Finding Spiritual Friendships
If you read no further than this line, all you need to know is that there are people out there just like you, looking for friendships and connections based on spirituality. I have proof — my very own spiritual tribe! You just have to be willing to 1) step into your truth and 2) get a little awkward.
Having friendships with people who consider themselves spiritual is vital on the spiritual path. These relationships allow you to:
- Expand and practice using spiritual language, because you don’t want to totally weird out your non-spiritual crew with all of this mystical jargon. You will soon find, however, that in having more spiritual conversations with spiritual friends (SFs), you become more confident and able to integrate this language into everyday conversations with say, your dad or your coworker. Your whole, authentic self will begin to show up.
- Learn from other like-minded individuals. I once heard that if your friends are not advancing your life in some way, you should find new friends. The purpose of living a spiritual life is to improve your world in an effort to improve the world around you. SFs can share insights on what practices are working for them, giving you an opportunity to adopt the same. When we are at our best, we support others to be their best.
- Elevate out of the everyday human drama. Treat time with your SFs the same way you would treat any spiritual activity you do, whether that is yoga, meditation, hiking or journaling. Similar to these activities, when leave the company of an SF, you will feel elevated. You will soon realize that this is how you should feel after leaving the company of any friend. Adjust as you feel necessary.
- Tribe up! Yes, we are human. Yes, we need tribes. Tribes perpetuate our existence. They sustain our basic human need of belongingness. Tribes offer opportunities for relationships with other tribe members, which brings us joy and love.
When it comes to searching for SFs, you run into a unique challenge — how to establish a human connection around an interest (spirituality) that is the antithesis of our physical world. Tune into any media, and it is obvious that connecting with someone over material interests like craft beer, local sports teams, or cooking is a far more straightforward path. This is because these are all part of our physical world. We are able to experience them with our senses and describe our experiences using language, all of which allows us to more easily connect with other humans around the experience.
Our spirits, our souls, are not of this material world. When we are engaged with a higher state of consciousness, the experience is beyond the physical realm, making associated language a challenge. How do we hope to find our spiritual tribe, our Master Mind Group, without having the words to express where we are in the first place?
Start with the self.
Step 1: Stepping (more like Free-Falling) Into Your Truth
Stepping into your truth begins with a clear acknowledgment that you might trend a little woo-woo.
This might be difficult, depending on your background, your established circles, or even your career path. I was raised Catholic, my adult friends had nothing to do with religion, and as a public educator, my life for the last decade hinged heavily on science and research. How could I suddenly “come out” as some free-flaunting, bohemian mystic? However, you know when spirituality is part of your deepest truth. It is time to come out of the closet.
Write about it.
No need to host your own intervention circle with family and friends. Instead, come out to yourself through journaling or to the all-accepting Interwebs perhaps through a blog post or Facebook group. Simply putting your acknowledged truth into words is empowering, and it helps you have that awkward conversation with family and friends later.
Clarify your key tenets.
This is helpful before you begin communicating on a human-to-human level with potential SFs. What are 2–4 ideals that you hold to be undeniably true? This could be as simple as “God is love,” but be sure you can verbalize exactly what that means. While spirituality is beyond language, it is helpful to put at least some of your ideas into words so you can begin forming relationships.
Identify your non-negotiables.
This can be equally as helpful as identifying your tenants. What beliefs or practices, if any, are you unwilling to be ok with in a friendship? For example, a woman reached out to me about joining her mother’s group based on spirituality. Yes! I was so in. Then, I got the follow up message: “Full disclosure: I am a Christian minister for X church.” Ok, I thought, I’m cool with Christ. He was a stand-up guy. But after digging deeper, it turned out that this church does not support the LGBTQ community. Non-negotiable in my spiritual journey. I respectfully declined.
Step 2: Get a Little Awkward Turtle
Now that you have done the ego work and are fully accepting and engaged with your truth (right??), you should feel some newfound confidence to get a little awkward. Take me or leave me, world! The key to finding friendships, whether they are based on spirituality, sports, or cooking, is relatability, and when we put ourselves “out there” in an authentic way, we instantly become relatable to others, even if it’s just one other. Fully opening up to and sharing your authentic truth, however awkward or unconventional it may seem, is the first step in creating friendships. (If only we were into knitting, ammiright?!)
Start as small and as close to home as possible.
If you are seeking true friendship, it is not helpful to join a spiritual Facebook Group with thousands of members. Sure, it feels safe, but given this new established identity, you could care less about safe. As someone who took that route before, it is incredibly overwhelming and feels like communing with the void. Go small or go home! Join or build relationships with a group (e.g., Facebook, Meetup, wellness studio) centered in your city or even your neighborhood (e.g., Nextdoor). Keep in mind that these groups do not have to be spiritually based (I joined “Making Friends in Seattle” and “Seattle Women” Facebook groups). Filtering for the spiritually inclined comes next.
Put your newly established spiritual self out there!
Once you are in, it’s time to get awkward! In the plainest language possible, let people know that you are searching for spiritual friendship. You can use those exact two words or even consider including stating your tenants or non-negotiables. Connect with or participate in meditation groups or other wellness or spiritual circles, but be sure to take this a step further and actually ask for people’s contact information. Yes, that’s right, make a phone call! You know you are ready for the next phase of your spiritual growth when you are willing to call a stranger to talk spirituality.
Once I put myself out there on social media as a spiritual someone looking for other spiritual someones, people began reaching out. Yes, I had PMs from a few life coaches, two missionaries and one preacher — in other words, people with an agenda beyond friendship. But, I had even more PMs from “regular” individuals looking for a similar, spiritual connection. It truly empowered me on my spiritual path. I was not alone.
Start your own spiritual tribe.
If it matters to you, take it into your own hands. Consider what experiences enliven your spirit and build a like-minded community around that, whether it is lifting weights or gardening. Just ensure that your group creates opportunities for authentic relationships. In my past experience, meditation groups and yoga classes had failed me in the friendship department. Everyone was in and out the door. Was I the only person without a tribe? This time needed to be different. I decided to start a book club group based on spirituality, which I initiated in a Facebook group. One week later, we were meeting. People truly are looking for these authentic, spiritual connections.
While I keep saying that this process is awkward, I assure you that Step One will lift you out of the fear of self-doubt. Once your humanity, or your “person,” is supportive of your authentic self, or your soul, you are in alignment, and fear cannot exist in the strength of that foundation.
If you have ever read Think and Get Rich by Napoleon Hill, spiritual friendships are akin to what he terms as “The Mastermind Group.” These people are essential in your evolution as an individual. They keep you motivated, they inspire you to do better, and they support you when your humanity gets in the way. You can get on with life without them, but if you want to make any substantial changes or growth, you need them.