So many of us these days feel the strong desire to make changes in our lives that will shift us to a new level of happiness. And so many of us feel the urgent call to make changes in the world that will create a brighter future for us all. But however much we may want to save the world or fix what’s wrong, the truth remains that we change the world by changing ourselves. Inner transformation is the key to outer change.
In my book Change Your Life, Change Your World, I offer ten spiritual lessons that create real change from the inside out. These lessons have the power to radically change how we see things and how we experience things; and this has a direct impact on how we do things. Each lesson exercises an “inner muscle” that shifts us out of small-minded ego and awakens us to our magnificence as infinite spiritual beings. It is from this place that we can be truly effective agents of change in our lives and in the world.
There’s no need to go to a mountain-top to apply these ten spiritual lessons: their effectiveness comes from practicing them as we go about our daily lives. All that is required is a little intention and discipline ... and the willingness to step into a new way of being and living!
1. Responsibility - You are solely responsible for both your happiness and your unhappiness. Decide today that you will no longer be a victim of circumstances. The power to make a choice in how you respond to life is the foundation for becoming a master of your inner world.
2. Clarity - Notice when you feel anxious, angry, resentful, isolated, or any other feeling of discomfort. Notice how there’s a thought attached to this feeling that revolves around blame, shame or pain. Ask yourself “Is this true?” As you bring awareness to the story you’ve created around a situation, you’ll find that the story dissolves. This practice stills ego’s chatter to bring clarity and peace.
3. Relaxation - Notice when your mind tightens into “I can’t” or “I won’t” and when your body tenses in fear or stress. Now breathe deeply and softly: consciously soften around the edges of your resistance. The more you let go and relax, the more life supports you by bringing joy, aliveness and creative flow to everything you do.
4. Presence - Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, choose to be absolutely present. This is especially important when faced with something challenging or painful. The more deeply present you can be, the closer you get to the silence of your being-nature. Action that is rooted in being is far more powerful than “mindless doing”.
5. Totality - Practice saying “YES” to every experience that comes your way. Become a “lover of what is”! Meeting everything with a wide open heart brings a deep intimacy to life that is nourishing to your soul. It’s also the birth of compassion, both for yourself and for the world.
6. Gratitude - Dig deep on a daily basis to find gratitude for the small things, and even for those things you would rather cast out from your life. Gratitude is far more powerful than denial or hate. Not only does it shine a light on the inner riches of your heart, but it also draws towards everything you need and deserve.
7. Forgiveness - Forgiveness isn’t about turning the other cheek and allowing abuse to continue. It’s about seeing through unconscious actions to the purity at the essence of all things. This is a tough practice, but one that has the power to transform your inner and outer reality. Holding on to hurt simply perpetuates more pain; letting it go allows love to heal your heart.
8. Nakedness - Practice being transparent: allow everything you experience to flow right through you. Not only will you develop a deep trust in life, but you will also develop the courage to be seen, warts and all. This “nakedness” allows authentic relationship to happen.
9. Service - Ask yourself with each decision and action you take “Am I serving my ego or am I serving my divine destiny?” The shift from self-gratification to having a higher mission accelerates your personal growth and aligns you to the creative power of the Universe. It’s the fire of passion that overcomes all inner and outer obstacles to serve the bigger picture; and it’s the key to true fulfillment.
10. Resoluteness - All the previous lessons are meaningless unless you take action. Whether you walk over mountain peaks or through valley lows, resolve to take one step at a time. Commit to keeping the flame of your inner radiance alive: it is the source of your eternal power!