Wiley reflects on Gannon’s ‘spiritual journey’

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In fall 2006, I made Erie my home. I arrived at Gannon University through my desire to pursue the priesthood at St. Mark’s Seminary.

This was the beginning of what I deemed the “spiritual journey,” even though the spiritual journey had started long before that point. However, the spiritual journey did not work out the way I had expected. I ended up not becoming a priest.

Ten years later I am now a licensed professional counselor and the executive director/founder of an organization that raises diversity awareness by conducting programming and workshops with schools and businesses.

The accomplishments I have listed are in no way meant to be a “pat” on my back. However, it does bring me back to the notion of our spiritual journey.

Some may hear the word “spiritual” and automatically think it means God. I look at spirituality differently. I view it as a personal relationship.

It is that very thing that makes you come alive. What do you consider your higher power? Is it God, nature, family etc.? What is it that makes you tick? When we combine the words “spiritual”and “journey,” what we have is a byproduct of the characterization of who we are and what it takes to reach that self-actualization.

My spiritual journey has been a roller coaster of a ride and I’m only 27. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that a lot of the spiritual journey is what you make of it.

The truth of the matter is that nothing is always going to go your way 100 percent of the time. You cannot and should not want to set out to please everybody in this world. These are indeed unrealistic expectations.

The journey is a lot of trial and error; a lot of the teacher giving you the test and then teaching you the lesson. But what I have realized is that struggle is necessary for growth.

The Gannon experience has taught me many things and I am forever thankful that I was able to spend my college years there. If there is something that I can take from the “spiritual journey” it’s that it is unpredictable.

It is a journey to which you must adapt and from which you must learn. In this life, you cannot be afraid of the cloud of the unknown; instead you embrace it, and you embark on the ever-changing journey.

When you accept the inevitable — which is, of course, change — you begin to liberate your mind from mental slavery. You evolve into something so much more.

It is by this logic, then, that no matter what you go through in this life, you must live by the ambitious slogan of Gannon and “Believe in the Possibilities.” Make the most out of your journey and reap the benefits for a lifetime.

Find out more about Brandon’s organization, Opened Eyes, at www.openedeyesfoundation.org

BRANDON WILEY
class of 2010