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To grow spiritually in a world defined by power, money, and influence is almost a super-hero task.
Modern conveniences such as electronics, television, magazines, and the internet have predisposed us to confine our attention mostly to physical needs and wants. We are in a constant state of social-programming. Our desires, needs, and wants are consistently being fed to us in the form of multi-media.
As a result, our concepts of self-worth and self-meaning are clouded. How can we reach a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?
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, introspection can be learned; all it takes is the courage and willingness to seek the truths that lie within you.
Here are some pointers when you introspect: be objective, be forgiving of yourself, and focus on your areas for improvement.
Religion and science have differing views on matters of the human spirit. Religion views people as spiritual beings temporarily living on Earth, while 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, while psychology view that self-development is an end by itself.
Religions that believe in the existence of God such as Christianism, Judaism, and Islam suppose that the purpose of the human life is to serve the Creator of all things. Several theories in psychology propose that we ultimately give meaning to our lives. Whether we believe that life ís meaning is pre-determined or self-directed, to grow in spirit is to realize that we do not merely exist. We do not know the meaning of our lives at birth, but we gain knowledge and wisdom from our interactions with people and from our actions and reactions to the situations we are in. As we discover this meaning, there are certain beliefs and values that we reject and affirm. Our lives have a purpose. This purpose puts all our physical, emotional, and intellectual potentials into use; sustains us during trying times; and gives us something to look forward to—a goal to achieve, a destination to reach. A person without purpose or meaning is like a drifting ship at sea.
Religions stress the concept of our relatedness to all creation, live and inanimate. Thus we call other people brothers and sisters even if there are no direct blood relations. Moreover, deity-centered religions such as Christianity and Islam speak of the relationship between humans and a higher being. On the other hand, science expounds on our link to other living things through the evolution theory. This relatedness is clearly seen in the concept of ecology, the interaction between living and non-living things. In psychology, connectedness is a characteristic of self-transcendence, the highest human need according to Maslow. Recognizing your connection to all things makes you more humble and respectful of people, animals, plants, and things in nature. It makes you appreciate everything around you. It moves you to go beyond your comfort zone and reach out to other people, and become stewards of all other things around you.
Growth is a process thus to grow in spirit is a day-to-day encounter.
We win some, we lose some, but the important thing is that we learn, and from this knowledge, in order to make spiritual growth possible.
All of us have days when we’re out of sorts. You just wish you were in a better mood.
You’ve had days like that, haven’t you?
Perhaps you tried to get yourself into a better state of mind but struggled to achieve it.
Sometimes we get stuck in our own emotional dumps and forget how easy it is to feel happier, so here are seven simple ways to lift your mood. Many people have found them useful. Some of them may surprise you!
Most people know that going for a short daily walk is one of the best forms of exercise. When you are feeling down it is even more beneficial. If you can, go into a natural environment with plants and birds. Can you think of such a setting not? What do you notice first? The different shades of greenery, the fresh smell of country air, the sounds of birds, or the sunlight shining through the trees? Make it real by taking a short stroll.
Music can shift a listener’s state within moments. It’s effect can be nearly magical. Dig out that CD you haven’t listened to in ages or tune in your radio to something you’ve never listened to before.
Read something (printed, not online) different than what you would normally watch. There are a ton of different types of magazines can you get these days. Visit your local library or browse through a magazine rack. Pick up or buy a magazine you wouldn’t normally buy. You may discover something wonderful.
Laughter is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. Find a humorous book, or watch a comedy. Even better, try to learn a few new jokes and tell them to others.
Breathing meditation is a great exercise that you can do anywhere. Simply allow yourself to sit comfortably with your back straight. Now close your eyes and become aware of the flow of air into and out of your nostrils. That’s all there is to it. Do this for 10-15 minutes. Notice how pleasantly surprised you can be at how you feel afterward.
Most people can remember when they were young and used to doodle for hours. Kids love drawing silly little pictures. Drawing is not just for kids or artists. Whoever you are get some pens, pencils, crayons or whatever you have and just draw for the fun of it. Notice how your state of mind shifts.
The fact that you are reading this article suggests that you are probably much better off than most people on this planet. At times this may be hard to believe, but if you can read and have access to the internet, just those two things alone means you are better off than most people in the world. There are many human beings that barely have access to the basics of survival. There are people in lots of pain. Allow your compassion for them to grow.
These are all pretty simple. There’s nothing profound or life-changing, but when all you need is a quick pick me up these may be just the thing you need.
Putting simple ideas, methods, tools, and techniques into action will help you achieve change quicker and easily–surprisingly so at the time– than you imagine.