By Conroy Reynolds PhD
1. You focus on the present
The most important principle in spirituality is the present moment. We constantly live in the past or the future and forget that the present is all we truly possess. It is the only place to experience love, hope and forgiveness. The present keeps us grounded in God’s forgiveness of the past and teaches us to leave the future to divine guidance. We look back without remorse and forward with confidence. Beyond that the present moment is pregnant with possibilities if we give it our complete attention. We may experience the divine, ourselves even eternity in the present.
2. You have greater compassion
Compassion is the soul of a meaningful life. Compassion is firstly, consideration for others, and understanding of human imperfection. There is a realization that human existence is plagued with problems. Compassion therefore, works to relieve human suffering and uplift others. All the great spiritual leaders possessed this attribute and encouraged everyone to cultivate a compassionate spirit.
3. You are not afraid to be alone
Being alone frightens a lot of people. It is in those quiet moments that individuals are compelled to confront parts of themselves that are unpleasant or at least uncomfortable. It challenges us to be authentic since there is no one around to compete with or to be convinced of our awesomeness. Being authentic is deeply spiritual because we come face to face with truth, truth about ourselves and our way of life. God is no respecter of persons. He is not impressed by our posturing. If we embrace ourselves and let our prayers reflect our inner strivings, our time alone is profitable.
4. You notice little things
We are so busy! Years ago Evelyn Underhill wrote, “We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do. Craving, clutching, and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual-even on the religious-plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest: forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in, the fundamental verb, to Be: and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of a spiritual life.” Although busy starts with b, it is the only thing it has in common with be-ing. When I be-ing I am fully aware of God’s presence. I am aware of myself and my connection with everything around me, even the smallest things.
5. You are more willing to forgive
Forgiveness teaches us to let go of resentment. We do not always want to let go. Resentment puts us in a morally superior position. When we don’t have anything else, we can talk about our hurts and the injustice that was done to us. The decision to let it go requires humility. That involves acknowledgement of our common imperfection. Therefore, forgiveness delivers us from the evil in ourselves and in others. Also, letting go of resentment, opens our hearts to receiving. Nothing can be poured into a closed vessel and one filled with negativity has no room for that which is best.
6. You more open to mystery and wonder
The only mystery many of us ever confront is the “who-dun-it” in a movie or TV show. When we take the time to reflect on the complexity of existence, the wonder of it takes our breath away. The conception and growth of a child, for example, is so intricate and filled with such immeasurable mystery, but many have never take the time to ponder this great wonder. Some of the greatest minds among us, even those who question the notion of a higher power, can’t help but acknowledge divinity in such mystery.
7. You have greater appreciation for simplicity and complexity
From the spiritual perspective, the complexity of our universe speaks of divine reality and the simplicity of each moment inspires wonder. As a spiritual being, I can revel in both and allow myself to embrace them. I do not have to take one or the other. Some see the vast complexity of life and deny divinity; others focus on the simplicity of the moment as the only experience of God. Spiritual awareness embraces both.
8. You have a greater sense of the interconnectedness of all creation
The essence of spirituality is connection. I am connected to self, others, the environment, the universe and the divine. Even from a biological standpoint this is true, If all the vegetation died, we would also die since we rely on them to absorb our carbon dioxide and give oxygen in return. We are inextricably connected. In the spiritual realm, the sense of our connectedness reinforces our shared humanity. We are not better or worse than another; we have respect for diversity and believe there is a place for all. We treat others as we would be treated.
9. Comfort with uncertainty
All of us like to know exactly what is ahead for us, our families, love ones, the world. There is a comfort in certainty. If we can make sense of something, it is easier to bear it. However, a mark of growth is the realization and acceptance of the reality of uncertainty. This requires faith, courage and hope. These three help us to face adversity and problems with serenity. We do not require the world to fit our desires, we trust in divine guidance even in times of uncertainty. In fact, especially in times of uncertainty!
10. Attention to social justice
Social justice springs from a heart of compassion. The Christian scripture reserves it’s strongest denunciations for those who oppress the weak and take advantage of the poor. As spiritual beings we appreciate the unity and connectedness of all things and therefore see injustice toward anyone as injustice toward each one. We are challenged to live out the meaning of the Old Testament verse which states, “What God requires of you is to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly.”
Both my experiences as a Counselor and Mental Health Chaplain have convinced me that personal transformation is a vital key to living the quality of life we all seek. I also believe this experience is available to each of us so I have dedicated a great deal of time and effort into understanding the process of spiritual transformation and explaining it to others in a straightforward manner. I am very gratified by the many positive comments I regularly receive from people who have had life transformation experiences after reading some of what I have written on the subject.
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