Although we all have spiritual experiences, we are usually more in touch with the body than the soul. We eat, sleep and defecate to fulfill the body’s most basic needs. We shave, comb, bathe and dress up our “mortal coil” on a daily basis. In so many ways we constantly reinforce within ourselves that physicality is of primary importance to us. How do we get more in touch with our spirit?
Not only is it difficult to get in touch with our elusive spiritual identity, but it’s doubly difficult to assess our spiritual health. There are ways to examine and test your physical health that are readily available to all. You can feel physical ailments: you can check your temperature, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol level. Where are the same diagnostic tools for the soul?
Step #1 Be Proactive
The first step is to recognize that it takes an effort. Nature is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it focuses our attention on physicality. If you don’t have techniques for focusing on the soul, you can guarantee that you have spiritual infirmities that you’re unaware of. You must be proactive in order to be a person that habitually seeks soul awareness. When you take a step in the direction of spirituality, you get multiple returns.
Step #2 Pray
Prayer is exercise for the soul. It keeps it in shape, gets its juices flowing, and makes it vibrant. A person once went to a holy man and asked if he should pray every day even when he doesn’t feel like it. The holy man answered with a story. In olden times we didn’t have a clock repair shop in our town. Once in a while a repairperson would visit our town and anyone who needed repair would bring him a watch or a clock. He fixed the ones he could and left the others unfixed. When a person would come to pick up an unfixed clock he’d explain, “If you had kept winding it even though it wasn’t telling the correct time you would have kept the oil and the gears turning and I would have been able to fix it. Since you didn’t the insides got gunked up and jammed.” Prayer keeps our spiritual gears oiled, even when we’re not particularly inspired.
When you list the things you want out of life for yourself and for humanity, you can’t help but focus your attention on spiritual matters. It’s a reminder of your core values, what you really believe is important. You can also pray to God to help you relate more to your soul.
Step #3 Love
Yes, of course, we all know it’s important to love humanity. But how do you do it? When we love, we notice and focus on what is special about that other person. Go out of your way to think through all of your relationships and ask yourself, “What is special, holy, or Divine inside this person? What is the spark of Godliness inside him/her?” Everyone who is made by the Infinite Creator must have some piece of holiness inside. When you look for that aspect you are connecting with the spiritual in others rather than the physical. And of course you should also ask the same questions regarding yourself.
Step #4 Test Your Spiritual Sensitivity
Whenever you’re in a decision-making situation, ask yourself the following, “What do I want to do, and what do I feel like doing?” If it’s a choice between meditating or taking a nap; you want to meditate because you sense there may be something serene and meaningful about the experience, but you feel like taking a nap because its easier and more physically gratifying. So it makes it clearer that your soul wants to meditate but your body would like to take a nap. When you ask this question over and over you start to see a pattern. The body will always opt for something that is temporarily gratifying, whereas the soul will want something more meaningful and longer lasting. Your body feels like it. Your soul wants.
Step #5 Know Yourself
Realize that your soul is the real you. Your body is merely the clothing you wear in this particular lifetime. If your body is hungry you need to feed it to keep it going. Is your soul hungry? If you are feeling depressed, your soul is hungry. Your body is temporary, the soul eternal. The body is always after immediate gratification because that’s who it is. The soul knows it lives on forever so it craves meaning and truth. If you don’t crave truth, you are spiritually ill. The soul wants meaning and accomplishment. That’s the real you.
Just like the body gets infirmed and doesn’t function well, so too the soul can get infirmed and therefore needs maintenance in order to run well. These five action steps are the foundation of a healthy spirit. They are the fresh air, clean water, and nutritious meal that keep your soul at its best.