How to Start Living a Spiritual Life in 10 Steps

May God bless you as you read this post.

Our society is very sick.  We focus on psychological, mental and physical sickness, which are all important, but what about spiritual sickness?  We have lost touch with God, our higher purpose, and each other. Being more spiritual will lead you to a life of balance, serenity, and health.  It is possible. In this post, I would like to offer 10 steps to start living a spiritual life. As a doctor in training, I care very much for the sick and the health of the people.  But not just for those who are sick in body and mind, but for those who are sick or lacking in spirit. Spiritual lack is the greatest lack of all. We all need God. My only wish is that we all could open our hearts to God, so that we can heal our spirit, and thus, our world.

10 Steps
1. Assess Your Needs
Do you seek an intimate relationship with God? Are you looking for community? Do you need support? Are you spiritually hungry?  Are you lacking love? Are you looking for clarity? Do you seek higher knowledge? Do you want guidance? Assessing your needs will direct you to all of your future steps because you have to know what you're looking for before you start looking, that way when you find it, you'll know that you need it.

2. Open Your Eyes, Heart and Mind
Being spiritual opens your life to amazing possibilities! You are able to see the world for what is.  You are able to see yourself- really see yourself and get to know who you are.  You see people for who they are and thus, you are able to connect with them better.  Your heart is open and makes you more loving and giving. You have this cloak of love, peace, protection, confidence, and light just enveloping your heart.  Your mind becomes more vast.  You receive divine knowledge, and finally grasp the truth.  Your spirit reaches new heights as it becomes one with your maker, God.  But, all of this takes openness. You must be open in order to begin.

3. Block Out Public Opinion
This is a difficult, but necessary step.  Society is always leading you to behave a certain way, buy certain things, and think in certain ways. You follow the masses because you want to be accepted by the masses, even if the masses lead you astray.  Even though the public has certain views on which religions, beliefs, and/or practices are suitable and which are not, it doesn't matter. You must block out everyone else's perceptions and focus on your own.  Why? Because you can't let other people's opinions dictate your actions, needless to say your beliefs.  That is very dangerous and unhealthy.  If you let other people dictate your actions and beliefs, you probably won't ever act or believe.  Don't indulge in ignorance and folly. Have the confidence to step out and embark on your journey.

4. Understand Religion vs. Spirituality
Just because you're spiritual, doesn't mean you're religious and just because you're religious doesn't mean you're spiritual (though it should). Spirituality is your unique relationship to God.  It is intimate, personal, expansive, free-flowing, and ever-changing.  Religion is a system of beliefs shared by a group of people.  Religion provides you with a necessary moral code.  It is tied to spirituality, but serves more as a way to provide you with guidelines, introduce you to specific traditions, and most importantly to make you a part of a community.  Religion can be fantastic! But you have to realize that the preachers, priests, pastors, elders, rabbis, etc. are all imperfect people preaching the perfect word of God. May God bless them for their attempts and their good intentions. Seek a personal relationship with God first, then move on to religion to guide you.

5. Do Your Research
With that said, research the doctrine of whatever spiritual/religious community you are interested in and listen to your intuition.  What does it stand for?  What are its beliefs?  What is expected of you?  When, how, and where did it originate? Go on the Internet, grab a book, talk to a friend, stop by a place of worship.  Really immerse yourself into your process.

6. Seek Truth, Not Pleasure
Time to get down to business. Though human beings are wonderful, they are greatly flawed.  Because of this, we are totally incapable of creating our own moral code.  We will lie, cheat, and kill....and find great excuses to do all three. We are more concerned with our version of truth and morality, than God's version.  All we want is validation for our actions and pleasure, pleasure, and more pleasure.  But, when you embark on a spiritual life, you are on a path to become more intimate with a perfect God, who seeks to show you the truth, and most of the time, truth hurts.  If you can open yourself up to the truth, it can transform you and actually, set you free.  

7. Be Willing to Change
Your old ways that were not helping you need to die, so you can give birth to new ways that will liberate you.  Change is the only thing constant in this world.  Accept it so that you can be one with it. Your intent has to be geared towards your liberation.  Isn't that why you started that path in the first place?  A wise man once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results".  Change.

8. Keep It Simple
This all can get overwhelming if you complicate things.  Keep everything simple. Stay close to your intuition.  Stay close to the roots of the spiritual doctrine.  Every single religion has its own guidelines, which are generally kept in a book.  They are all important, or else they wouldn't be written.  But keep it simple.  If you get loss in the doctrine, find yourself again through God.

9. Practice Patience
Be patient with yourself, with God, with your family and friends, with your community, and with your world.  As you delve deeper into your spirituality, you will face allot of obstacles.  You'll make mistakes, you'll question God, you'll be criticized by your family and friends, and you'll see your community and the world differently.  That's okay. Take a deep breath in and out.  Stop and evaluate, then continue. If you stand firm and stay true to yourself, you will defeat those obstacles with many victories

10. Be Brave
These days, embarking on a spiritual path takes bravery (unfortunately).  Sometimes you stand alone. Sometimes you go against popular opinion.  But, being brave will guide you through, for bravery is just another word for faith.  Faith in God, trust in your progress, and an unconditional love for all around you is all you need.

Time to begin.
Peace be with you.

*The Sunday Reflections series is an experimental interim series aimed at addressing issues of spirituality and self-fulfillment.  This series was inspired by a genuine urge I feel to enrich people's lives. I have decided to share short thoughts with you each month. Please share and  leave your feedback. Bright blessings to you!*