We experience two connected yet different realities: the physical and the spiritual, and by understanding their connection, you may learn how to become more spiritual.
The physical is everything we can engage with our senses. On its own, this plane of existence cannot be meaningful.
To reach a spiritual reality, we must ask ourselves questions that don’t have tangible answers, for example, “Who am I?”. The idea of you has no corporeal form, yet it is as real as the words you’re reading now.
People become more spiritual by challenging themselves with deep introspection. This process of self-discovery can awaken creativity and foster wisdom. Spirituality can provide feelings of order, ease, flow, and peaceful integration with our physical realities.
What Does It Mean to be Spiritual?
Being spiritual means contemplating existential questions :
- Who am I?
- What’s my purpose?
- What will make me happy?
- What are the effects of my life in the world?
- What do I want to be remembered for?
A spiritual person understands that their mind and body are conduits between physical and spiritual realities.
Their idea of health will extend beyond fitness and food, though it won’t exclude those very important activities. Spirituality will make fitness and food more meaningful, creative, and rich.
Spiritual vs. Religious
People often conflate spirituality and religion, and it’s an understandable misconception. When people hold religious beliefs, but don’t want to label themselves as followers of a certain religion, they often describe themselves as “spiritual.”
Religion has formal texts, beliefs, practices and institutions. True Christians should go to church, pray, believe in the monotheistic God, read the Bible and espouse the teachings of Christ.
Spirituality can be independent of organized practices. A spiritual person could also be secular, in the sense that they don’t believe in traditional divinities.
When practiced correctly, religion can be the best vessel for spirituality.
In this case, the big existential questions we mentioned can be explored within the context of religious texts and teachings, because those texts and teachings have been developed through rich lineages, over thousands of years, and often mark the highest achievements of culture.
The problem is that organized religions often lose sight of spiritual content, and degrade it, by not fully understanding it, and by using it for worldly ends, prioritizing politics, cultural issues, and financing.
9 Ways to Become More Spiritual
Everything you need to become more spiritual can be taught, read, and practiced with little more than your mind and body.
You don’t need apps, expensive crystals, or fancy yoga equipment.
Meditation is one of the most powerful mediums for connecting the mind and body, as well as the physical and spiritual realities.
Organize your life so it will be easy to clear your mind. Then ask yourself the questions we mentioned like, “What do I want out of life?”
2. Empathy For the Suffering of Others
Spirituality is also the practice of becoming a more compassionate, kind, caring person.
To reach this goal, you must empathize with the suffering of others. Imagine their situations, their struggles. And you must develop this imagination by actually practicing thought experiments in which you put yourself in other people’s shoes.
This is why reading novels, stories, and memoirs help you become a more kind, more interesting person.
3. Active Awe
Awe is the emotion you feel when experiencing something remarkable.
It could be a natural wonder such as the Grand Canyon or rare wild animals. If you live in a city, you could be in awe of massive bridges or skyscrapers.
Instead of waiting to stumble upon these experiences, actively seek them out. According to the Greater Good Science Center, awe can make your life better in the following ways:
- Improved mood
- Long-term health benefits
- Increased critical thinking
- Less materialism
- More humility
- Feeling like you have more time to live life
- Increased generosity and willingness to cooperate
- More connection to humanity
These benefits will help you gain spiritual wisdom, appreciate the excitement of your inner life, sensitize you to feeling, and gain perspective about what’s important in life and why it’s worth living.
4. Having Fun (Even If It’s Not Awe-Inspiring)
Chances are you don’t have time to see something like the Grand Canyon on a daily basis.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to have fun that are both casual and healthy.
Play games with the people you love, walk through a park, try a new cuisine, read a good book — there’s so much to do!
Many centuries of wisdom are at your local library or bookstore. We recommend physical books over e-readers.
Even if the purpose is to digest literature, staring at a screen isn’t the healthiest medium.
6. Volunteering In Hospice Care
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can be a wonderful experience.
When people are close to death, they often exude wisdom. You can learn from both their pride and regrets, as well as their vulnerability and candor.
Referring to our earlier point on empathy, hospice care is an opportunity to transform those feelings into the action of caretaking.
7. Connecting With What Excites You
Remember the question of “What’s my purpose?”
One method of discovering the answer is journaling your actions and rating engagement on a scale from 1-10. A certain activity or situation might consistently garner a high score.
8. Trying Something With No Strategy
At first, you might think this tip is the same as our advice for having fun. The difference is that fun often involves a strategy.
When you plan a vacation, you’re thinking about how to get a good deal on a hotel, when to travel, where to go, etc. This mindset isn’t a break from the strategic rigor we bring to work.
Try something spontaneous. If it seems like you can do it without any negative consequences, just do it. Don’t think longer than you need to.
9. Working With A Spiritual Life Coach
If everything above seems daunting, working with a spiritual life coach could be what you need to succeed. The journey may involve self-discovery, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Becoming More Spiritual Can Be Hard, But Worthwhile
Even with a coach, becoming more spiritual can be hard.
Spirituality requires conscious cultivation. It’s like playing a musical instrument or sport. Without regular practice, you can atrophy. But it should be interesting, self-motivated, and fun.
Our world constantly tells us that money and material goods are most important. To succeed, you’ll need to prioritize spirituality.
If you do, your life will become richer than you ever imagined, because true spirituality is the basis of everything that is good, fulfilling, and creative in life.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like to read more about what a spiritual life coach is.