Being a spiritual person is, in many ways, gaining in popularity across Western culture. With yoga, meditation and energy workshops, studios, and retreats popping up all around, many people are eager to explore and cultivate a deeper sense of connection, purpose, and belonging. But what does it mean to be a spiritually aware person and how do you go about embarking on your own personal journey of spiritual development?
What Does It Mean to Be Spiritually Aware?
Before getting into the “how-to” of cultivating your spiritual practices, a good place to start is by defining what it means to be spiritually aware. Words can mean different things to different people. The idea of being “aware” may conjure up diverse viewpoints among different people around the world. To one person, being aware may imply that a person is consciously aware of something obvious, like there being a lot of traffic on the freeway or that there is a storm front moving in. To another person, awareness could be construed as human consciousness, in the way that Deepak Chopra teaches it—as being the oneness that connects everyone and everything, and who you are at the core of your being. In this context, you become awareness itself; the omnipresent witness of everything in existence. For the purpose of identifying what awareness means to you, let’s correlate it to the term mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be referred to as a technique or practice of maintaining your focus on your thoughts, words, and actions. It’s a skillset you can develop to help you disconnect from the busyness of the world you live in and recenter yourself in the present moment. You can learn to be mindful of how you approach life, how you view yourself and others, and how you navigate interpersonal relationships. Being mindful is another way of saying that you’re being watchful—watchful of your mindset, emotions, and behaviors. Mindfulness is about paying attention to the beauty of nature: watching the sunrise and sunset, feeling a warm breeze on your face, swimming in the ocean, walking barefoot in the grass, or staring up into a starlit sky at night—and noticing how it makes you feel inside. These are all examples of a mindfulness-based lifestyle.
What does being spiritually aware mean to you? Take some time to reflect and journal on this.
Why Be More Spiritually Aware?
There may come a point in your life when you’ve acquired enough success in business and mastered the art of relationships and making healthy lifestyle choices, that you begin to get a nudge from deep within to take a look at what’s really going on beneath all the layers of your social conditioning. You start to wake up to the notion that there’s something bigger calling to you from somewhere beyond your everyday living. You may hear an internal voice, see signs all around you, or meet new people who are on their spiritual path and you become intrigued by the possibility that you’re meant for more than the 9-to-5 grind and repetitive, groundhog’s day lifestyle you may have grown accustomed to. You may feel compelled to strive for something more meaningful, yet it’s not money or notoriety—it’s not material possessions or accolades. You can hear your soul calling you to “come home” and reconnect with who you truly are, your soul’s purpose in this lifetime, and your relationship with God, your Higher Self, and the Universe (or whatever best supports your belief system). You want to be more spiritually aware.
There are many benefits of embarking on a spiritual path and various degrees to which your journey will add value to your own personal growth and overall experience of life. You may have your own reasons for wanting to explore spirituality. It’s good to take some time to consider why you would want to become a more spiritually awake person.
- Is there something missing in your life that you can’t quite put your finger on?
- Are you seeking a deeper connection with your Self—that part of you that is beyond your name, what you do for work, where you live, or what car you drive?
- Do you long for a network of individuals who are more like-minded, and on the path of spiritual discovery?
- Do you have the sense there is something bigger playing out through your life?
- Do you find yourself wondering why you are here—what your purpose is?
Now that you’ve considered what spiritual awareness means to you and why it’s important for you to explore, let’s look at how you can go about developing and cultivating spiritual awareness within yourself. Here are five tips on how to be more spiritually aware.
1. Start a Daily Meditation Practice
One of the most effective ways of becoming more spiritually aware is to have a daily meditation practice. Meditation is about slowing down, going within, and taking time to be silent and still. It disconnects you from the chaos happening in your life and lands you in the present moment—right here, right now.
There are several approaches and styles of meditating, so it’s best that you explore which one will work best for you. I recommend a silent, mantra-based meditation, as that is what I was taught by Deepak Chopra in the mid-90s and it’s great for the novice and the seasoned meditator. Feel free to play around with different approaches until you find your right fit.
2. Cultivate Emotional Intelligence
Be prepared to experience your emotions at some point during your mediation practice. Meditation will, 100 percent, bring up any emotions you’ve long-since buried. This is normal and it’s a good thing! Meditation takes you to the depths of who you are and as you traverse the many layers of your being, you’re likely to bump up against yourself. When this happens, do your best to lean into your emotions—allow them to move through you like energy and try to become the witness—just watch them as they ebb and flow. If the emotions become too overwhelming, perhaps try using this guided meditation to calm your emotions.
3. Practice Self-Love
You may have heard that you must know and love yourself, but what does this actually mean? A big part of self-love is to just be YOU and to find ways to celebrate the unique talents, special gifts, and qualities in yourself that you (or others) admire. If you tend to focus on the negative aspects of yourself (you’re always your own worst critic), this is an opportunity to shift your focus to the positive. You’ve been taught to make everyone else happy in life, to the detriment of your own self-care and preservation. To start to overcome the need to put others first, practice being authentic and willing to speak your truth so you can honor your own needs. It’s perfectly fine to politely decline an invitation, to be different than others, or to stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s not in alignment with someone else’s viewpoint. Honor and love yourself the way you do for others and you’ll notice a positive shift.
4. Connect More Deeply with Others
Next, it’s time to deepen your connection with others. Human beings are herd animals, meaning they enjoy the company of being around others who are like-minded and with whom they share a similar path.
It’s important to point out that, as you progress along your spiritual journey and you begin to wake up, the type of people you previously surrounded yourself with may not necessarily vibe with you (or vice versa) as much anymore. This is normal and it can also be somewhat disconcerting. Know that it is one of the clearest ways to gauge your level of transformation, as uncomfortable and confusing as it may feel at first. In some cases, certain friendships may fall away entirely because you’re no longer vibrating on the same frequency. You may find yourself, at times, feeling lonelier but if you stay the course, it won’t be long before you begin attracting new people who are meant to walk alongside you in one way or another. Be on the lookout for new opportunities and new relationships.
5. Cultivate Gratitude
Taking the time to steep yourself in gratitude each day—for the people in your life, the opportunities you’ve been given, the past lessons learned, and the beauty that surrounds you—will anchor you to the present moment where you will awaken more to just how rich your life is—right now, today.
One practice many people do is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, journal about something you are grateful for—and why. Some people like to make a list each day of people, places, things, or experiences they had that day that brought them a sense of joy. In addition to bringing your attention to focus on the positive each day, you can also go back on those days when things aren’t going so well and re-read previous entries to remind you that even on the darkest of days, there is still beauty in your life and in the world.
Everywhere you look, there are endless options for exploring spirituality—from luxurious yoga and meditation retreats in exotic destinations, to group-led vision quests in remote locations and religious gatherings all around the world. Regardless of your culture, theology, beliefs, or interests, there is certainly something for everyone who is wanting to embark on the path of becoming more spiritually focused. These five tips are a great start to your journey of how to be more spiritually aware.
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