5 Rich Teachings on How to Live a More Conscious Life
Two common questions I am often asked are, “Why is it important to tap into your spirituality?” and “What is karma?”
Everyone has lessons to learn and something to solve in this lifetime. The universe gives us tools, gifts and challenges. We decide how we use them
Why is it important to tap into your spirituality?
Spirituality has many meanings, and, most importantly, IT means something different to each person. Is it a religion? A connection to God? Spirituality is a belief system that connects us to something bigger and much greater than ourselves and gives us purpose in life.
Scientific research shows that people with strong spiritual practices have a lower index of mortality. Keeping a spiritual practice is compared to keeping a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Why? Because a spiritual practice is based on a belief system of no harm to others or oneself, compassion, service, gratitude, reflection, self-awareness and self-realization—all of these beliefs lead us to live a healthier and happier life.
Spirituality gives a meaning in life. It allows us to understand that we are a part of something so much greater than ourselves and our “common daily struggles.” It gives us perspective, so we can deal with the day-to-day life in a more gracious way. You can’t function if you get overwhelmed by problems like unavailable taxis, rain or flat tires. You can function at your greatest capacity when you are able to rise above it all.
Spirituality is an invitation to explore who we are beyond the material world and the physical body. We are mind, body and spirit. So, why do we invest so much in our physical body and focus on our mind all the time…what about our soul?
We worry about what we eat, when and how we exercise, what to wear, all of which is focusing on our body and the material world. Our mind is active all day and sometimes when we sleep, too! How much time in our lives do we invest in body and mind, in comparison to the time we focus on our spirit?
My dear teacher Joseph Michael Levry says, “A person who lives from his/her mind sees every opportunity as a problem, a person who lives from his/her heart sees every problem as an opportunity.”
Our life is a result of all the decisions and choices we have made. We have the power to create a life that we love, by gaining self-awareness through a spiritual practice. Only when we are able to see things, are we able to change them. Once we gain the awareness of how we create negative sentiment in our life, we can alter our thoughts and actions.
Spirituality gives us a framework of values that allows us to respond to the world from a compassionate and understanding heart. It helps us to understand better why we feel in certain ways, why we react in certain ways and how all of those reactions create the tapestry of who we are. The way we are and react in the world is what creates our karma.
What is karma?
We hear so often that a person has “bad karma.” This is not a bad curse or spell that someone has imposed on that person.
Karma is nothing, but the law of cause and effect. For every act there is a consequence, good, bad or indifferent. That’s how the universe works. If a person doesn’t exercise and frequently overeats, the effect would be his body would be in poor condition. So his karma would be to be unfit and unhealthy. On the other hand, if a person trains every day for a marathon, the effect is that person would be in good condition to successfully run a marathon.
Don’t be the victim of your karma.
The good news is that we all have a gift, the gift of free will. If we don’t like the circumstances of our life, we can use our free will to change things. We can change the consequences of our karma by changing the causes. You can change your life by changing your thoughts and actions. What you put out in the world is exactly what comes back to you. It starts with your thoughts. Your thoughts, if you listen, inform how you speak to others, how you feel, how you conduct yourself. Your attitude aligns with your thoughts. Is your attitude positive or negative? What you put out into the world creates the energy around you. If you find yourself gravitating toward the negative, that creates negativity energy—if you seek the positive you will create positivity.
Where does karma come from?
Imagine you have a bucket. It’s filled with all the aspects of who you are and how you see the world. That bucket is comprised from what you inherited from your parents, where you were raised, if you grew up in a loving family, if you had money and went to school, had a good job, if they showed you the world to be a beautiful place. What was their attitude toward the world? That’s what you learn. You inherit a whole lineage of attitudes and beliefs, which creates how you see the world and react to it. This lineage of attitudes and beliefs starts to form at a young age. You can do good or bad with it. Our job is to discharge those traits, or elements, from our lineage of karma that have negative consequences in our lives. We should not blame our parents or family, but take responsibility and change it. This includes addictive behaviors or negative attitudes that prevent us from embracing life.
Stop accumulating more karma.
Everyone has lessons to learn and something to solve in this lifetime. The universe gives us tools, gifts and challenges. We decide how we use them. Free will is the difference between humans and animals. Free will offers us the possibility to choose how we respond to the world, with positivity or negativity. Accordingly, how we respond are the circumstances we will create in our life. We decide how to move through the world. We can choose our thoughts and align our actions with our thoughts.
It is up to us!
These are 5 actions you can take today to live a more conscious life:
- Develop a meditation practice. Every morning spend 10 minutes in silence “observing your thoughts”—the goal of meditation is to observe your thoughts, not make your mind “blank.”
- Write down what thoughts came out during your meditation. How do you speak to yourself? Are your thoughts positive and uplifting or negative and defeating?
- Look at the negative thoughts and rewrite them in a positive way. Is there a trend? What is the conversation you tell yourself about yourself?
- During your day, stay alert in your mind. Is the negative conversation coming back in you mind? Become a witness to your thoughts—no judgments, simply be aware that they exist.
- When that negative conversation, or chain of thought, pops into your mind inflicting a negative emotion—such as, fear, disappointment or sadness—make a decision to shift it into a positive conversation, just the way you did it in your writing that morning.
The awareness of your thoughts will give you the capacity to apply your free will and shift your thoughts from negative to positive.
Primavera Salvá is a certified teacher in Naam Yoga Levels I, II and III, Shakti Naam Level I and II and Kabbalah of Birth. She travels internationally training teachers in these modalities. She is also a Harmonyum healing practitioner. She has been teaching yoga and meditation to adults and children in New York City since 1999, and offers consultations for those interested in learning how spirituality can change their lives.
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