Updated: Jun 7, 2019
How to Walk the Talk to a Spiritual Life
The zen master, the yogi, the guru... What does a spiritual being really look like? Social media teaches us it resembles something like affirmation memes, yoga pants, prayer pose, buddha beads, and herbal tea. But are we really wearing our zen?
You've seen it. We all have. It's the walking contradiction, the pseudo-spiritual person. In fact, I think we've all been it too. It doesn't mean we're trying to fake it. It means we're in alignment some or most of the time. You probably practice a fairly self-aware existence, do your part to help the world around you, recycle, practice mindfulness, and live the life of a seemingly spiritual person, but let's be honest, from time to time, you lose your sh*t and it ain't pretty.
So how do we get prettier from the inside out and embody our spirituality through and through? The answer: Get REAL about your unhealed parts.
Triggers and Reactions
The best way to get honest about our unhealed parts is to observe our triggers and reactions. Think about the last time you lost your patience with a total stranger. Maybe you copped an attitude with the guy who overcharged you at the register, lost your patience with the barista who messed up your latte, rolled your eyes at the incompetent hotel attendant, cussed at that rude person on the street, or flipped off the wreckless driver on the road. Most likely, it's not just with strangers either. The ones we love push our buttons the most. Watch yourself the next time you react to your partner, mother, or best friend... Become the observer. What kind of ugly do they bring out in you?
"If you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your family." ~Ram Dass
Our triggers and reactions are the roadmap to our healing. Why do we get so angry, upset, and outraged by others' behaviors? Because those behaviors hit our inner wounds and make them feel alive again. Our subconscious wounds and fears are buried within us, yet for most of us, we avoid "going there" to expose them. We suppress our feelings, and we get good at covering up the deep-seeded pain with a smile. So, when you're diving into your next downward dog, ask yourself, is there a wolf hiding under your zen clothing? If so, it may be time to face your shadow.
Another factor that contributes to emotional reactivity is stress. You may be thinking, "Stress? I'm not stressed. I sip tea. I go to yoga class." That's all well and fine, but are you taking the time to nurture and prioritize yourself in the way you need to or are you running a race with the clock, prioritizing everyone else, losing sleep, and taking on too much responsibility while neglecting your own spirit?
Here are 11 ways to become less reactive and more zen from the inside out:
1. Be the observer of self. Remember to breathe when you feel triggered, walk away or retreat from the person or situation that is triggering you until you can step back in, in a non-reactive way. Give yourself a moment to clear your head, process the emotion, and get back on center. Also pay attention to who and what triggers you the most and why. What are the underlying causes of your reactivity? Keep a 'Trigger Happy' journal. Document your reactivity and get real about your ugly side. The shadow lurking deep within all of us is begging to be healed. I promise it's more beautiful of a process than you imagine.
2. Become present within yourself. When you feel triggered, remember that the pause you take to breathe will bring you back to your center and remind you to check in with your inner feelings before you become explosive or reactive. Allow your breath to help you become fully present within yourself.
3. Deal with yourself. Feel yourself. Heal yourself. Stop avoiding the deeper healing by finding distractions, stuffing it down, or looking outside of yourself to feel better. Feel your emotions, pain and all. Begin the process of healing and integrating by bringing the shadows into the light.
4. Seek out a practitioner or coach to help you deal, feel, & heal. The best teachers, coaches, and therapists are the ones who have been through it. This is the meaning of a guru, one who teaches from experience, a person who has reached (or is reaching) his/her own potential and can assist you in realizing yours.
5. Practice self-love. Prioritize yourself. Add something new to your self-care regimen, do something that you enjoy, put your healing and needs first. Being stretched too thin or overloaded with mounting responsibilities can leave you feeling tired and irritable. By prioritizing yourself and your needs, you will be able to give and receive more freely with others, and you'll show up as a more balanced person for those you love.
6. Rest. Take a nap. Allow yourself to sleep in. Practice meditation for relaxation. Sleep deprivation can make us feel overly emotional and can bring out or even exaggerate our fears and insecurities. When we function with proper sleep and rest, we feel revitalized, rejuvenated, of a clearer mindset, and overall more hopeful & optimistic.
