Most of us are given a set of spiritual and moral guidelines in the early stages of life. As times toughen, and our faith and beliefs are tested by circumstances we may not have expected, we find out just how strong that belief system is and where our spiritual ‘breaking point’ may be.
You’ll find yourself tested. Life will often go in the opposite direction of what you had in mind for yourself. And when it goes awry, you might find yourself straying from that original spiritual ‘blueprint’ you were given from a young age.
When you have a moment of clarity, and you realize you’ve gone down the wrong path, here are ten ways to infuse spirituality back into your life. From here, you can find your way back to following that ‘moral compass’ you’ve always known how to follow.
Think and Act Positive
If you think positive, positive actions will follow. A positive attitude is crucial to reintroducing spirituality into our lives, and too often we underestimate the effects of a positive outlook on our day to day lives. American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, when asked how he was able to guide the American relay team to gold, said that on the very first day he told his teammates that they were only to think positive thoughts and say positive things to one another. He didn’t want to hear any negative talk in the locker room, the pool, or among teammates. His leadership by positive example was an important ingredient to success. And if we are to reintroduce spirituality into our lives, a positive outlook is crucial.
Acts of Kindness
Every day brings many opportunities to bring a kind word or act into the life of someone who truly needs it. And it’s reciprocal; doing someone a good turn makes us feel good about ourselves in return, and reminds us of the good person we are inside. To be in service to others should represent at least 51 percent of your waking hours, in whatever form this may take – volunteering, or just listening to a friend who’s down on their luck. A simple act like a smile at a random stranger is a positive step toward finding our spiritual center, and it’s free.
Meditation is a key to quieting the mind and being able to access our higher selves. When we enable ourselves to dig deep into our unconscious and hear what that higher self needs, the path back to a spiritual life will come in clearer view. It’s amazing what positive and creative solutions you’ll be able to tap into while meditating, as well as the benefits for your physical health.
While meditation guides are as common as sushi bars, and everyone seems to have a different favorite, the easiest place to sample a few mediation methods is to check out the many videos on YouTube. There are thousands of wonderful guided meditations and with a little searching, you are sure to find one that resonates with you.
Communicate Clearly and Openly
Sometimes our hang-ups are the simple result of not expressing what we truly want. When we open the lines of communication without attacking or speaking in a tone that raises the defenses of others, we have a real chance at progress. A long talk with someone whom we’ve had a misunderstanding can be one of the most spiritually rewarding things we can do – both for the other person and ourselves, as well. And there are times we think that what we’ve said isn’t hurtful at all, they were just our feelings at the moment. While this may be true, try to listen to the tone in which it was said; the old saying ‘it’s not what we say but how we say it’ is still a fine rule.
Look to Nature
There are going to be dark times when it might seem impossible to feel a spiritual connection or guide in any other person. This is the time when it’s a good idea to look to nature for example. No need to go on an exhaustive camping adventure to find it; a great example can be found in the changing colors of leaves on a tree or the unconditional love of a pet. And though it may seem counter-intuitive, we can even turn to the internet to find amazing examples of the path nature lays out for us. Like signposts leading us along a road, the spiritual examples available in nature and the wonderful analogies they provide are endless.
Fall in Love
If you’re single, put yourself out there. Websites such as Match.com and EHarmony are full of success stories for a reason: from the ease of your own mobile device or computer and at the pace that makes you comfortable, you can use your own judgment on who looks, talks and acts like a good match. And for those who are already partnered, think of something – no matter how small – to share with your other half that will make them feel like a special and valued part of your life. It doesn’t have to be a big, overt gesture – a simple token that shows you think about them when you’re apart can be the glue that holds your relationship together.
Got a favorite author? He or she might have something new on the shelves for you to devour. Go browse a great new or used book store, and if you don’t know where one is, find it! Sometimes you never know what kind of road map is waiting on those shelves just for you to discover. A first-hand account of someone who’s gone through what you’re going through right now can bring clarity and insight. Also, the very act of reading allows our mind to open all kinds of creative outlets; it draws images, and in a kind of mediation, connects us to our own (sometimes forgotten) beliefs.
Listen to Your Higher Self
Your higher self begins about six inches above your scalp (higher if you’re still teasing your hair in an 80’s metal kind of way). And it really does know exactly what you need for growth if we listen. We are all put here to continue our spiritual growth in some way, and getting in tune with our soul’s deepest needs is crucial. Your higher self guides you, comforts and helps you in all ways. Like a strong radio signal, if we tune in it’ll tell us exactly which way to turn, what to avoid and who might be a good spiritual guide in a time of need. When we take out a few of our daily distractions, tune in and really listen, extraordinary things begin to happen.
Revisit Your Spiritual Traditions
Maybe you are or were once a member of a church or temple. If praying to a higher power has brought you peace in the past, perhaps that kind of mediation would do you some good about now. Within the church you’ll also find opportunities to get involved, to donate your time to a food bank or another entity where your time and energy can be useful. Maybe your former ‘religion’ was a form of sport or exercise. If your doctor green lights you, start with a bike ride or walk along a path where nature can nurture your mind.
Follow Your Dreams
Dream big. A lot of self-help gurus will tell you to envision what you want and soon you’ll find yourself moving right toward it. Along the way to your dream, you’ll find you’re cutting your own spiritual path, one you’ll cherish having blazed all on your own – no matter the outcome. Dreaming big is, after all, a way of connecting to and getting in touch with the higher selves we wish to be. Everyone’s dreams are different and no dream is too big. It’s only when we pursue them too hard, or lose track of what they were that we begin to go down a rocky road. So dream, dream boldly, and create something that makes your heart sing.
Everything is OK
You’ll hear a lot of talk right now about “uncertain times,” and how “things have never been like this before.” Yet anyone who has lived a little bit of history will tell you – times have always been uncertain. The only thing we can be sure of is that: so long as we keep focused on that which is most important to us – and those who are important to us – everything will be OK.