“The world is full of pain, uncertainty, and injustice. But in this vulnerable human life, every loss is an opportunity either to shut out the world or to stand up with dignity and let the heart respond.”  Jack Kornfield 

If we want to live an enriched life, cultivating a spiritual practice is extremely beneficial. Spirituality does not mean ‘religious.’ It means something greater or bigger is at play – lessons, a higher order, and a purpose.

Fundamentally our primary purpose is to evolve and improve our mind – so we can be happier and a greater benefit to others and the world. It’s about becoming more awake, loving and compassionate – allowing our hearts to guide us.  

Without a spiritual practice, we are focused mostly on ourselves; our objective in life is directed toward personal gain – whether it be power, status, relationships, money, good looks, etc. This keeps us in a never-ending cycle of striving to be enough.

When we address our attention on external conditions to ultimately make us happy, we discover in reality, it’s a delusion and a recipe for unhappiness.

Whatever we achieve, we always want to have more and more. However, because we cannot control the external — which is ever changing – nothing will ever be enough for our ego to be satisfied.

Over time, our status might change; we might lose a relationship, money, job security or our looks. These circumstances aren’t inherently bad. In fact, they possess many great qualities, but if we depend on them or need them to be a certain way in order for us to be happy – it will never work.

Cultivating a spiritual practice creates more openness, love, connection, and authentic happiness. When we have a spiritual practice, obstacles become opportunities to grow.

Everyone faces challenges and obstacles that call on our spirit. And through difficulties, we often learn true strength.

Here are 4 Steps to Cultivate a Spiritual Practice:

1. Feel your feelings. We’re going to feel a range of emotions and it’s important not to suppress our feelings. We need to acknowledge our feelings and be honest with ourselves in order to heal.

2. Be grateful for what you have. Our minds perceive negative information faster than positive because we are hard-wired for survival. Focus attention on what you have and be thankful.

3. Practice looking at things from different perspectives. The mind is flexible and can change – this is one of our greatest strengths. What am I learning from what I am going through? What can I give as a result of this experience?

4. Do something for someone else. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin – this feel-good chemical heals our wounds, calms us down, and makes us happy (and someone else)! 

In my personal experiences, I have learned more and become better – smarter, more creative and compassionate – because of difficult moments in my life.

The nature of life is uncertainty and a spiritual practice provides immense support for us.

When you feel like shutting down, how can you stay open and let your heart respond?