Have you ever been unfulfilled after obtaining something you thought would make you happy?
Did this make you wonder if there’s more to life than accumulating things?
Have you ever thought about why you’re here, as Edgar Allan Poe pondered in his poem “Alone”?
Most of us have asked ourselves one or all these questions at some point.
We’re more than the flesh and bones of our bodies, so these questions come naturally. In our essence we’re spirits, and it’s through spiritual development we begin to understand. Of course great mystics and the religions that grew from their teachings have sought to guide us in this area. Each time a Christian takes Communion, or a Muslim turns toward Mecca to pray they’re seeking this. When a Buddhist closes their eyes in meditation, or a Jew recites from the Torah, this is what they want.
So who is right then? Which way should you go?
Well, the great mystic Jalal al-Din Rumi once said “what you seek is seeking you”. The thing about becoming more spiritual is as you grow, it becomes clear you’re part of something bigger than you. Your essence exists as part of a greater essence, which has been waiting for you to plug your awareness in. This greater essence can’t really be confined in the practice of any one religion, but is found many. The key is in how any practice connects you to it. Connection is key, and the thing that connects is love. Religions, practices, and faiths that teach you to love are leading you in the right direction, because love dissolves illusionary barriers. The Apostle Paul from the Bible wrote “but now faith, hope, love abide these three; but the greatest of these is love”.
You may be asking yourself what does that mean? Love who? Love what?
The real question however is, what is there you shouldn’t love?
If we’re part of a greater essence, and so is everything, then shouldn’t we love everything?
The answer is yes, except things that bring separation. Hence, if there’s a religion or faith that teaches you to hate, or oppress others, then it’s leading you in the wrong direction, and doesn’t deserve your devotion.
So within any religion, or even if you’re not part of an established religion, here are a few things you can do to help develop your spiritual self.
- 1. Each day engage in acts of kindness. It can be volunteering for organizations that help those in need; or giving money without judgment to someone begging on the street; or maybe giving your seat to an elderly person on a crowded bus or train. Try to find something unselfish to do.
- 2. Say thank you sincerely, with a smile, even when someone may not be expecting it.
- 3. Before bed take time to reflect upon the stars, and when morning comes the glow of sunrise. And again say thank you, not to these things but the force that connects you.
- 4. If you’ve done anyone wrong apologize, and seek to make amends. Similarly, if anyone has wronged you be willing to forgive. Don’t be imprisoned behind bars of resentment.
- 5. Keep a sense of humor, even when what you’re laughing at is you. Humility helps us take that first step on the road to a more spiritual self.