What does God have to do with this?
I didn’t get it either. The truth there are times when I still don’t.
It is one of those things that I find difficult to explain to people. It has been through my own experience that I have learned that my spiritual health is a huge factor in my sobriety.
Most people who shy away from 12 step programs do it for this reason. Some people do not like to talk about God or spirituality. I am one of those people. Till this day when people talk about “God’s plan” I cringe a little.
However, there is no denying that being connected to a higher power has been the biggest contributor to my long term sobriety. I think a lot of people drink out of confusion. I could never find answers to what my purpose was or why I was here. I felt very restless and empty searching for answers. It’s normal, part of the human condition I guess.
I am no spiritual guru. All I can do is tell you my experience and hopefully you can pull some insight from what I have learned along the way. I have found this insight to be very beneficial and takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.
If you can relate, then read on. If not I am interested to hear why.
RELATED: Finding A Higher Power.
1 – Meditate
Meditation is good for you. Plain and simple.
The benefits of meditation have been proven by science. Transcendental meditation has been studied at length and it almost always proves to have positive mental and spiritual benefits. Meditation will reduce your anxiety and increase your cognitive clarity.
For those who are reserved about the idea of meditation, fear not. Meditation is not a religious practice nor does not require any change in lifestyle. It is simply a method for your mind and your body to get in touch with each other.
There seems to be some misunderstanding about mediation. Here is how I have come to understand it.
The purpose of meditation is to practice becoming present and in the moment. When you meditate and get in that “zone” you are completely present. You are not thinking of the future or the past and therefore, you have no reason to be full of fear.
Mediation will get you connected. I’ve had a few meditation experiences where I fell into a “lucid dreaming” state. You know you are awake but you feel hypnotized and when you come out of it, you feel a sense of ease and comfort that is difficult to replicate in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You feel relaxed and everything is clear and in perspective.
Out of the three tips in this list, mediation has been the most beneficial to me.
2 – Prayer
I don’t want to upset anyone here.
If we don’t see eye to eye on this issue, that is fine. I am just telling you what works for me.
When I pray at night, I don’t feel like anyone is listening. I don’t feel like there is an “entity” that is controlling me or listening to me. However, after sticking with prayer (even when I felt uncomfortable doing so) I learned how powerful it is.
For me, prayer is releasing energy. It is a daily checklist I make with myself and with the spirit of the Universe that reminds me of what is important in life.
I can’t tell you why it works. I just know that it works.
I got a better understanding of prayer from reading a book called “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. He broke it down like this.
When we pray we are speaking to “infinite intelligence.” It is tapping into an energy or lifeforce that our nimble minds are incapable of understanding. So in reality, we are not supposed to understand exactly how prayer works, and that is okay. The point is that we are connecting to a higher power that can give us strength and guidance.
Here’s all you need to know. If you don’t believe what I am saying, then try it for yourself. Give nightly prayer and honest attempt and see how you feel. you have nothing to lose.
3 – Service Work
Spirituality doesn’t have to be so serious.
When you are helping other people you are getting out of yourself. I find that the biggest block between me and growing spiritually is me! I get in my own way. When I am of service, I am not thinking about myself and therefore, I am open to letting in other positive energy.
It always puts it in perspective.
I spend so much time thinking about my own life. My own problems, my own relationships, my own thoughts. Sometimes I get trapped in my little “Tim bubble” and I forget how much is going on around me. When I talk to other people and listen to them, I mean REALLY LISTEN, I always come out of the conversation realizing how much I have in common with the people around me.
It makes me feel connected to them. It makes me feel connected to humanity in a way that I lose when I am trapped in self.
It is that connectivity that cuts through language and cultural barriers. It is that connection that we are all searching for and that is truly what being spiritual is all about.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like I said, this is just what works for me. There are other examples as well. Nature and exercise and reading and long walks at night, all of these methods seem to bring me to a spiritual place. The point is that it is different for everyone and you will never know what works for you unless you give it a shot for yourself.
You have to be open-minded to spiritual matters. You have to be willing to give it a shot and not let your ignorance and your ego block you from pre conceived ideas of what it means to be a spiritual person. You don’t need to be a monk or a priest or a zealot. You can simply be yourself.
In searching for spiritual growth, you will learn so much about yourself and be more content in the process. That’s a promise.