Tag: experiences

Spiritual Growth: The Spiritual Challenge of Modern Times (Part 1 of 2)

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Spiritual growth in a world defined by power, money, and influence is a Herculean task. Modern conveniences such as electronic equipment, gadgets, and tools as well as entertainment through television, magazines, and the web have predisposed us to confine our attention mostly to physical needs and wants.

As a result, our concepts of self-worth and self-meaning are muddled. How can we strike a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?

To grow spiritually is to look inward

Introspection goes beyond recalling the things that happened in a day, week, or month. You need to look closely and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations.

Periodically examining your experiences, the decisions you make, the relationships you have, and the things you engage in provide useful insights on your life goals, on the good traits you must sustain and the bad traits you have to discard.

Moreover, it gives you clues on how to act, react, and conduct yourself in the midst of any situation. Like any skill, we can learn introspection; all it takes is the courage and willingness to seek the truths that lie within you.

Here are some pointers when you introspect

  1. be objective
  2. be forgiving of yourself, and
  3. focus on your areas for improvement.

To grow spiritually is to develop your potentials

Religion and science have differing views on matters of the human spirit. Religion views people as spiritual beings temporarily living on Earth. Science views the spirit as just one dimension of an individual.

Mastery of the self is a recurring theme in both Christian (Western) and Islamic (Eastern) teachings. The needs of the body are recognized but placed under the needs of the spirit. Beliefs, values, morality, rules, experiences, and good works provide the blueprint to ensure the growth of the spiritual being.

In Psychology, realizing one’s full potential is to self-actualize. Maslow identified several human needs: physiological, security, belongingness, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualization, and self-transcendence.

James earlier categorized these needs into three: material, emotional, and spiritual. When you have satisfied the basic physiological and emotional needs, spiritual or existential needs come next.

Achieving each need leads to the total development of the individual. Perhaps the difference between these two religions and psychology is the end of self-development. Christianity and Islam see that self-development is a means toward serving God. Psychology view that self-development is an end by itself.

 

Continue reading the last part.

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Guilt and Self-Destructive Behaviors (Part 3 of 4)

Do not miss out the first and second part.

 

Continuation:

 

Chances are you’d know that if that person behaved badly, it wasn’t your fault. But with your parent or sibling, you’ve been blamed for their unhappiness over a long, long time and you’ve been burdened by long-lasting feelings of (unconscious) guilt.

Why is it so difficult to avoid feeling guilty toward your parents when you probably wouldn’t blame yourself for the badly behaving stranger?

The Gods Must Be Angry

As children, we view our parents in the same way that members of a primitive tribe view their gods. When the gods are angry, the heavens erupt and earthquakes, floods, and droughts occur.

Tribal elders know for certain that the gods must be appeased. Amends must be made for hurting the gods. With a lack of knowledge about the causes of the natural disasters it experiences, the tribe assumes that it has angered the gods of nature.

And so by altering its behavior through prayer, performing rituals and sacrifices, the tribe believes it can placate the offended gods and so alleviate the punishment.

But in altering its behavior in order to amend and atone, the tribe may make accommodations even if they’re detrimental to its well-being—for instance, sacrificing a cow even if there’s a shortage of cows.

In the same way, as a child you assumed that your behavior was responsible for provoking your parents. Though this assumption was often just a general feeling and not clearly well thought out, it was based on real experiences with siblings or parents who constantly acted hurt, threatened, or angered by your normal behaviors.

Remember the mother in the joke at the beginning of the chapter—the one who made her son feel guilty about not paying enough attention to her? Have you ever been in a similar situation? If so, what did you do?

 

Continue reading the last part.

Arguments Steal Mind Power

Arguments steal mind power. Have you ever noticed that arguments are rarely “won?” Even if you think you won an argument, what did you win?

If there really is a loser, he at least learned something, right? What did you get? Ego satisfaction, debating practice, and diminished mind power.

Arguing Diminishes Mind Power

There are times when things need to be debated, but most of the time, it really isn’t productive.

Do you want to argue the point? What do you get from a useless debate, and more importantly, what do you lose?

One thing is certain. A person listening to arguments can learn something from both sides, but what about the participants?

If your opponent makes a really good point, do you say, “Hey, you’re right!” or do you more often just look for a better argument?

Arguing too much gets you in the habit of looking for arguments more than for truth. You also get deeper into your thinking ruts the more you defend a position.

In a rut and ignoring the truth? If that doesn’t sound like it’s good for mind power, it’s because it isn’t.

Mind Power From Listening

If you say the moon is closer, and I say the sun is, one of us has to be right. If you say nurture is more important, and I say nature is, we’re both right.

