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Spirituality is an important part in my life, and hopefully in yours too. Taking positive action in this area helps keep you centered and focused. Take note that religion is a lot different from spirituality. The former being more dogmatic and the latter concentrating more on your own personal relationship with whatever Higher Power is most relevant to you. Naturally, you may call your Higher Power whatever you want to, like Mother Nature, God, the Universe or perhaps Bob! More relevant than the name or label you attach is the degree of connection and your willingness to allow it into in your life. What follows are some basic tips to help you improve your spirituality as well as help you develop a more solid connection with your own concept of spiritual connection. Work on spiritual aspects of your life gradually and consistently. Doing so keeps you from being overwhelmed. - Engage in the practice of meditation In a consistent fashion, try to establish a time and place where you could spend a quiet moment in the morning or during the evening. Ten to fifteen minutes is all it takes. This is also a good time to assess how your life is going or to simply focus and quiet the mind. Your mind needs some personal space too. The key to effective meditation is controlling your breathing. Breathe deeply and rhythmically and when thoughts intrude, simply focus on your breathing again. Praying is a form of meditation. Having a short meditation phrase helps you focus on your breathing instead of any random thoughts that may come and go in your mind. My personal favourite is "Om Mani Padme Hum", which is a Buddhist mantra that is not readily translated into English. (For more information on this mantra, please see http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/meaning-of-om-mani-padme-hung.htm) -Don't isolate, be with people. You could try joining a dance class or joining a hobby club. For some folks, having positive relationships and interaction with different people can alleviate that feeling of loneliness. Personally, I play ping pong with a group of friends every week. -Keep your mind active, keep learning It is never too late to go on learning. The mind needs nourishment, so make sure you continually feed it. You could do so by taking some courses at your nearest community college. You can start engaging in a book study group or just by reading books and watching DVD's related to psychology, spirituality or self-help. -Have fun I like this part. Believe it or not, being spiritual does not only mean being serious all the time. Ironically, being spiritual allows you the freedom to not take yourself too seriously. Why not engage in some hobby or activity for the simple fun of it? You could begin by exploring sports, hobbies or whatever it is that intrigues you. -Be of service to others For some people, doing some volunteer activities or doing some acts of random kindness works best to help them become more spiritual. Giving for the sake of giving and not for some ulterior motive makes people feel good inside. This is how we make the world a better place and increase our capacity for compassion. -Practice non-judgment This is hard because everyone makes judgements all the time. When you judge someone you are really comparing them to your own standards. If they do not meet your standards you can look down on them and feel superior. If they exceed your ideas you could be jealous. This is a lose-lose situation. Again, awakening your compassion allows you to view others with empathy rather than judgement. -Show gratitude There is actually a lot to be thankful for, and acknowledging the bounty in your life allows more to enter. I also regularly express gratitude to my body for supporting me. Again, try to practice each day appreciating an aspect in your life for which you are grateful. Thank the universe for another day to spend and another day to make yourself, your life, or the lives of others better. In conclusion, making room for spirituality in your life will greatly enhance your feeling of well-being and connectedness. And don't forget to breathe, breathe, and breathe again!
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