Spirituality truly is for everyone, provided your are willing to put in even a small amount of conscious effort. At one level, spirituality is nothing but a constant search for our true selves, the way we are without social pressure, without societal standards, when no one is watching us. At another level, it is about reaching out to the external world while still maintaining a connection with the inner self. Here’s a look at 5 basic aspects of spirituality that everyone can benefit from incorporating into their lives for more inner peace and calm:
What is Spirituality?
To put it very simply, spirituality is all that gives meaning to your life, that which relates to the spirit and cannot be given a tangible or material identity. Spirituality is not a separate religion, religion is an important, but relatively small part of the larger significance of spirituality. Your spiritual life consists of your interactions with others as well as your inner self, and your spiritual practices or disciplines which could include meditation, prayer, altruism, rituals, ceremonies etc. To grow spiritually is to grow as a whole – to know yourself from the inside as much as the outside, and to know the people around you with whom you interact on a daily basis. Spiritual consciousness is all about being aware of the inner self/ the spirit, which transcends the material world and cannot be seen, only felt. One of the most common ways to practice spirituality on this planet has been through faith and prayer, however one can easily be spiritual without following a particular religion. To be spiritual, all you need is to be open to a higher state of yourself and to clear your mind and open it to the bigger picture of your life, the universe and everything.
Spirituality demands a little peace of mind, a few moments of silence and focus. Meditation is one of the best ways to achieve a sense of peace and calm. If done correctly, meditation can bring you closer to yourself and increase your awareness of the world and people around you. There are plenty of online video tutorials out there for beginners. You can also join a meditation course such as trance meditation, visualization meditation etc. A basic course on meditation will give you an idea of what you must focus on to get maximum results and how you can use it to your advantage in almost any situation to achieve peace and calm. Meditate in the morning for 10-15 minutes and use this period to self-reflect, calm yourself and energize your mind for the day ahead. A focus on your breathing during meditation is believed to bring you closer to your spirit, by heightening your awareness of the rhythms of your body.
Your spiritual development is greatly enhanced by helping others. Start giving more in your life – by volunteering with an NGO, donating to charity, spending time with kids at an orphanage, doing whatever you can to give back to the world a bit of what it has given to you. Giving isn’t just about benefitting others, because as you give, you achieve more spiritual fulfillment. Many believe that this is because a generous spirit is vital to spiritual wellbeing. Donating your time and money also brings you closer to the inner spirit of love and care that is present in all of us.
Religion has always been closely associated with spirituality, and for good reason. The sense of faith and belief religion provide is unparalleled because of the magnitude of the idea that there is a power mightier than us. The world is dominated by a religious consciousness, however, a lot of people choose to be spiritual without following a particular religion or subscribing to its traditions and values. Prayer is considered to be yet another path to spirituality, perhaps the one most commonly used by people along with meditation. Regular communication with this power lets us recognize that human feeling and life is temporary and material benefits only provide short-term happiness. It enhances our spiritual development and puts spirituality into practice. A good way of actually practicing spirituality is to join a prayer group or attending service at a church, synagogue, mosque or other center and spend time with others of your faith and belief. A constant connection with the Almighty through prayer as well as with the mortal world through religious gatherings is integral to spirituality.
When our survival, material, emotional and physical needs are met, then we consider ourselves to be happy. However, spirituality demands something further: a sense of gratitude. Gratitude can instantly transform your perceptions. Start counting your blessings, be grateful for the people you have in your life, the house you live in, the work you do, the life you have been given. The gratitude for things in our life brings in more positivity, it makes us more conscious of the higher energy that has created us and guides us spiritually. Try making a list of things for which you are grateful, both material and emotional and see how different you feel as you go about your day. Start living your life with a little more gratitude and you will find yourself gravitating towards peace faster than you would have imagined possible.
Knowing the basic elements of spirituality serves just about enough to get you started on a spiritual path, but it is up to you how far you wish to go. If you want to learn more about spirituality and the inner self, start reading about it. Visit the library and look at the psychology/self-help/religion section to get some ideas. Education is an important part of the journey. Our minds are constantly questing for knowledge and it is never too late to educate ourselves about something as long as the motivation to learn is present. How about enrolling yourself for a short course on religious studies? Or on spiritual practice and rituals? Start reading more, keep yourself mentally engaged with the process of spiritual growth and success.