The truest form of liberation can be experienced when we are living in alignment with our true nature. So, how can we become more aware of our spiritual nature? Here are five tips for practicing spiritual awareness
Remove any sense of separation
When communicating with others, dissolve the barriers of physical characteristics such as gender, age or ethnicity. Communicate with people on a spiritual level, for example: Do not perceive yourself as talking to a ‘black’ person, a homosexual, a fat person, an old person or even an enemy. This practise will help you to see others as who they are. If you have difficulty, it may help to imagine them as a relative, or anyone that you love. Look for similarities rather than differences.
It is only by chance that someone is a stranger – a slight shift in circumstances could have easily made them a close friend. Think of the unusual and coincidental circumstances in which you have met some of the people in your life, and how one small decision (such as deciding to stay home) could have kept you as strangers today.
Cultivate loving-kindness and compassion
The practice of spirituality emphasizes qualities such as love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and harmony. Forgiveness brings as much healing (if not more) to ourselves as it does the subject that we are forgiving. The capacity of our love has no limitations. Love is not an emotion, nor is it an action – it is a state of being that is part of our true nature. We do not need to do anything in order to love – we just need to dissolve our self-errected barriers to this natural state of being. Remove judgement and attachment from your life, and you will be left with a deeply peaceful and loving acceptance that everything is exactly as it is meant to be.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness include the alleviation of mental afflictions such as worry, anxiety or regret, which are generally related to the past or future. Mindfulness can be practised by bringing your attention to the present moment, and a good starting point is by focusing on the inhalation and exhalation motions of the breath. Acknowledge any thoughts that arise without judgement or attachment, and aim to quieten the inner narrative of your mind by gently returning your awareness to your breathing.
What we give is what we receive
Everything we give flows back through us, like seeing our reflection in water. Actions such as judgement, gossip and criticism are a reflection of the giver and will therefore come back to you. Remember the simple phrase “do unto others as you would do unto you”. Don’t just know of it, but be the person that you want others to be – lead by example. If you do participate in criticism, the law of reciprocation can guarantee that you are also gossiped about – please understand that it works both ways. Like attracts like – we get what we give.
Resolve not to participate in criticism or gossip
You may possibly find this to be easier said that done, as it can difficult to avoid these types of situations. Often friends or colleagues like to gossip, and you may not want to offend them by not “joining in”, and so you find yourself adding your two cents. A good way to handle the situation is to point out a positive of the person being criticized. For example, if your friend is complaining about a lady that was rude to her, you could suggest that perhaps the lady was having a bad day, and wasn’t aware of her reaction.
Our inner commentary is also very good at being critical and judgemental! Start noticing when you are silently criticizing others in your mind, such as berating the ‘idiot’ driving slowly in front of you. This rule also applies to yourself. Notice any negative self-talk, and at the time, simply remind yourself to be kind and gentle with yourself.
Make a conscious effort to remain judgement free as much as possible, and learn to perceive/feel from the heart instead. You will not only feel more engaged with others – but yourself as well.
I’d love to hear your comments. If you can think of any other great tips for practicing spirituality, please share them!