Spiritual Enlightenment

Spiritual Enlightenment

The journey toward spiritual enlightenment is a beautiful one. Though certainly not easy, it is richly rewarding. These are the four steps I recommend as you begin your journey.

 

 

  1. Being Present

We cannot change the direction of our path if we don’t first recognize where we are. Standing in the line at the grocery store, I can be any number of places besides here. My mind can travel in time to the past, reliving regrets, or to the future, imagining what-if scenarios. I can be distracted, checking my phone, messages or social media and without even realizing it, I’m in a million other places, except here.

Take a long, deep breath, and exhale as you look down at your feet. Notice your yourself, your shoes, your surroundings. What does the floor look like? Begin to explore your world from where your feet are. Slowly increase your circle from a few inches around your feet, to a few feet. What do you observe? Color, texture, temperature, smell, and sound.

Gradually increase your awareness to your body. How are you standing or sitting? Tall or slouched? What are you touching? Notice the connection between your feet and the ground, or your back and the seat. Are you breathing fast? Take another deep breath and let it out slowly. Are you aware of your heart beating inside your chest? Is it strong or weak? What else do you notice, within you, or immediately around you?

Really notice where you are, using all your senses. Awaken yourself to the present, because this is the only moment where you have the power to change; change yourself, your direction and your life. Being present is the first step in the beautifully rewarding journey of spiritual enlightenment.

 

  1. Self-Awareness

Once we’ve learned to become present, by connecting with our physical self and our surroundings, we can take the first steps toward our inward journey. Self-awareness, or recognizing your own thoughts, is probably the most challenging step, yet one that will continue to bless you throughout your life. This is a process of witnessing what we’re thinking.

Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay. The quieter the better, so you can hear yourself think. Relax. Really relax your muscles in a comfortable position where you won’t have to move them, and gently close your eyes. Take a deep, cleansing breath and notice your breath leaving as you exhale. Feel the warm air escape through your nose or notice the gentle movement of your ribcage or lower abdomen. Repeat with a second deep breath and then breathe normally, while staying aware of your breathing. Taking the occasional deep breath can help refocus your thoughts to the gentle motion of the air.

As you do this, notice your thoughts. At some point you’ll realize you’re thinking about something else, perhaps stressing about the future or worrying about the past. The goal is to be aware of these thoughts. Instead of them just occurring, be aware that it’s happening, that you’re thinking about something else. And gently bring your focus back to your breath.

As your mind wanders again, make a mental note that it’s happening and the topic that you’re thinking about. You can say to yourself, “I’m thinking about…” “my job”, “my spouse”, “finances”, or whatever short name you can give this topic of thought. Then bring your focus back to your breath. Also, note any feelings that arise and note them. Instead of simply feeling the emotion, find a word that best describes it.  “I’m feeling…” “angry”, “sad”, “frustrated”. You can also combine your topic and emotion, “I’m feeling frustrated about my job”. As thoughts occur, don’t get upset or judge yourself, simply step back from the thoughts, evaluate them for what they are, synapses in your brain. If you’re feeling upset or angry, you might notice your muscles naturally tighten, your heart beats faster. Simply acknowledge the truth from a distance. Imagine that you’re watching yourself think. Remind yourself you’re not in that situation at this moment, you’re sitting here quietly, safely. Take another breath, remind yourself, “I’m feeling… about…” and refocus.

As you practice this mindfulness, you’ll notice patterns. You’ll recognize certain topics and emotions that continuously reoccur. This is a beautiful gift of clarity. Acknowledging what you’re thinking about, and learning how much time you’re spending in that place, is the first step to being about to do something about it. Like quantum physics, simply observing that this is occurring can actually change the occurrence itself. Continue in this self-awareness practice and you’ll discover yourself watching your thoughts throughout your day as well. There is far more power her than one initially realizes. Our thoughts are our future actions. Awareness of our thoughts allows greater control of our actions and adds clarity to the direction we choose to walk.

 

  1. Knowing God

This is certainly the most important step toward spiritual enlightenment because God is the source of all wisdom. Without God, we obtain only worldly knowledge and maintain a very narrow perspective. Thankfully, there is so much more for us. A vastness, greater than most can even imagine. This is the place where knowledge relents to wisdom, where wisdom and light become tangible, and where we begin the journey that will open both our mind and heart. This is where we discover the beauty of God’s planning, intention, and order to all things, far beyond the smallness of our physical world. God is so much bigger than we first realize.

Sadly, many of us live in the juxtaposition between self-absorption and being so far removed from our thoughts and ourselves that we don’t realize who we are, what we’re thinking or how that dictates our direction.

What must I do to be saved? Humbly recognize that you’re a sinner, that no amount of work will ever remove your sins to make you holy by your own merit, sincerely accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior, that He died, sacrificing himself for your sins, and you will have eternal life in Heaven.

 

  1. Growth

Like any relationship, we begin slowly; spending time with them and getting to know who they are, helps us understand their daily decisions. This is true for our relationship with God as well. The more time we spend reading the Bible, getting to know who God truly is, the more we understanding God’s holiness, His goals and His unconditional love for us.

God is so much larger than we often believe, we can spend every day talking with Him, reading His Bible, and walking with Him and always learn something new around every corner.

 

Spiritual Enlightenment

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