The first argument has clearly defined terms. This isn’t common, and even here, what’s the point of arguing?

In the second example, our arguments have to do with values and experiences. We’ve seen different things in life, and we could spend a lifetime defining “important,” or I could shut up and listen.

My mind becomes more powerful with the addition of your ideas and knowledge. Listening is the better way.

To break the habit of arguing, purposely ask for peoples opinions, and listen without saying anything. You can ask them to clarify, but don’t offer one contrary idea.

Do this enough, and your learning will surprise you. The simple technique can be difficult, but it works.

Secrets For Stress-Free Living (Part 4 of 4)

Do not miss out the first, second and third part.

 

Continuation:

 

It is important to limit your own responsibilities to prevent emotions like lack of self-worth etc. Remain present and in attendance to your own needs first and you will always give others your best, automatically.

You are not your accomplishments

Understand that you are not your accomplishments. What you do and don’t do, your beliefs, ideas, possessions, are nothing to do with who you really are. They are the baggage you have picked up along the way.

They are nothing to do with the spiritual you who wants to feel good. Stay connected to peace. Lose your ego, and take this attitude of freedom with you in your everyday life.

The journey is the destination

Many times we say “If only I had x, then I would be happy”. Or “I’ll be happy when I’ve got this…”

As you go into the world and experience the contrast of your likes and dislikes, through your everyday experiences, so a new want is born. Then comes struggle in the journey towards its manifestation.  It contains all the stresses and strains you wish to rid yourself of. Understand this: you’ll never get it done.

The journey itself towards your wants shows you new elements of contrast.  It got new possibilities, new likes and dislikes, that change and alter your path. Thus your job here is not to get caught up in the end result but to ensure you enjoy the journey along the way, regardless of your goal.

Your everyday journey contains all the same underlying experiences, emotions, and full-body feelings that you seek from your end goal. The journey is the destination. So enjoy it.

Bringing it all together

So how do we overcome the various stress blocks to pull greater peace and abundance towards us? Once the biggest unconscious blocks are resolve, your intentions, ambitions, passion will feel that much free to move towards you, automatically and effortlessly.

Circumstances and people appear in your life from nowhere and events begin aligning themselves, as the universe conspires with you, to realize your passion.

 

— end —

The Choices We Make

Choices

Every minute of every day we are faced with choices. Each decision we make leads us along a new path. The road to our future is determined by the choices we make now.

Unconscious of the fact that we are making these choices we are led down the well trodden paths of decisions already made. The road we choose appears familiar because our habitual conditioning has led us this way before.

Why is this?

Because invariably we take the easy option over the better one. We settle for the comfort zone, afraid to venture into realms unknown and the excitement of unchartered paths. The easy choice means we don’t have to think or take action. If we did, we would have to take responsibility; a rare experience indeed.

The true purpose

The true purpose of life is expansion and growth. When we take the easy option we are not being truthful to ourselves. We are settling for less than we are and our lives are forged by the dreams of others.

What happens to us? We become ‘set in our ways’ and grow weaker through inactivity. When we don’t think for ourselves our brains become dull. When we are physically inactive we become weak. When we eat the wrong things our energy is depleted and we fall victim to bad health. And all because we choose the easy option.

The better option

We can’t possibly move forward unless we choose the better option. We can only grow by overcoming challenges, experiencing setbacks and taking responsibility. This is achieved by taking on things bigger than we are, by extending ourselves to become better than we were.

There is no doubt we will experience defeat but this is just an inevitable part of the process. Successful people aren’t successful because they haven’t experienced failure.

On the contrary, they generally have experienced failure more often than most. Neither are they luckier than most. As one famous quote by Roy D Chapin Jr puts it “Luck is the time when preparation and opportunity meet.”

Opportunity is down the path we have never traveled not in the places we keep coming back to. Successful people are simply better prepared to make the most of any opportunity that comes their way.

How are they better prepared? Because they chose a different way; when the going got tough they chose the better option.

How do we know what choices to make?

When we know what our goals are the better option is immediately apparent. It is the option that leads us towards our goal in the quickest way possible. It is not some subtle distraction that takes our sight off the target or a well crafted excuse to procrastinate.

It gets us from point A to point B via the shortest route even if that means leaving the comfort zone to do it. We forge new paths, experience new things and grow even stronger as a result.

Do you see how we make our own luck? Treading the same path day after day is hardly the recipe for success.

Do yourself and everyone else in your life a favor. Go for your biggest dreams and make the world a better place. Choose the better option over the easy option every time.