How do we take our spiritual practice and live it every day?
Those of us who are committed to a spiritual path can sometimes feel split in two.
There's the contemplative, ascetic side of our nature, the part that loves meditation, silence and oneness with God. Then there's the other side of us that's out there in the world earning a living, being a consumer, friend and partner.
How do we merge these two aspects of ourselves that seem disparate but in reality are one?
Is there a way to apply our spiritual practice into everyday living?
The exciting answer is, YES!
As Pema Chodron reminds us, "Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment."
Enlightenment isn't just happening on an ashram or in a cave or in front of your altar, it's happening in every minute of every day in how you choose to show up and live your life.
Here are five ways to apply your spirituality into your everyday life:
1. Don't Take the World So Seriously
One of the main reasons I meditate is because it creates space around me, space that gives me room to not be so reactive to life -- to the chaos, confusion or intensity that swirls around us all the time.
It gives me room to be reflective instead of reactive.
And from this place, I don't take life so seriously.
I used to wear the face of intensity everywhere. Life was painful. People were suffering. The climate was being destroyed. There was nothing funny about any of that. Being an adult was serious work.
Until I realized that my intensity and seriousness wasn't helping. It was making me miserable and was turning other people off.
Think for a minute about His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. He's always smiling and laughing. He loves to tell jokes and he has certainly experienced suffering. His people no longer have a homeland.
2. Recognize That Life Is Happening for You Not to You
When we reframe life and look at it through this lens, it allows us to make a positive shift. Instead of obstacles we see opportunities. Rather than challenges we see growth.
What is life trying to teach you today?
Is it to slow down and enjoy more? Perhaps it's about taking action and implementing one of your ideas.
Having an issue with another person? Some of my profoundest teachers have been the most challenging people in my life -- from family members to customers.
Look at life as a great game we are playing to teach us lessons we've come here to learn.
3. Practice Mindfulness
What exactly is mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means, "paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally."
In other words, mindfulness is being fully present in every moment.
When you're driving, are you looking at the road, watching the other cars and people or are you distracted by your phone or thoughts -- pushing you into the future or ruminating on the past?
When you're listening to another person, are you really hearing them or has your mind wandered to your shopping list or the movie you want to watch later?
The challenge -- just as when we meditate -- is to bring our minds back to the present, to what is happening right now.
Being fully aware is about being conscious in the moment and doing whatever it is you're doing one hundred percent.
4. Loving Kindness
What would happen if you made the decision to show up as your best self every day?
What would that look like? How would it feel?
Take your spiritual practice and put it to work today in the form of loving kindness.
It's easy to have compassion when we sit and pray. Extend that into the here and now, into your relationships with your family, friends, colleagues and customers. Even beyond that to everyone.
Could you choose to say hello to a stranger? Offer help to someone you don't know? Smile for no reason?
5. Remember that You Are a Vessel
My Course in Miracles lesson today was a reminder that my mind can only serve. So who should be its master? I choose: The Holy Spirit, God, the Universe, Source, Oneness to guide me.
When I get out of the way and allow spirit to work through me, I remember my function. I remember to be the embodiment of love and forgiveness, kindness and patience.
How can you get out of your own way and allow the flow of higher knowing to pour through you today?
Every minute of our lives, we're on this path. Instead of leaving your spirituality behind with your meditation pillow, try incorporating these five principles into your life today. See how it goes!
Shakti Sutriasa is the Founder of DecideDifferently.com, offering life coaching, counseling and workshops that combine modern psychology and spirituality. Shakti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has an MA in Education. To learn more Click Here
Pema Chodron: http://www.quoteswave.com/picture-quotes/413535
Mindfulness definition: http://www.wildmind.org/applied/daily-life/what-is-mindfulness
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