The human experience has four facets: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Each aspect of your identity offers gifts, opportunities, and challenges, though some get more attention than others.
Your physical presence can scarcely be ignored. Not only does it make its needs known in very blatant ways, but society focuses heavily on its appearance and condition. Your mind and emotions also play major roles in consciousness even if you fail to pay them the attention and support they deserve.
Your spiritual nature, however, is more subtle. Its needs are real and crucial for your well being, but they can easily go unnoticed or attributed to the other three divisions of self. There’s a good chance you’ve been neglecting your spiritual nature, to the detriment of your peace and prosperity.
Spirituality means different things to different people. Most people who pursue spirituality have a hold on some truth while ignoring others or adding a smattering of errors or limitations to their beliefs and practices.
Here are some of the main insights and applications to help you explore and make the most of your inherently spiritual nature:
1. The Principle of Peace
If your spiritual practice doesn’t deliver a sense of peace, then there’s something you’re missing. The Divine, no matter what you call it – a Heavenly Father and Jesus, Nature, the Universe, or otherwise, has such power and wisdom that from its perspective, everything is okay, or at least it will turn out okay.
Compare your trials to a child who sees life as most certainly not okay when it has to go to bed or when you don’t buy it candy. As an adult, you know it’s not the end of the world. The Divine doesn’t enjoy seeing you suffering, but from its perspective, your struggles are no more serious than the short-sighted child’s. When you make a connection with it, you often get to experience a portion of its peaceful perspective.
Homework: seek a connection with the divine, and when you attain it, reconsider your sense of self and perspectives on the world around you in light of that peace. What does it teach you about ultimate reality? How does it change your perspective and encourage you to trust that everything is ultimately okay despite temporary challenges?
2. The Principle of Truth
When you perceive the Divine or detect the divinity within yourself, you establish a direct connection to universal Truth. It requires a lot of practice to accurately decipher certain truths, but even a little guidance or reassurance feels incredibly helpful and comforting. Realize that various degrees of light exist and don’t let yourself get misled by dimmer lights or counterfeits that seem “white” in place of pure, brilliant, clear, illuminating “light.”
As you experience connection with the divine, apply this light of truth to teach you about various topics. For example, think about your sense of self and see what you learn about your true identity and ultimate potential. Most religious traditions teach that the purpose of life is to progress toward divinity. For example, Jesus admonished in the Sermon on the Mount, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He also quoted Moses in saying to the people, “Ye are gods.” All personal limitations that you perceive are only illusions. Open your mind and heart and let these facts seep in until you see yourself clearly and you find yourself liberated from your artificial bonds.
Even a tiny glimpse of this truth first-hand serves more than all the words of a five-hour sermon on the topic because then you experience it for yourself and comprehend it on deep, influential levels of your soul.
3. The Principle of Power
Another touchstone of the Divine is power. You may never get to watch it move mountains, but you can give it credit for putting the entire universe in motion or at least (or at best?) detect that power move within you, strengthening your faith and confidence, healing fears and emotional wounds, and pouring joy and peace into your soul. Don’t worry that the effect doesn’t always last, because you have lessons to learn that you must sometimes do on your own.
4. The Principle of Obedience
Because God provides instructions for how to behave justly and lovingly, disciples often begin with their focus on obedience and other outward shows of devotion. Following divine counsel is wise, of course, but to the degree that you focus only on the outward and not on the conversion of your heart and mind, you become a hypocrite, like the Pharisees of the New Testament, and such devotion adds little value to your spiritual life and progress. This is not consistent with the sense of the divine, though it can be remedied by establishing a personal connection to the divine and striving to develop inner, less-visible traits like humility, patience and love.
By seeking to understand the divine purpose of each commandment or counsel, you can apply it beautifully and extract its maximum value for yourself and others around you.
5. The Principle of Sacrifice
When you begin to sense your spiritual nature, you discover a deeper, better sense of self than you can otherwise know, and the peace and power it reveals motivates you to know it even more clearly. Thus when obstacles appear that challenge your limitations and require you to endure and sacrifice, you carry on despite any suffering. This is the quickest – or only – way to progress, learn, and become your truest self.
The Divine cares more about such progress – which increases your long term happiness and security – than temporary discomfort, so it allows you to suffer for your own benefit and even provides opportunities to suffer by sacrificing to serve others, much like loving parents require children to go to school and do their chores. Be wise and continue to sacrifice your discomfort and impatience until new strengths become part of your permanent nature.
6. The Principle of Love
Love is a natural result of wisdom. It’s a natural result of knowing that you have enough and are enough. It’s a natural result of seeing through earth’s illusions of scarcity and competition and knowing that we’re all in the same boat, we’re all on the same team, and when one of us wins, we all benefit. This explains why love is an inherent trait of the Divine and why true disciples eventually acquire it. Other divinely inspired traits that lead to love include humility, empathy, faith, hope, and confidence.
Seek to let love shape your spiritual beliefs and all perceptions about yourself and reality – because all facets of your self and reality contain aspects of the spiritual. The spiritual contains and unifies all things, which is another key trait of love.