Monday, 9 July 2012

7 Tips for Living A More Spiritual Life

Our Western society has become more secular in recent years, and whilst many people have replaced religion and spirituality with materialism and greed, others are searching for more meaning in their lives.

Ancient philosophers already knew that human beings consist of three parts: body, mind and spirit, so this isn't a New Age fad. Whereas our body needs sustenance like food and drink, our mind needs education and knowledge, and our spirit needs to explore the mysteries of life, death and the universe with curiosity, imagination and wonder.

When we neglect any of the three parts of our body, we become ill in some way. In order to avoid illness as best as we can, we need to keep our body, mind and spirit equally nurtured.

Although spirituality is nowadays strongly connected with religion, it is completely different from the rigid and dogmatic religious institutions, which currently exist. 

Spirituality is a holistic approach to achieving individual and collective well-being and contentment. You can have a spiritual approach to life without following any form of religion.

Being spiritual does not mean reverting back to follow a strict religious path; spirituality allows you to discover the wisdom found in all religions and choose what works for you as an individual.

You do not have to believe in a God in order to be spiritual. In fact, your beliefs would never be questioned by a spiritual person, as any belief is in itself valid and worthwhile contemplating.

Spirituality is a state of mind, where you become increasingly aware of nature, the universe, the cycle of life and death and mankind’s role within Earth’s complex eco-system. Once we develop our spirituality, it will offer us as much strength and support as any religion practised today. It may even offer us much more than any religion, as it is based on experience rather than a religious belief system.

You may be asking yourself how you can develop your spirituality. There is no guidance, no rules, no structure. Here are some practical ideas that will help you make a start:

1. Practice Meditation
Allow yourself undisturbed time at least three times a week, where you can meditate and reflect on your spiritual well-being. Meditation is a powerful tool to calm down, clear your mind and relax. It's not difficult to learn, but you need to practice it regularly to notice a positive effect. You can simply start by lighting some candles, listen to some soothing music and sit in a comfortable chair and start to unwind. You could even try a guided meditation CD. Over time, meditation can help you ease tension, stress and anxiety.

2. Spend Time in Nature
This doesn't necessarily mean hiking in the wilderness for days, but enjoying walks in the countryside, the local park or even in your garden. Enjoy the scents of flowers, the earth and the trees. Listen to the birds and watch the wildlife. If you have your own garden, try growing your own fruit and veg. If you just have a balcony or window sill, grow herbs and flowers in pots. Have fun experimenting with seeds.

3. Observe and celebrate the changing seasons
Spring, summer, autumn, winter - each season is special and offers us unique gifts. Try to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables that are locally grown. It's not necessary to eat strawberries in winter, which have been flown in from far away. Each season's delights are something to look forward to: whilst enjoying the long summer days, it's comforting to look forward to lighting candles in the autumn evenings and roasting some chestnuts. Spend time outdoors during the seasons and watch nature change. Get in tune with the cycle of  life.

4. Fill your home with positive energy
Keep your home tidy and uncluttered. Filling charity bags with unwanted items can feel like releasing old baggage and a refreshing cleansing purge. Crystals are beautiful, but they can also have healing properties. Invest in a few crystal objects that you love and can use in your meditative and healing activities. Rock salt lamps are a great way to reduce air pollution caused by electrical equipment. Keep a few plants and have some inspirational books handy, which encourage you to think positively and awaken your creativity.

5. Love yourself
Ditch those glossy magazines that haunt you with a distorted view of beauty. The media's obsession with age and size zero bodies has led to a slump in women's self-esteem and a rise in eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Many women, who had plastic surgery, regretted it later. Now is a good time to stop the media's influence on you and enjoy your life the way you are. Remember that nobody is perfect, and you can find a way to let your natural beauty shine whatever your features or body shape.

6. Love people
Make a conscious effort to be nice to people. Smile. Be friendly. Helpful. Caring. Tolerant. Don't expect anything back in return, but you will notice a positive difference not just within yourself but also how others treat you in return.

7. Take responsibility for your happiness
You may get hard done by, and you may encounter a few pitfalls in life, but in the end it's your choice how you react and how you want to feel. Avoid victim mentality; be pro-active. Have faith in yourself; you have the power to take control and move on to where you want to be.

There are many more ways to live a more spiritual life; which ones would you add to this list? 

Warmest wishes,

Christiane


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