down your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Doing so will help you think through and experience all the emotions on your spiritual journey.[4]
    • Try making a list spiritual goals, ideas, and beliefs that are most important to you and use this list as a guide.
  6. Try adopting or modifying an existing spiritual philosophy. After you have identified what is important to you and taken the time to explore existing religions, consider adopting or modifying one of them. You can either fully adopt an existing religion or spiritual path, or take the elements of it that speak to you and use them to create your own spiritual philosophy.

Learning About Spiritual Philosophies

  1. Read sacred texts. As you explore different approaches to forming a spiritual philosophy, you should consider reading some of the world’s most influential sacred texts. Doing so will help you gain a better understanding of how different peoples and cultures have philosophically approached spirituality across time. Some of the most influential sacred texts in world history include:[5]
    • The Bible
    • The Torah
    • The Quran
    • The Vedas
    • The Egyptian Book of the Dead
    • Tao Te Ching
    • The Upanishads
    • The Bhagavad Gita
    • The Buddhist Sutras
  2. Explore classic literature. Reading classic and contemporary works of literature can help you learn about how others have formed their spiritual philosophies. You can learn from the spiritual experiences of characters and their authors, and this can help you form your own spiritual philosophy. Some great works of literature that explore spiritual philosophy include:[6]
    • 'Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda
    • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
    • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
    • The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
    • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  3. Listen to music. Music can be a powerful component of spirituality, and can help you clarify your philosophical approach to spirituality. Try listening to a variety of genres and artists while paying particular attention to lyrics and composition. Seek out music that speaks to the human experience and that you feel a spiritual connection to as you listen. Doing so may help you get a few steps closer to forming your own spiritual philosophy.
    • Try listening to John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Bob Dylan, or Johnny Cash.
    • Experiment with music from religions you are exploring. For example, if you are learning about Judaism, you might try listening to klezmer music by Tempero.
  4. Visit spiritual places. An important part of forming a spiritual philosophy is experiencing different environments where humans interact spiritually with the world around them. This can be as simple as going for a walk in the forest, or as complex as traveling to an ashram in South Asia. Explore as many different environments as you can, and pay attention to how you feel on your journeys.[7]
    • Try visiting religious centers to learn more about spirituality. For example, you can visit a church, mosque, or Buddhist temple.