How to Grow Spiritually… Everyday! | Spiritual Development and Growth
Merging your Spiritual Development and Spiritual Growth with everyday life…
Someone gave me a really good idea for a blog post with regards to spiritual development and spiritual growth and its a very good topic to discuss early on for the website. You know who you are, so thank you for that! 😉
The topic is:
“How to merge your spiritual beliefs with your everyday life”
For the sake of this post, lets drop the term ‘spiritual beliefs’, because some of you reading this may not have thought of it in this way.
Instead let’s frame the question as:
“How to create some space within yourself as you deal with your everyday life”
When I say ‘Create some space’, I am referring to the ability to come to a place where, internally, you can begin to control how the outside world affects you.
We all have our jobs to do and we all know how stressful that can be sometimes, but the absolute WORST thing we can do is let that affect how we view and live our daily lives, especially once the day is over and we have some time to ourselves again.
This can be very tricky, and its not something that comes over night by any means, especially if you work or live in a fast paced environment, maybe on your feet for hours on end, or dealing with things that take ALL of your focus and strength.
Like anything in life, its a process we must cultivate and form new habits around…
But before we talk about how to deal with this, lets talk about why and how creating your own internal space is beneficial, shall we?
Why is it important to create your own ‘Internal Space’?
Lets talk about science for a second. I love a bit science! Well… I guess technically its biology, but its one of the sciences… anyway…
It has been known for a while now that when the body is in a stressed state, when we are in that mode of irritation, anger and frustration, the body goes into what is known as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response. I am sure many of you are well aware of this fact.
When the body is in this state, it releases a range of, what we call, ‘stress hormones’. Don’t worry, we are not going to get into a science lesson here, just a quick overview.
The Stress Hormones
These are ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Norepinephrine’ and ‘Cortisol’. Safe to say that these 3 natural chemicals in the body DO serve a really good purpose, well they serve multiple purposes in the body actually in maintaining it and helping you go about your everyday lives, but we are just focusing on the fact that they can gear the body up ready for a fight or ready to run away (Fight or Flight).
In the early days of humanity, this was reallllly important. Without them, our species may have not survived. We would not have had the alertness and quick reactions we needed to get away from a predator or to chase an animal down so we could eat – thankfully, in most developed countries, we have supermarkets now, so we can all go vegan, cough 🙂 … moving on.
Essentially, what they do is take a portion of the energy away from the internal organs that are not needed for that ‘in-the-moment’ survival and redirects those resources to the extremities for use (running, fighting etc). This includes energy being taken away from your immune system. So yes, constantly elevated stress levels DO reduce your health and your bodies ability to heal and repair itself.
Another important thing to remember is that constantly elevated stress levels (and therefor stress hormones) increase your level of anxiety and therefor stress. Why? Because you are in a constantly heightened (or more erratic) state of awareness, which Im sure if you ask anyone who has anxiety, they will tell you, they find it very hard to relax, right?
The may also tell you they find it hard to concentrate and focus, sometimes find it hard to sleep, shortness of breath etc etc.
Now, not everyone is going to feel it to the same degree, but when these levels are constantly high in your system, this will be ocurring in you on some level.
So, back to the main point here:
By not focusing on creating an ‘internal space’ or calm (or pattern of thinking that can reduce these levels within your system), it is going to make it much harder for you to get work done and be as effective as you can in your life, or deal with life situations that come at you.
This is what I was getting at…
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN INTERNAL SPACE
So, how do we create this ‘space’ to turn down the ‘Sympathetic Nervous System’ (which is what controls the fight or flight response) and turn up the ‘Autonomic Nervous System’ (the unconscious part of the nervous system that… brings it back down to a peaceful state, lets say)
I just want to mention here quickly that this ‘internal space’ I keep mentioning, is the place that everyone refers to as a spiritual space too. So cultivating this space is actually enhancing your spiritual development and spiritual growth, whether you class yourself as spiritual or not.
So, I am going to give you just ONE single tip. One action you should do everyday!
Why just one? Because when you first start out trying to regain control of yourself, it feels like an uphill battle, it really does sometimes. I don’t want you to get discouraged by giving you a list of things that you have to sit down and do for 30 minutes every day.
If you are ready for that, by all means do it! That will be absolutely perfect. If you can sit in meditation for 30 minutes a day and absorb yourself into that inner space, that is golden, your on your way there and probably didn’t need to read this post lol.
But for the rest of us, and I know I was in this group, it is daunting when you first start.
So here is your one tip:
ABDOMINAL BREATHING WITH VISUALISATION
Firstly, before you start, and then every time you come to do this, I want you to think of something that cannot be purchased but that every time you think of it, it really does make you happy. If nothing comes to mind straight away, just take some time, minutes, hours, days, as long as it take to find something that does. I can be you, if you seek it, you will find something.
Now, the thing I want you to do is called ‘Abdominal or Diaphragmatic Breathing’ (see how to do it properly in the video attached below) and funnily enough its how babies breathe naturally, over time, we have just formed the habit of shallow breathing.
Through out your day, I want you to stop and find time (even if you have to hide in the toilets to do it!), close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths, while you do this I want you to visualise the thing we just spoke about as you do it.
But I don’t want you to just have a faint image of it, I want you to realllly be there. What does it sound like? what does it smell like? can you see it? Essentially, we are trying to trigger alllll of the senses to be FULLY ENGAGED in whatever it is you have chosen.
That is it. That is your one task to do a few times thorough out your day. If you do need to go to the toilets at work or something to do it, then its fine, let your colleagues think you have the runs 😉
This will active the autonomic nervous system and you WILL notice a difference.
Remember this has to become a habit, so get into the routine of doing it a few times a day, it will become second nature, trust me.
Important: As you finish each practice, have the idea in your head that your work, or whatever it is you are dealing with in your day to day life, DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. Just because you have to do this, it does not determine the kind of person you are. This too will become second nature and will deepen in you.
(Note: Once you have learned the technique and are used to it, you do not have to do it lying down and can integrate the visualisation we talked about)
INTEGRATE YOUR BELIEFS
The amazing thing about this is that no matter what you believe, you can integrate this into your practice. What ever spiritual belief you have, or whatever other kind of beliefs you have, that can be your visualisation.
keeping SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT simple
This is a very simple and effective practice, one I personally still do everyday for my own spiritual development and growth. It can get to a point where all you need to do is one breath and you can do it with your eyes open and all of that feeling and inner space just comes rushing in and you feel ABSOLUTELY AMAZING from JUST ONE BREATH. This will happen to you as well, it really will, because this is what happens to me and I started exactly the same!
You’ll get to a point where people around you wont even know what you are doing and you just feel great all the time.
Admitadely, outside situations can still irritate me a little sometimes, but I get past them sooo much quicker now. I let go of things sooo much quicker than I used to and return to that state every time. This is personal growth and one you can track yourself in these types of situations.
We shall get into deeper conversations about spiritual growth and deeper practices you can do over time, but in the meantime I would really love to hear from you in the comments below.
What do you think of this article and the practice? Helpful? Something you already do? Maybe you could share your current personal practice with us as well? (Also, if you comment, I know you would have read the article to the end 😉 which I REALLY appreciate… It was a long one!)
So thats if for this one. Go and try it and let me know how you get on? As you will see in all posts, I will always try and tie them back into how what I am talking about does indeed related to spiritual development and spiritual growth. Let me know what you think of this.
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Thanks for reading guys!
SP-Dev <3 <3 <3