If you grew up in a zealously religious home practicing a strict faith, you might run from religion like your hair is on fire.
You may also run away from spirituality like you’ve seen a zombie if you associate spirituality with ganja-smoking Reggae singers at a Rastafarian concert.
You don’t even want to hear the word meditation as you live in the modern world, far removed from the remote mountains of the Himalayas and have no plans of entering a monastery.
Why get spiritual?
If the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle or your local pastor have not been able to persuade you to pursue a spiritual path, you have been missing out on the real benefits of spirituality in your life.
Spiritually tends to get swept up with far out characters, hokus-pokus practices, and bizarre beliefs. The spiritual people you know you in your life also may not be the best examples for wanting to live a spiritual life. Your hippie Uncle, fortune-telling ex-girlfriend and organic-fasting colleague (who fasts while breathing organic air) make you want to have nothing to do with spiritual people or a practice.
A good spiritual practice is one where you are able to discover your true nature and self. It’s the process of digging through your physical and emotional makeup and reaching the essence of who you are as a person.
While you may be more interested in discovering the true essence of your favorite Jersey Shore cast-member than yourself, connecting with your true nature can help you find true fulfillment and meaning in your life.
In addition to fulfillment and meaning, spirituality can dramatically improve your life in these 5 ways.
What can spirituality do for you?
You don’t have to associate the word “spirituality” with a practice that helps you achieve your true essence. Spirituality can be comprised of multiple paths, methods and practice.
Spiritual practices can certainly include religious practices at your church, temple or home. You’re embracing spirituality when you sing in choirs, chant mantras, pray or meditate. You can also reflect upon spiritual texts, travel to spiritual lands, embrace the beauty of nature or spend silent time in reflection.
Here are practical ways that spirituality can improve your life:
- Concentration and focus. A spiritual practice helps you focus on realizing your true essence. This typically requires intense concentration on observing your mind or focusing on understanding your soul. While pursuing these practices, you practice your ability to focus and concentrate.
When you’re embracing a spiritual practice, you realize that your ability to focus on work, family and life in general, also increases. Increased focus and concentration helps you be more productive and efficient in your day to day work.
- Awareness and insight. While spiritual practices are a journey within to “study” yourself, you’ll also get into the habit of studying situations and people better. You’ll become more observant of those around you and be more aware of situations that present themselves to you. When you observe a problem like you’re observing your mind, for example, you begin to see a problem from many different angles and all the possible solutions. You start developing a deeper understanding of people and circumstance which gives you sharper insight to resolving problems in your life.
- More creativity and ideas. One of the world’s most successful and creative artists, Vincent van Gogh, was strongly influenced by his spiritual beliefs. Although formal religion turned it’s back on Van Gogh when a Protestant organization declined to renew his appointment to preach, he found solace in expressing his spirituality through his art. His creative masterpieces are now some of the most expensive and appreciated paintings around the world. When you’re trying to focus on your mind and soul, you will be bursting with creativity and new ideas. Artists will be inspired to create magnificent art. Entrepreneurs will be inspired by new products and new businesses. And the rest of us will be inspired by new ways to solve an old problem, improve the world around us or think of ways to provide more value to the world.
- Synchronicity. Now, you may think this idea is a bit of the deep end but it’s something that you should be experience firsthand before ruling it out. You’ll notice that when you’re in a spiritual place and in tune with the world around you, that circumstances, problems and situations in your life start working in sync for you. You’ll start noticing more coincidences, more serendipity and more favorable events in your life. Instead of rowing upstream in the row boat of life facing strong winds, you’ll feel like you’re on a motor boat cruising along with little resistance. Being spiritually centered feels like the world around you is suddenly working for you and in your favor.
- Peace of mind. Would you like to feel balanced and peaceful? Ultimately, isn’t that why many people embrace some kind of spiritual or religious practice? Spirituality helps you realize that true peace of mind is within yourself. Instead of finding happiness in professional pursuits or material objects, you come to realize that peace of mind is an internal, not external journey. Imagine being less worried, more in tune with your true nature and having a calmer state of mind? Living a spiritual practice helps you realize that life’s problems and challenges don’t have to turn your life upside down. It gives you the mental and emotional strength to face difficulties and problems.
Despite the bad rap spirituality gets, don’t discount a spiritual practice just because of the zany people you might know, the bizarre practices and stereotypes. Infusing your life in a spiritual practice can help you live a more fulfilled, balanced and happy life.
Do you have a spiritual practice or do you run away from it like your hair’s on fire? Has spirituality helped or failed to make a difference in your life?