Whatever your belief system, one of the pillars of health is having a rich connection to spirit in your life. This isnt about believing in a God or following some kind of doctrine or moral code. Spirituality is about paying attention to what sources you and remembering that all life is interconnected. It is about the way that you perceive life and how you nurture your connection to that which gives you joy. Here are five simple ways to deepen the connection to spirit within yourself.
1. Breathe Deeply
Yes, sometimes it is as simple as taking a deep breath. Breathing deeply, with the entire abdomen and not just the chest, opens us to our feelings. It moves energy and nourishes our organs. It also connects us with the rhythms of our bodies, and by extension, the rhythms of life. Breath is the most easily accessible doorway to our spirituality.
The breath plays in integral role in the healing traditions of many indigenous and ancient cultures. Breath awareness is a key component of Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, and other Eastern mind-body-spirit practices. The Maya of Central America and Qero of South America use breath as their primary tool for magic and prayer. The native Aboriginals work with amplified breath through their didgeridoos.
Try it right now. Exhale completely, clearing out your lungs. Be sure your belly is not constricted, loosen your belt if need be. Then draw a deep breath all the way into your lower abdomen. Do this seven or eight times, focusing all your attention on your breath. Now notice how you feel.
2. Express Gratitude
The simplest prayer you can say is thank you. Sometimes that is more effective than a complex and intricate recitation of all the things you wish were different in your life, which is sometimes what prayers become. Just say thank you for everything. When you wake in the morning, take a moment to feel your gratitude for being alive another day. When you see your significant other, children, friends, and co-workers, feel appreciation that they are in your life.
Express gratitude to all the people that help you, even the teller at your bank or the cashier at your grocery store. Give thanks before you eat your meals, and again when you go to bed. Every time we express heartfelt gratitude, we get a little closer to the peace that lives inside our hearts.
There is a reason most spiritual occasions end in feasting and often dancing. We tap into a different dimension of existence when we are truly in celebration. Now, I dont mean drunken debauchery, unless that is your greatest joy. But rather, choosing to acknowledge and celebrate all the passages of life.
You can celebrate anything, from the Full Moon to the beginning of Spring to the end of a relationship to remembering to pay your bills on time. The point is that you acknowledge some moment of life as special, put on your finery, engage in some simple ceremony, and celebrate.
4. Go Outside
Since the beginning of the industrial era, people have been retreating into nature to contemplate, balance their nervous systems, and heal their spirits. Connecting to the pace and energy of Nature helps us tap into our own inner harmony.
If you cannot sit by the side of a pond for months like Thoreau, you can connect with nature wherever you are. Go camping for a weekend, take a day trip to a nearby lake or stream, or even go for a walk in your local park. If your home has a yard, stand barefoot on the earth for a few minutes each day. Grow a garden or put out a birdfeeder to attract more experiences of nature into your life.
5. Let Go
It is so easy to get caught up in the swirling push of day-to-day life that we do not fully process and integrate our experiences. If we are constantly rushing from one thing to the next without time for reflection, we can get clogged up from the backload of thoughts and energy.
Taking a little time each day to pause and reflect on our lives can create more mental space and clarity. This is not re-hashing old dramas or falling into thought loops; rather it is the practice of mindful integration. We simply acknowledge the events, thoughts, and feelings of the day, and then let them go to create space for the next experiences.
The next level of this mindful integration is the practice of forgiveness. Choosing to forgive every person who has caused you physical or emotional harm, and especially yourself, frees up your energy in profound ways. It does not really matter what has happened, if you hold on to resentments and self-righteousness about anything you can make yourself sick. Forgiveness allows the energy to flow, and brings us closer to unconditional love one of the pathways to spirit.
These are five simple practices that can bring more spirituality into your life. But really, anything can be a spiritual act if you approach it that way. Preparing your meals, putting on your clothes, doing your work, spending time with your loved ones everything can be an opportunity to remember your connection to the spirit of life.