Keep Your Spirit In Check: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
Weaving our way through this journey we call life wouldn’t be something I call an easy task. I would say that it’s comparable to staying in shape, which takes a great deal of will power. However, with the guidance of the enlightened soul and identifying the boundaries of the ego, we are given these gifts by way of life lessons to keep ourselves aligned on a path of spiritual truths.
What is a spiritual truth? The truth is simple, but yet oh-so hard. It is pure love without attachment, without boundaries, and has been spoken since the beginning of time. This beautiful dance with life allows for our spirit to grow, pushing away the attachment of the “egoic mind,” operating out of the space of the “God Mind” or soul. It takes a great deal of courage and self-discipline to align with the truths of our soul. The following are five steps to get you in shape on the spiritual path.
Do I listen?
Have you mastered the art of listening? How much of your day do you truly listen to the world around you? Listening is one of our greatest senses, relaying a significant amount of information to feed our soul, but this tool is becoming endangered as we speak (pun intended).
When we listen closely, the world around us has many messages to deliver. However, in the age of information, we are so distracted and disconnected that we are losing our ability to truly listen. Access your ability to listen by asking yourself a few simple questions. What types of thoughts do you have while in a conversation with a loved one? Are you in a constant state of thought, readying your response instead of being present for the conversation? Do you feel uncomfortable if there is a silent pause in a conversation? Does silence make you feel uncomfortable?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your listening skills are not as sharp as they could be. A good platform to enhance your listening skills is by spending quiet time in nature, which will restore some primal intuition. Additionally, start by observing your conversations without judgment. Just listen and see where that takes you. Oftentimes awareness is just the remedy to get you back to spiritual health.
Do I chase spirituality?
Are you constantly chasing the idea of a guru or spiritual teacher? I have known many who have “chased” spirituality all over the world, but the truth is already inside of you waiting to be discovered. Spiritual teachers and lessons come in all types of packages, most often in the most unexpected ways. It may not always be the metaphorical cross-legged, white bearded sage, but everyday we are blessed with experiences to grow and learn.
It could be learning patience as you sit in an unexpected traffic jam while you miss an important meeting, or maybe it shows itself as a difficult financial situation that will teach you how to release fear as it comes to money. Regardless of how the lessons come into our lives, it is important to dispel the idea of searching and move toward looking inward to embrace your lessons in all shapes and sizes.
Do I gossip?
Have you ever found yourself being pulled down the rabbit hole of gossip? It is so easy to gossip about others, but it takes a positive, conscious mind to move away from this behavior. Gossip is a way to seek false power, an insecure source of measuring up our lives.
Unfortunately, it is often the foundation that will hold a group together and it is all kinds of wrong. The answer is simple; hold yourself to a higher standard by conducting conversation as if everyone is present. Remember the words of the wise, “Do what is right even when no one is looking.” If someone in the group goes down the rabbit hole then you can just extend a hand to bring them back. There is no doubt that you will lose some friendships, as many friendships are bonded by gossip, but it feels so good on the inside to embrace this standard.
Do I get defensive?
Do you regularly see the other person’s point of view with compassion? Often times when something doesn’t go our way, we immediately try to make the other person wrong. As it may be a natural reaction, being defensive will get you nowhere. Try to get a deeper understanding of where the other person is coming from will take you miles along the road of life lessons. We have a lot to gain from trying to understand walking in another’s shoes, but don’t get lost.
Do I take things personally?
Do you find yourself taking things personally? The concept of the mirror is a very difficult one to embrace. It is a form of measure to help progress us on our journey. However, when we take things personally, it is quite easy for our mirror to break.
Another way to work around this until you can honestly assess where you are on this path is to connect with the idea of “I.” The world around us is set up to help us grow and evolve our soul. Training wheels are not just for learning to ride a bike; we can always reach for training wheels in life, just till we are ready to move forward on our path.
Look at the world around you as a continuous lesson. If someone cuts you off instead of reacting simply say, “Why did I do that?” When you look at everything in the light of “I,” it makes it easier to embrace instead of constant and emotionally draining reaction. Many spiritualists believe that everything in life happens for a reason. For this reason alone, see the gift instead of being the victim. The road will be much more fulfilling.
It isn’t always easy to keep ourselves in spiritual check. It is important to have the right tools on this path to retraining the brain to support our soul. There are a number of small tools that have great impact, but starting small isn’t as overwhelming as trying to change it all in one sitting. Baby steps, compassion, and understanding are the keys to spiritual growth.
Why Having an Altar Supports Your Emotional Well-Being
Having an altar adds beauty to your home and can bring immense benefit to your emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. Your altar is an expression of your spirit, a place to go when you need healing or inspiration, and a sacred space to help you cultivate deep presence and daily ritual. There are no set rules for how your altar should look or feel. It can be very simple or more elaborate, as long as it feels beautiful and aligned for you personally.
Although how you build your altar is personal, there are some key things that can uplift and beautify the vibe as you set forth on a regular practice of soul-care for emotional well-being. Consider your altar as a symbol — how you show up and take care of it can become a compass for how you are showing up and caring for yourself. The more you tend to your altar, the more its healing and clarifying energy swells.
Covered in sweet smells, candle flames, and sacred enchantments, my altar feels like a little campfire. It’s a familiar warm space that lights up my spirit and allows me to settle into my body as I restore my mind.
It’s where I meditate, journal, and contemplate.
It’s where I go when I feel overwhelmed or emotional.
It’s my landing pad when I need guidance or want to gather my inner resources.
The more I connect to my altar space, the more comforting and magnetic it becomes. I’ve had some of my heaviest cries and deepest prayers at my altar. I’ve been met by some of my greatest ideas or moments of clarity here, and I’ve experienced incredible stillness where my nervous system was finally able to soften.
When I regularly infuse my altar with meditations, prayers, and rituals, it swells into a deeply calming yet energized space, which helps me feel more emotionally fit. But when I ignore my altar and let it collect dust for too long, this ‘charge’ dissipates.
Do you sense the metaphor here? For me, neglecting my altar is a pretty good sign that I’ve also been neglecting my self-care needs, whether it be meditating, journaling, or working with my oracle cards. This neglect eventually finds its way into the many layers of my emotional health, both how I feel on the inside and how it is expressed on the outside.
Why Have an Altar?
There is a ceaseless rise and fall to life that can be both beautiful and overwhelming depending on the day. With this pulsing fluctuation, it’s important to have something that consistently grounds us.
Our environment impacts our energy and perspective, which in turn drives our emotions. An altar can lift the vibration of our home, bringing an element of beauty, protection, and inspiration into our space. Having a well-loved sacred nook where we can recharge our spirit and dissipate mental static is key to centering ourselves, especially amongst the many evolutions, losses, triumphs, growing pains, and teachings that we are all bound to walk through during our lifetime.
Whatever your practice may look like, having a daily moment with your altar allows you to land back home in your body, where you can feel more emotional ease rather than mentally stuck.