Why are you on a spiritual journey of self-discovery?
Are you looking for peace?
For completeness and fulfillment?
For true love?
To permanently end suffering and misery?
To find everlasting happiness?
To uncover the mysteries of reality and existence?
To unravel your true essence?
To find out who or what God is?
You must know exactly why you are making this journey. What drives you to pursue the most auspicious achievement in the entire universe?
One thing is certain: your current state is unsatisfactory—something is lacking—and you feel or even know through direct experience that by enrolling on a spiritual journey, you will overcome that lack and unveil the greatest secrets of the universe.
To know the driving force behind your desire for enlightenment, you need discernment. To awaken discernment, you need to have a calm mind. With a chaotic mind, you cannot do anything useful in spirituality.
To calm the mind, you need to practice some form of meditation: Kriya or Kundalini Yoga, mindfulness or breath-awareness all work well. Asanas, Tai Chi, relaxation techniques or some types of martial arts with a spiritual flavor also work well to a certain extent.
Once this has been achieved to a degree, you will begin to feel lighter and emptier. This “lightness” and “emptiness” allow you to be receptive to insights and to let “high-discernment” infuse your mind. Notice that you do not need to achieve thoughtless states for this—you just need to have a calm mind.
With proper insight and discernment, you can cut out from your path all trash, detours, false teachings, and so on. You will undoubtedly know the difference between the subject (you, the experiencer, awareness) and objects (the contents of the mind, movements of awareness). You will also know the force behind your desire for liberation, and thus you will be able to increase it even more until it burns all desires and attachments. In the end, this very desire will burn itself like a burning log that is placed into a fireplace to light and burn all the other logs (desires) also ends up burning itself.
Ultimately, you should know that spirituality is like going to the ocean: if you go with a cup, you’ll only bring a cupful of water; if you go with a bucket, you’ll bring a bucketful; the bigger your recipient, the more you’ll bring. If you go as a drop of water, you will not bring anything back—you will dissolve into the immeasurable ocean of consciousness. The first level requires curiosity (cup); the second determination (bucket); the third requires genuine surrender (drop of water). That’s essential!