An Alternative Spiritual Path
At the age of seventeen, I stopped attending church.
I believed that sitting in a hall with a group of strangers and listening to a priest for hours was a tedious path to God.
There had to be an easier, less boring path.
I didn’t know if such a path existed.
But I knew that I had to find a way to relate to God without waiting for a priest to take me to Him.
Sometime in 1998, I got a ray of hope.
I was going through my father’s library when I spotted a book wrapped in a bright cover.
The title of the book was The Master Key System.
I had seen the book several times in the past but never thought of reading it.
This time, I felt a strong urge to read it.
I took The Master Key System from the bookshelf, ran up to my bedroom and started reading.
The Master Key System by Charles Haanel
I finished the book in five days.
I was ecstatic.
The author, Charles Haanel, hinted at an alternative path to God. I didn’t understand all that he wrote, but I enjoyed the book.
I tried the spiritual exercises in The Master Key System, expecting something special to happen.
I read the book again and did my best to put Charles Haanel’s inspiring ideas to work.
I put The Master Key System aside and went on with my life.
I discovered another book that seemed to urge me to read it. The book was The Quest of the Overself by Paul Brunton.
In a friend’s house, I saw another inviting book, Vernon Howard’s The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power.
The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard
Browsing a bookstore, I saw and bought Michael Talbot’s The Holographic Universe.
My father’s library gave me yet another powerful book, The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn.
Since I first read The Master Key System, I’ve had a steady supply of books on spirituality and self- help.
The only problem was implementation.
I would discover a new book, read it and feel inspired by the ideas and promises in the book.
Then fall back to where I started—frustrated, scared and depressed.
Maybe I was too lazy to apply new knowledge. Or the books were too complicated for me.
Whatever the reason, I kept getting mixed results.
I studied Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Although they all had powerful spiritual insights and wisdom, none of them satisfied me.
I studied occult masters like Aleister Crowley, S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Austin Osman Spare and Israel Regardie. But I was too scared to practice their teachings.
By the time I turned twenty-six, eight years had passed since I read The Master Key System. I still hadn’t found an alternative spiritual path.
The Ideal Spiritual Path
But I had a sense of what it would be like.
The ideal path would give me direct access to God.
It would have a simple doctrine that I can change depending on my needs and circumstances.
It would improve my quality of life.
It would not hinder scientific progress.
And anyone–regardless of race, religion or residence–can practice it.
Throughout my search for a spiritual path, I hadn’t bothered to study an African religion.
I believed that African religions blended primitive superstitions with ancestral worship and studying them would be a waste of my time.
But I was lucky enough to meet an elder who taught me the basics of the Igbo traditional religion, Odinala.
The Odinala Way
Traditional Odinala Shrine
The elder explained the four basic beliefs of Odinala:
1. Chukwu kere uwa (God created the universe): Chukwu is the mysterious entity that created the universe. Chukwu is genderless and without form, yet described as He, She, or It.
2. Mmadu niile nwere chi (Every human has a divine self): A small, invisible portion of Chukwu resides in every person. This portion is called chi. Your chi helps you solve problems in the spiritual and physical worlds. Life is easier when you work with your chi to achieve your goals.
3. Onye kwe chi ya kwe (If you believe, your god will believe): Your beliefs influence your relationship with your chi. You may view your chi as a master, servant, sibling, lover, business partner or supercomputer. There are no limits to what your chi can do for you.
4. Ala wu otu (The Earth is one): Odinala is effective in every corner of the globe. You will get positive results from Odinala regardless of your background or country of origin. Odinala will work for the stockbroker in New York, the mountain climber in Nepal, and the cassava farmer in Nigeria. You may fuse Odinala with other beliefs, religions, faiths or philosophies.