In order to see real positive change and progress in our lives, we have to find ways of infusing spirituality into our every day existence. When we can build spirituality into our current schedules and routines, it becomes easier to maintain. The following 4 daily spiritual essentials have been a tremendous part of my own personal growth. They continue to keep me enriched, inspired, and happy.
1. Sacred Space At Home.
While growing up, my family always made sure that each time we moved into a new home, we kept a space aside for an altar. Sometimes this was an entire room, part of a room, or even just a countertop. I didn’t come to appreciate the significance of having a dedicated place in the home for daily meditation, rituals, and celebration of festivals, until just a couple of years ago when I became a homeowner. In creating my own sacred space, I thought of what was most meaningful to me and what helps me to stay centered. A sacred space serves as a daily reminder to work towards becoming a better person and encourages continual engagement in self-growth. Each time you walk by your space, it should uplift you, help you feel calmer, and motivate you to sit in self-reflection. In this way, re-connecting with our spirit becomes a part of our daily lives, not only something we do once a week/month/year.
2. Uplifting Books.
Books have the potential to change lives. When I started incorporating the reading of spiritual books into my sadhana (daily spiritual practice), I couldn’t believe that I had let so much time go in not allowing myself this gift. These books were lined up in rows on my bookshelves for years, just collecting dust. Once I chose to pick them up and start reading them, my mind almost exploded with the insights and wisdom these books hold. Is this what had been sitting there all along? Whether it’s religious scriptures, a self-help book, or a set of poems, these books should motivate you to think higher, help you to find deeper meaning, and guide you in gradually becoming the best version of yourself. Choose a chapter, paragraph, or a few lines to read every day. Then, give yourself time to think about what you just read and see if and/or how it applies to you. Slowly work on integrating these nuggets of knowledge into your life.
We live in a society that assumes if you are alone, then you are lonely. Here, solitude does not mean loneliness. In fact, a marker of spiritual progress is the ability to remain happy and peaceful while being with oneself. This is a sign that your happiness does not come from any person, circumstance, or event, rather it comes from deep inside of your own being. If you can find inner peace and cultivate happiness from within, then you are not dependent on outside elements to fulfill you. How liberating is that?!! I have come to find that my most blissful times are when I am by myself. Create a few minutes each day to be alone. This includes unplugging from electronics that will distract your attention (read: phone, television, computer, etc.), sorry! Give yourself time to think by doing nothing, writing in a journal, pursuing a creative hobby, taking a walk, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee, or reading (see #2 above). Engage in a solo activity that helps you re-connect with yourself.
4. Surround Yourself With Inspiration.
Make the spaces you occupy on a daily basis inspirational. Inner tranquility begins with our surroundings. Turn your home, car, and workplace, into calming mini-retreats. Tape quotes to your bathroom mirror, listen to soothing music in the car, place a fresh bouquet of flowers on your desk at work every week, or light a candle after you come home from a long day. Reflect on what aspects of your day you have influence over and work towards managing them with care and sensitivity. This also means eliminating external stimuli that causes anxiety, anger, or stress. Does a particular friend’s social media posts always put you in a bad mood? Does a weekly television show you watch incite fear? The local news can do that to you! Start recognizing these triggers and how they make you feel. Keep a list or make mental notes, then modify your actions accordingly. If you practice yoga or are curious about Yogic philosophy, one of the primary tenets says that in life we should work towards understanding and eliminating that which does not help us progress, and replace it with ways of realizing higher truths and consciousness.