7. Be still. With so much outside noise and so many distractions, we seldom spend time in quiet stillness. Let go of technology. Spend time in nature. Retreat. Listen to the channeled messages and hear your inner voice. Stop chasing and allow things to come to you. Be open and receptive.
8. Make a date to connect with your inner spirit. Get out in nature, go for a walk, dig your hands in the dirt, take a road trip, draw, cook, paint, dance, make music, craft.... You get the point. Doing things that are creative and meditative puts us in touch with our spirit, gets us centered and on our sure-footing, clears our mind of worry and overthinking, promotes a feeling of freedom, helps us feel inspired, and elevates us to align with the essence of our Divine Self.
9. Be the change you want to see in the world. See yourself as equal to others, through the eyes of compassion, patience, tolerance, kindness, and love. Read our blog on how to reach unity consciousness.
10. Lighten up. Lightening up means not just having fun, taking life less seriously, and stepping into the light with our healing; it also means letting go of what no longer serves us. Evaluate what is no longer in alignment for you, be it people, relationships, habits, or anything else that could be potentially toxic or weighing you down. In regards to material possessions, when we are whole from within, we need less 'stuff'. So give back, donate, and lighten your load. Release what is no longer valuable or necessary. Know that what is most important in life does not exist in the material.
11. Forgive. In order to let go, we must forgive. Release the resentment, blame, and guilt you feel towards yourself and others. This will free you from the chains that bind you to old patterns and keep you dwelling on past hurts. Forgiveness is the key to finding freedom and peace from within.
Material Life to Spiritual Life
Now ask yourself, what does a spiritual life look like? Has your perception of a spiritual person or spiritual behavior changed at all?
Our world dictates a picture perfect stereotype of what spirituality is but most of us don't walk the talk. As a truly spiritual person, if you are practicing anything that society labels as spiritual, you should be doing so because it compliments the real healing (outlined above), because you love it, and because it's what's calling you and your spirit, not because it looks good to others or might fit well into an Insta selfie.
We are all human, and it is unrealistic to think we will heal to the point in which we will never be triggered again. Few of us have or will reach the purest vibration of unconditional love in this lifetime. The important thing to remember is to walk forth into the light, own your authenticity, share your gifts, and continue to do your healing so you can lead the most joyous, peaceful, and harmonious existence that will enable you to spread kindness and love throughout the planet and help to uplift humanity.
Kimberly's VU: About a week ago, I was coming home from the gym, cruising along a main road at the posted speed limit (45 MPH). My windows were open, it was a beautiful day, and there was no traffic ahead or behind me. Suddenly I saw a utility van pulling out of a driveway and into the road, paying no attention to oncoming traffic. I slammed on my brakes. As I came to a screeching halt, my heart was racing and thumping out of my chest. I had just seen my life flash before my eyes. I looked up to see the men in the truck laughing. I proceeded to freak out. My momentary fit consisted of everything from f-bombs and flailing hand gestures to screaming out the window. They continued to laugh as they pulled back up the driveway and cleared the road for me. I was enraged by their reckless driving and unapologetic indifference. Problem is, when I drove off feeling thankful I was in one piece, I realized how not intact I was. In fact, I felt like a fool. I had to really sit with myself to recognize where a reaction like that came from. I am ordinarily calm and seasoned at maintaining a bigger perspective in those situations but something really set me off that day. I realized there was some underlying "stuff" I had to deal with. I recognized that near-accident as a gift, brought to me so I could see what was brewing within myself, causing the feelings of anger, fear, and powerlessness to bubble to the surface.
Remember, everything we experience is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and heal at a deeper level. There are no coincidences; we call in these experiences, even the ones that feel ugly or awful, and especially the ones in which we want to blame other people. I could have easily walked away hating those men for their ignorance, but instead I chose to forgive them and look inside myself. I found my way back to a peaceful, loving space later that afternoon.
Don't beat yourself up for the ways in which you've acted or reacted. Forgive yourself. Understand yourself better. Learn from your mistakes, heal, and move on with greater awareness. This is the real path to enlightenment.
Post by Kimberly Alleyna www.spiritualmaterialgirl.com @spiritualmaterialgirl
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