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Many of us want to bring spirituality into our lives but don't know where to begin. Or we think we have to sit in silent meditation for an hour each day in order to be “spiritual.”
This is not true.
Here are 5 easy tips to begin to decrease stress, calm your mind, deepen your spiritual connection, and increase your overall happiness and health.
1. Spend time alone.
One of the ways we avoid suffering and pain is to fill our lives with a lot of busyness. My mom always used to say when I used to complain of my busy Manhattan lifestyle, “Well, it's better than being bored.”
But actually, spiritually speaking, it's really good to allow ourselves to be “bored.” It's super powerful to watch our tendency to want to create something to do, somewhere to go, someone to be with.
We fill our lives to avoid going deeper. In actuality, it is in those moments of stepping past the uncomfortable silence that we start to see and feel the inner essence of who we really are.
2. Develop daily rituals and spiritual study.
Sit with yourself and close your eyes. Even for 5 to 10 minutes. Watch and focus on the breath. Every time the mind starts to chatter with to-do lists, regrets about the past or worries about the future, just bring it back to the breath. With no judgement. You are just watching. Creating awareness. Soon you'll start to notice how much you live in the antics of your mind, not the present moment. The key to peace and happiness is nothing external. It is actually just being fully present.
Read books. While our transformation needs to be experiential, part of our growth happens while philosophically learning from others. Spirit will guide you to the books you need to read for your spiritual growth right now. Listen and trust.
3. Move your body.
Yoga changed my life. In my corporate finance days, I thought yoga was a waste of time. With my crazy work schedule, I didn't have much time to exercise so I needed to get the most “bang for my buck” and yoga just didn't cut it. I didn't have time to sit and stretch!
Eventually, though, the spiritual books were guiding me to re-try yoga. Only then was I guided to the right teacher and style. I remember leaving those classes walking down the streets of NYC feeling the most peace I had experienced in my mind and body....ever.
If yoga doesn't speak to you, then dance, take a martial art, or start a fitness routine that you love and makes you feel good. The idea is to release tension and increase the connection to your body.
4. Align with other like-minded souls.
You are the company you keep. This can be difficult when you're beginning on the spiritual path because your current friends, and especially family, may not understand what you're up to. Then you may start to doubt or question the changes you are feeling. This is where the yoga studio or meditation group friends become your new circle. They've either been there already or are going through it. Connect with them. You'll need a mentor and tribe to guide you through the journey.
5. Step out of your comfort zone.
You may find yourself in a room full of people chanting in sanskrit, being asked to stand on your head, or sit on the ground cross-legged for a half-hour. You may find yourself perusing spiritual book stores or going to a meditation practice rather than out for happy hour.
You may begin to have creative desires that you never knew you had or feeling more fearless to take a travel adventure on your own. These practices may be unlike anything you've ever done before....Scary. Weird. Uncomfortable. It's OK. Stay open. Magic happens here.
It is my wish that these few simple tips guide you on your path. Whether you are just starting out, or have been feeling guided for a while, these few simple lessons are the basics that we can ALWAYS return to. They are still all a part of my daily practice.