Have a Spiritual Year

How to be more spiritual in 2015.

How are your New Year's resolutions going? At the beginning of the year, everyone is filled with good intentions to start afresh and improve life for the coming 12 months. Perhaps you're resolving to lose weight, eat more healthily, to find romance, or to apply for a new career; all these are beneficial - but don't neglect your spiritual side. By resolving to become a more spiritual person this year, you will make your journey through life a far happier experience for yourself and for those around you.

What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is a lifestyle choice. Every person has the potential to be spiritual. Spirituality is within you. It is found in your connection to other people and to the Divine. You don't need to be religious to be spiritual. In fact, dogmatic, repressive religion is often a barrier to true spirituality. You already have all the tools you need to be spiritual within your heart and mind. Spirituality will give you purpose and hope. By being mindful of your behaviour and words and altering them for the better, you can start living a more spiritual life today.

Six ways to be more spiritual

Be Compassionate
Spirituality is found in little acts of kindness: smiling at people you see instead of avoiding their glance; holding the door open for someone struggling with bags or a push-chair; a kind word to a stranger; listening to a colleague in distress; offering to perform a chore for an elderly neighbour or volunteering for a charity.
*Compassion is also to understand that sometimes people verbally lash out not because they hate you but because they are unhappy within themselves. Compassion is the desire to help and the willingness to understand the suffering of others.

Don't Judge
Living your life laughing at the perceived inadequacies of other people is a barrier to spirituality. If you are quick to judge others, aside from making you appear an unpleasant person, this is likely to mean that you are secretly fearful and doubtful of yourself. Deep down you wonder: am I good enough? Judging others provides a convenient barrier to hide behind, preventing you from focusing on and improving your own words and deeds.
*A person who gives out love and kindness will receive this back, whereas a person who is quick to judge others will quickly be judged.

Admit your mistakes
You will make mistakes: you may hurt people you love; you may fail at your career; you may fall out with your family. You are a human being, you are not perfect. The key is to admit your mistakes, make reparation and learn from them to avoid repeating mistakes. It is difficult to admit you are wrong. But to live more spiritually you must be open about owning your wrongdoings. Once you have begun this, you will find it is liberating to be able to admit mistakes.
*When you apologise and make amends you will set free of lingering ill-feeling and your path will be clear to move forward.

Don't obsess over possessions
The desire for more and more material possessions and wealth is a major barrier to spirituality. This doesn't mean you have to dress in rags and own nothing in order to be spiritual. Your material needs should be met for you to be comfortable and surrounding yourself with a couple of beautiful, significant objects can be uplifting. But it is the rapacious desire for the latest gadgets and clothes - competing with your friends to own the best - the best being defined by the most costly - that's damaging. *Have a clear out at home and give away some of your material possessions to charity. You'll feel lighter once they're gone.

Try gratitude
Be thankful for all the good things in your life. Even if it doesn't always feel as if life is going your way, you can be sure that, in reality, your blessings are brimming over. Say 'thank you', and smile, at small kindnesses and courtesies people show you. *Spend time thinking about all the things you have in your life for which you are grateful - say 'thank you' out loud for them, in a private moment.

Spiritual Practice
Find a spiritual practice that suits you. Whether this is prayer, meditation, crystal healing, yoga, contemplation or something else; find what feels right or you and devote 15 minutes a day to your spiritual practice. Keep it simple - complex rituals are not necessary.
*For instance, you might sit in a quiet place for 10 minutes before bed and think about all the good things that happened during the past day. Experience the feeling of being thankful. This is contemplation and gratitude.
*Or in the morning you might spend a quiet 10 minutes setting two or three good intentions for the day ahead. Spiritual practice can be a practical way to deepen and improve your connection to the world around you.


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