Some people don’t even think about achieving more in life and going beyond average, while others are interested in personal development and have tried stuff. Some of the second group are even fanatical about progress. But there’s a small percent that takes something else into consideration too – spiritual development.
It’s the keystone of happiness and success, I’d say.
And it should be worked on as much as you try to develop any other skill or quality in life.
It’s quite underestimated, but those who dedicate time to it are unbeatable today, nothing life throws at them can bring them down simply because they’ve mastered the art of accepting things, learning to adapt, dealing with difficulties, helping themselves and not needing anyone else.
Here are some spiritual development techniques I’ve been pondering on lately that might just be what you need in your life right now.
5 Uncommon Ways to Practice Spiritual Development
1. Deal with loss before you experience it.
Understand that everyone you love that’s always been next to you may not be here tomorrow.
People may leave, die, or just stop caring about you. Accept it, and even imagine your life without them and be okay with it.
That’s the circle of life, and one of the paths to true wisdom is learning to adapt to such change (as it’s often the hardest to live with). Be ready for it today. No matter who or what you lose, life will go on, and so will you.
You don’t need to have a void inside for the rest of your life after you lose a loved one. That’s not how the person would want you to react. Instead, praise the life you had together, keep the beautiful memories if you want.
But most importantly, appreciate them today. Enjoy the time you have left together by being present, listening to them, noticing the little things.
This way you won’t need to cry when they’re gone someday simply because you will have made the most of each moment you had the chance to spend with them.
2. Be a traveler.
Sit down today and invest some time in contemplating. Try to see life for the journey it is, the never-ending process we all go through for a short time, which cannot be truly experienced if you don’t travel.
Location doesn’t matter. But if you’ve settled down in one place, you’ve simply chosen your comfort zone and don’t want any big changes. However, change is happening already, all the time, everywhere around you and inside you, whether you like it or not.
That’s why in life you need to be a traveler, and to learn how to travel light. Seeing it for the process it is, is what will make you admire it, and make the best of it.
That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in location independent lifestyle – working, living and traveling anywhere. Digital nomads have found a way to make it in this world without being in the prison of places, jobs and fixed hours. And the spiritual development this brings is just a bonus.
And I’m not saying you should become one. But I do encourage anyone to explore the world a bit more, to challenge themselves by spending time in a completely different environment.
When you come back, however, don’t stop traveling spiritually. Keep growing on the inside, accepting the process and going with the flow.
3. Read between the lines.
Take a book today and read part of it. Then try to go beyond the written word and into the author’s mind.
What made him write that? Can you sense an inner struggle he was trying to hide from the reader?
Open your eyes for the invisible, feel the ‘why’ of everything around you and be interested in what happens in other people’s heads. That’s another unusual approach to spiritual growth.
4. Practice self-reliance.
One of the most useful things we can learn in life, and in order to master spiritual development, is to be emotionally independent.
Taking responsibility for your own actions, no matter what happens, is a success habit. But not many people realize how important it is when it comes to evolving spiritually and mentally.
Become stronger today by simply accepting the fact that everything you are and aren’t, have and don’t have in your life right now is a result of your actions (taken or not taken), of your attitude, thoughts and words.
But that’s not bad. It’s actually an opportunity. It means you can take full control and turn everything around.
You can start taking smarter decisions today, plan your future, invest more in relationships, be more confident to speak up and get out there, and so on.
So go do it. Stop blaming others, admit your faults, and go make something great out of your life.
Here are some tips on how to become emotionally self-reliant Leo from Zen Habits gives:
- “Learn to fix your own problems. If you are bored, fix it. If you are lonely or hurt, comfort yourself. If you are jealous, don’t hope that someone will reassure you … reassure yourself.
- Take responsibility. If you find yourself blaming others, tell yourself that the other person is never the problem. Of course, you can believe the other person is the problem, but then you are reliant on them for the solution. If you believe that they aren’t the problem, then you look inside yourself for the solution.
- If you find yourself complaining, instead find a way to be grateful.
- If you find yourself being needy, instead find a way to give.
- If you find yourself wanting someone to help you, help yourself.”
5. Understand that you can’t have it all, and you don’t need to.
Mark Manson explains it best:
“But what if the answer isn’t to do more?
What if the answer is to want less?
What if the solution is simply accepting our bounded potential, our unfortunate tendency as humans to inhabit only one place in space and time. What if we recognize our life’s inevitable limitations and then prioritize what we care about based on those limitations?
What if it’s as simple as stating, “This is what I choose to value more than everything else,” and then living with it?
When we attempt to do everything, to fill up life’s checklist, to “have it all,” we’re essentially attempting to live a valueless life, a life where everything is equally gained and nothing lost. When everything is necessary and desired equally, then nothing is necessary or desired at all.”
If you find that idea interesting, please head over to his blog and read the whole article.
And in The Four Stages of Life he adds more to that:
“At some point we all must admit the inevitable: life is short, not all of our dreams can come true, so we should carefully pick and choose what we have the best shot at and commit to it.
But people stuck in Stage Two spend most of their time convincing themselves of the opposite. That they are limitless. That they can overcome all. That their life is that of non-stop growth and ascendance in the world, while everyone else can clearly see that they are merely running in place.”
Your turn now. Do you consider spiritual development important? How far have you come in yours?