Have you ever experienced a point in your life where you’re slumped over at your desk, looking out the window and wondering where your life is headed? I’m sure you’ve also questioned the reason for your existence many times. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve all gone through an existential crisis, and it’s just us trying to find our spiritual side.
So, what does being spiritual mean? It’s a broad concept that’s open to many interpretations, but the general meaning of it is to feel connected to something that’s bigger than ourselves and to search for the meaning of life. Many people blindly go from day to day without a clear sense of direction and just follow wherever the road takes them, trying to make sense of that emptiness inside. If you’re one of those people and want to change all that by broadening your horizon, then spirituality is for you.
Now, you might be wondering, “What are the benefits and how can it help me?” For one, being a spiritual person can give you a sense of purpose, nurture a positive attitude and help you find peace and acceptance in your life. And when someone is at peace with themselves, they generally become happy and healthy as a result. On top of that, it can help you create a connection with other like-minded people, establishing a sense of unity with the goal of making each other’s lives better.
Here are some ways to set you on that path:
1. Open your mind
This is the first and most important step you’ll need to do before pursuing this path. Spirituality isn’t just about a deeper understanding of yourself and trying to discover a purpose in life. It’s also about trying to understand everything there is to know about the universe we live in and the willingness to believe that there may be a greater unknown power out there that’s influencing our lives. So you can see how a cynical person isn’t going to get very far.
I know it can be difficult to open your mind straightaway, especially if you’re new to the whole concept of spirituality. All of us have our own views and beliefs, and they are heavily influenced by our circle of friends, family and upbringing. But it’s not impossible to change your mindset.
One simple way to start opening your mind is to question everything that fascinates you. Look up at the stars and contemplate on whether there may be life out there or visit a museum that displays prehistoric fossils and wonder in awe at how such magnificent creatures once walked the earth we now live in. In time, you mind will become much more curious and accepting.
2. Explore different paths
Spirituality is a journey, and like all journeys, there are different paths to take. Each lead to roughly the same place, but the experience is a little different. In order to begin your journey, you have to decide on which path you want to take. Some prefer the path of devotion, in which they seek their spirituality through religion and the worship of god. They feel a sense of belonging and comfort by being a part of a community and explore their spiritual side through prayers, rituals and chants.
The second is the path of knowledge and understanding. This is a much more personal approach, in which you use wisdom and insight to better understand yourself, your role in life and the world as it is. It can come from philosophical teachings that change the way we perceive the world, such as Buddhism, Vedanta, Samkhya and Kabbalah. Or it can come from self-discovery, such as finding out you’ve got a gift for art and using that talent to fulfill your destiny as a great artist.
The third path is through meditation, which teaches you how to still your mind, connect with your inner self and find peace. It also teaches mindfulness, helping you to cultivate attention and awareness of everything that happens around you so that you can open your mind and make sense of new experiences. If you’re interested, there are many types of meditations that can you explore.
3. Look for signs
Once, while I was walking home, I heard a faint sound coming from a drain nearby. I decided to investigate and discovered a pretty yellow bird trapped beneath the grating, struggling desperately to escape. Seeing that it was a quiet place with not a soul in sight, I felt the urge to help the little thing. I lifted the heavy metal grate with all my strength, holding it open until the bird was able to squeeze out and fly away. I thought nothing of it at first and continued on.
A short while later, as I was nearing home, I heard a chirping sound and looked up. It was the same yellow bird, flying from roof to roof, following me. It was then that I realized that if I had not been there, that bird would’ve surely died. Fate had me save that bird and it was now trying to thank me. Needless to say, that made my day, and the happy feeling that I felt was so strong that the experience has stayed with me till today.
Have you had a similar experience too?
If you haven’t, perhaps you aren’t looking. As you delve deeper into the mysteries of spirituality, you’ll begin to realize that the universe will send you clues and nudges to set you on the right path. You may come across signs that are trying to tell you something, such as having a series of mishaps that prevent you from going on a holiday, only to find out later that there was hurricane at the place you wanted to go to. Some of these occurrences happen for a reason, so don’t brush them off so quickly as a coincidence. Learn to analyze them and eventually, you’ll become better at spotting these signs.
4. Find solitude
As our lives get more and more hectic, having to deal with all the problems of life, our minds end up in a state of disarray. We end up worrying constantly and we become stressed as a result. If you’re trying to go on a spiritual path, you can’t expect to get very far dragging around all that luggage. What you need is to find some time alone.
By practicing solitude and silence, you’re basically getting away from the influence of others for a certain time. That means no more worrying about being judged and criticized. You can be your true self. This will put you in a more relaxed state and give your mind time to rest. Just find a nice quiet place away from all the distractions, such as your bedroom or a cabin in the woods and don’t do anything. Just sit there for a few minutes and listen to the sweet silence. This is also a good time to practice meditation.
By doing this, not only will you be giving your mind and body time to rest, but you’ll also be teaching yourself patience and discipline–both important traits of being spiritual. And once you’re feeling happy and rested, you’ll be able to reflect on things a lot better, allowing you to tackle any problem more efficiently.
5. Be at one with nature
When was the last time you stopped to admire the scenery? And no, I’m not talking about that impressive monument you saw. I’m referring to the natural beauty of what life has to offer, from the lush trees, the sparkling rivers and the majestic mountains to the feel of the grass tickling beneath your feet as you breathe in the fresh air.
The sad truth is that as the world gets a lot more modernized, all of this beauty becomes lost to us. We take it for granted and become too occupied with our busy lives to stop and appreciate what’s there in front of us. But did you know research has shown that those who have established a connection with nature are significantly more happy? That’s right, there’s a certain therapeutic effect to it as being among nature detaches us from all our troubles and makes us feel as if we’re in another world. It can also help release stress and make us feel connected to life again.
Also, let’s not forget that nature is the birthplace of all life–a place of magic. If you wish to find your spiritual side, being among nature is a good place to attune to life and better understand the way the world works. All you have to do is set a little time aside and go on a forest hike or a camping trip every once in awhile. You’ll start feeling happier before you know it.
“We are all connected; to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; to the rest of the universe, atomically.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
These are just some of the few ways to get you started. There are of course many different routes to finding your spiritual side and it’s all about being open-minded and discovering new things. Life is about seeking happiness, so it’s important to listen to your heart and not be afraid to try different paths. One of them could help you find what you’re looking for.