Adults that claim to be “spiritual but not religious” account for over 20% of the population in the United States. But for most people, it’s not clear what the word “spiritual” really means. The word spiritual is used to describe aspects of an individual that relate to the expression of the human spirit. It goes beyond the material, the ordinary, and some would say – the expected.
Spirituality is about appreciating all of the aspects of your uniquely human life fully and completely – from your core. Many of us have learned over time to experience the world in a very superficial way – being led by external forces and dealing with the results of those forces acting on us and the events in our lives. But there is so much more than that superficial information just below the surface.
Spirituality embraces all religions because it recognizes the theory that all religions are different paths to the same destination.
If you’d like to deepen and expand your spirituality, consider one or more of these ideas:
- Practice openness. Our tendency as human beings is to judge things by our past experiences. When faced with something new, try breaking the chain of past behavior and keep an open and non-judgmental mind. New opportunities to learn and to expand your individual perspective are all around you. Attaining a higher sense of spirituality requires being open to the possibilities.
- Learn to listen. Few people really listen. Most of us are simply waiting for a pause in the conversation so that we can talk. But it’s not just about listening with your ears; it’s about listening with your heart and your emotions to truly hear what the world is trying to communicate to you.
- Search for and really SEE the beauty in people, things, and situations. Part of spirituality involves seeing the truth – as unfamiliar as that might be, given our overstimulated and extremely busy modern world. There is beauty to be found in nearly everything and recognizing it is part of recognizing the truth.
When you see the truth, you come to realize there are very few things to worry about.
- Spend some quality time in nature. There are few things more spiritual than being open to experiencing nature – with the sun on your face and the breeze whispering against your neck. Experience the trees, grass, flowers, and birds around your home, your neighborhood, or your office building when you can. You’re going to be there anyway, so why not make it work for you in developing a richer spiritual life?
- Look for the bigger picture. The mere act of wondering about the universe – the things you don’t know or haven’t noticed – and what it all means is an exercise is spirituality.
Consider your purpose and what you can bring to the world – your true meaning. What is the greatest gift you have to give?
- Spirituality is ultimately about self-discovery. It can be considered the art and science of discovering who and what you really are – and being open to new information and new experiences will help you learn more about yourself than you might have thought possible.
- Stay focused on the present. Living in the past or the future isn’t truly living – it’s wasted energy that can better be applied to your “right now” circumstances. Life can only be lived right now, right in the moment. Part of being spiritual is recognizing that living a positive life today opens the pathways and leads to good things tomorrow.
Spend time each day focusing only on the moment you’re currently experiencing. Work to ignore distractions and really live each moment.
By focusing on your thoughts, words, and actions today, you have the ultimate amount of control over your life.
- Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, who you truly and deeply are as a person, how will you ever feel comfortable enough to present your true self to the world? We’ve all done things the wrong way and come up short numerous times, but it doesn’t define us. It merely describes us in a certain situation at a certain time. Be ready to let go of the challenges and negatives from the past and move forward into a more positive future. YOU get to decide!
- Allow yourself to be inspired. To fully learn about yourself, it’s important to experience new things and create pathways for growth. Meet new people, see new movies or dramatic productions, visit new art museums and galleries, listen to new music and read new books. Only by allowing yourself to be exposed to what interests you can you learn everything there is to know about yourself.
If you’ve ever been dissatisfied with your current “station” in life and thought, “There must be something more” you’re absolutely right. There’s a whole lot more to you and to the world you live in. Learning about yourself and your place in the world might just be the true meaning of life. But that’s for you to decide and discover – don’t wait any longer – start TODAY.