Defining the core tenets of one’s path is vital to forging a cohesive, workable belief system. The examination of one’s beliefs should not stop there, however. In looking at our spiritual lives, we often find that there are ideas that we hold near and dear that fall beyond the pale of those central beliefs. These ancillary beliefs can shape our religious and spiritual selves as much as, if not more than, the tenets that form the foundations of our beliefs.
- Aside from your core tenets, are there beliefs that you hold in your spiritual practice or path?
- How do these ancillary beliefs affect your path?
- How much importance do you assign to these beliefs?
- Are your ancillary beliefs fixed or have they changed over time?
- Do these beliefs ever clash with your core tenets?
My core tenets are simple and have changed little with the passage of time: the Divine exists and that Divinity expresses itself uniquely to each individual. While these ideas act as my spiritual compass in all things, they leave quite a lot of undiscovered spiritual territory. They say much, yet speak little, about my spiritual practice or being.
My ancillary beliefs give my path its shape, defining its landmarks and pitfalls. For example, I believe that acts of charity and hospitality are beneficial to my spiritual self. It’s not a central tenet of my spiritual path, nothing in my core tenets say that charity or hospitality are required. Yet, through these acts, I allow myself to connect with other people, their needs, hopes, and fears. By giving of myself, it provides opportunities for spiritual growth. My path would not disappear if I stopped holding this belief, but the landscape would certain look much different.