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Have your spiritual beliefs and practices become stale? Do you sense that there is something more that you could be doing to bridge the gap between metaphysical theory and spiritual experience? If so, you are likely experiencing a spiritual rut. The good news is that a spiritual rut is a pathway to transformation. It is a rebirth of sorts, with the death of old conceptual frameworks and the rebirth of your true self.
The following steps will guide you through the process of revitalizing your spiritual practices and reconnecting to the sacred.
Spiritual tools, such as affirmations, visualization, prayer, chanting, fasting, meditation, ecstatic dancing, connection to nature, and mindfulness are simply portals through which the divine can be accessed. A common misconception surrounding spiritual rituals is that once a practice is adopted it should be part of your routine indefinitely. Yet, as you grow and develop, your practices can change in tandem. One reason that many people feel stuck is that they have outgrown the portals of connection from decades past.
The key to understanding which spiritual tools are most appropriate for your current stage of development can be found in your energy. Every activity either creates or depletes energy. To differentiate between the spiritual practices that are serving you and those that are not, take note of your how you feel throughout your practice. Notice which activities leave you feeling connected, peaceful, and energized and which ones sap your vitality. If you discover that certain practices are consistently taking more energy than they are giving, be willing to explore something new. You do not have to change your religious affiliation or alter your core beliefs, though that is certainly an option if you are pulled in such a direction. Rather, open yourself to the possibility of connecting to the divine in a new way.
Many people compartmentalize spirituality, allocating it to the places and practices that fit into a theoretical box defined as spiritual. Yet, everything within and around us is connected to Source and in that sense is holy. Take, for example, an apple. Unseen forces of life energy coalesce into soil nutrients, sunshine, and rain to nourish a seed, that grows into an apple-producing tree, which is able to give life to your body. Can you sense your interconnectedness with the divine through something as simple as an apple?
Opportunities to see the sacred are abundant: the intelligence of nature which guides the evolution of everything from invisible microbes to vast planetary spheres; the wisdom of your body which seamlessly circulates, assimilates, eliminates, and creates; the carefree spirit of a child who bubbles with joy; the unconditional love of a pet who selflessly gives warmth and affection. Paying attention to the expressions of Spirit within and around you serves as a reminder that the Divine is not hidden in some antiseptic corner of the universe but circulating in your life. Your job is to notice and acknowledge the holiness that is already present in your life.
As you become aware of the multitudinous ways that Spirit is already showing up in your life, you will feel gratitude rising to the forefront of your awareness. Allowing gratitude to become a primary focal point in your life widens the channel between yourself and Spirit. The reason that all major world religions instruct followers to practice gratitude is that it takes one’s focus off of the little self (ego) and places it on the higher self (Spirit). It is no surprise that when we get our minds off of ourselves, even momentarily, positive outcomes ensue. Numerous studies over the years have found that consciously increasing gratitude leads to greater levels of happiness, creativity, engagement, meaning, resilience, and productivity.
To integrate gratitude into your day, look for micro-gratitude possibilities. Give thanks for a steaming mug of tea, the smile of a friend, warm sunshine on your face, or the beauty of a flower. The key is to see how many small things you can feel a moment of gratitude for each day. Before you know it, your hours will be filled with thankfulness and you will experience the way in which a grateful heart connects you to Source. Then, of course, you will feel even more gratitude.
The natural outpouring of a grateful heart, and perhaps the highest expression of spirituality, is kindness. Oftentimes, we long for large-scale acts of service into which to pour our energy. We want to build houses for the homeless and travel the world to feed starving children. While these are laudable goals, more often than not, it is the small acts of kindness that are actually available to us. The late American author and educator, Leo Buscaglia, said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
As you infuse your day with small gestures of warmth, not only do you connect to Spirit, but you become the channel through which it moves. There is no kindness too small, no thoughtful gesture unneeded, no goodwill unnecessary. What people really need is love and as you become the pathway through which that love manifests, you cannot help but be blessed yourself.
A spiritual rut is your soul’s call to make life an embodiment of holiness, gratitude, and love. As you get out of your head and into your heart, you will realize that spirituality is not as complicated as it may have once seemed. It simply consists of opening yourself to the divinity all around you and sharing it with others.
Discover how to cultivate awareness and develop a quiet, alert mind to support your spiritual growth in a special conversation with Deepak Chopra, available now in the Chopra App.