Thanks so much to Angela for contributing this wonderful guest post and sharing her ideas for creating and following a spiritual path.
When I became interested in spiritual growth, I pushed myself in all areas of my life: financial, social, spiritual, health, career/work, etc. I discovered my purpose in life, developed some goals I was passionate about, and gained clarity in my life. During this period, I gained a lot of self confidence.
After a few months, I slowly felt subtle sensations that something was wrong. I seemed to be doing lots of busy work, but didn’t feel I accomplished anything. My life became a series of reactions, rather than proactive achievements. I realized that spiritual growth is not something you do once, and that’s it. It’s something we need to work on on a day-to-day basis. If we don’t, we can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of society. We lose sight of our deepest values and principles.
Here are some of my favorite ways to ensure I am always living a life of my own conscious choice every single day;
Journaling is my favorite method of connecting with my spiritual side. You don’t need anything fancy like a blog. You can simply open up Notepad and type whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar, or spelling, just keep writing! And there are no hard rules. If you feel the need to simply list a bunch of things that you need to do, list them. If you want to write down a person’s name over and over, do so. If you want to scribble and draw something, do so.
If you have a major problem that you keep worrying about, write about it! Even if you can’t take action in it, you will be at peace with yourself if you consciously acknowledge it’s a problem, and that you need to either take steps to solve it, or consciously accept it. That’s more comforting than simply deluding yourself and ignoring the problem.
Journaling can be an amazing problem solver. I often find when I start writing about my anxieties, the solutions to my problems just come sponateously.
I don’t do any formal meditation. In fact, all I do is simply sit in my couch with my eyes closed, and breathe in and out. I sometimes repeat a mantra such as “We are here to shine, not whine”, or “I’m here to cultivate greatness”. I also silently remind myself of my purpose in my life, which consists of just 4 brief sentences.
You don’t have to chant or say anything if you don’t want to. In fact you can just sit in a room with silence. I highly recommend allocating at least 15 minutes everyday sitting in a quiet room with silence, and let your mind be quiet. If your mind keeps thinking about something, don’t force yourself to be quiet, just observe it like a pebble floating down a river. If you’re really stressed, I suggest repeating certain peaceful words such as “tranquility”.
If you can’t find any quiet time at all, simply practice being in the moment in your daily activities. When you’re washing the dishes, focus only on washing the dishes. If you’re commuting, focus only on the commute, and on the other commuters around you.
3. Taking Long Walks
Whenever I’m stressed out, taking a long walk often calms my mind and restores it to inner peace. Even walking in the busy, crowded streets of the city can be a stress-relieving experience. I love to people watch! Often when I am loaded with busy work, I take time in the middle of the day to just walk for a few minutes and observe the people, the buildings, the sky, the trees, and everything around me. It helps keep me in perspective, and reminds me that the world doesn’t revolve around me, or my work. There are lots of things to experience in this world – constantly worrying about my problems is just silly!
4. Goal Reminders
As much as I am passionate about my goals, I definitely need to remind myself of them every single day. I often do this during my meditation sessions as soon as I wake up.
I also have a scrapbook that I carry around that contains pictures related to my goals. For instance, one of my goals is to travel to Iguazu Falls, Brazil, so I put a picture of the awesome Iguazu Falls in it. My scrapbook also contains pictures of my dream house, a couple dancing, the streets of Japan, and the beaches of Hawaii. Everytime I have a desire I really want to connect with, I try to find a picture related to my desire, and just put it in the scrapbook. I try not limit myself, and don’t worry if it looks silly or not. If you really want it, put it there! Look at your scrapbook everyday, and visualize all of these things happening in the future.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a scrapbook. You can be creative. You can have a digital photo frame, which photos related to your goals. Or you can design a desktop wallpaper with pictures of your goals. You can have a Flickr collection devoted to your goals. You may even decide to print your goals out and put them around your house! The key is to make sure your goals are right in front of you. That way your daily actions are a reflection of them.
5. Connecting with Loved Ones
Sometimes it’s rejuvenating simply to connect with friends and family. We are social creatures after all. If I don’t hang out with a friend for more than a week, I often feel very sluggish and unmotivated. If you’re working for a boss, it’s often best to have lunch with a co-worker as often as possible. If you’re self-employed, try to find other entrepreneurs to have coffee with during the week. While it can be good to connect with yourself through journaling, and meditating, we need to mix some social activities into our lives as well.
If you live in a new city away from friends, then make new ones! It’s amazing how often we restrict ourselves to a tight group of people. Branch out, meet more people – different types of people. See what other things people are interested in, and learn other perspectives of life. It’s all good.
6. Traveling and Seeing the World
Traveling is one of the things I absolutely love to do, and need to do more of. If we’re always immersing ourselves in the same places and experiences, it’s a great way to remain stagnant. Traveling abroad helps us learn more about ourselves, humanity, and the world. Traveling, especially to places that give us a culture shock helps broaden our perspective on life.
Even if you travel to a place like Las Vegas, you can experience spiritual growth. You can see why people are addicted to gambling, and how human nature works. You can quickly learn new truths about the nature of existance, and about yourself. It’s an insightful experience.
What are some of your favorite ways to rejuvenate your spiritual side?
Angela C. is writing a yoga book that will be coming out late next year. She is a yoga lover, personal development coach and an expert on colon cleanses.