Marilyn Briant is the author of The Pax Principles - a Red Ribbon Winner 2020, in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (UK)
A Spiritual Life Involves A Journey
When the question surfaced recently about what spirituality or living a spiritual life means—what it looks like, how it feels, what makes it different to any other way of living, I couldn’t respond immediately. I had to stop and think, to sit quietly and meditate on the answer. Even then, I still couldn’t fully articulate what I was thinking.
I struggled to convey all that is in my mind, in my heart. To describe the aspects which comprise living spiritually, or from my heart. To explain the kind of deep inner peace and freedom that comes from trusting nothing can alter the way I feel.
And I acknowledged it has been a journey—an inward journey of getting to know myself. Of starting out living from my ego. Being full of fear, drowning in my suffering, unaware I was being held hostage by my thoughts.
A journey that led me from being tossed around on the tempestuous sea of life—being at the mercy of my emotions, pulled up or down according to what was going on with everyone else, or some drama or other in which I constantly found myself involved—to a calm, serene ocean of deep inner peace.
Of course, it took quite a while. It took a strong intention to change, before I came to know myself, to love myself, to live from the real me. It took being ready to forgive, to feel the pain inside me and to heal, before I arrived at this place of feeling thankful and expressing gratitude for all that life brings me. It took courage. It meant I had to be willing to release the past, to trust that I had nothing to lose in letting go of what I thought mattered to me.
It Is About Letting Go
It meant letting go of what I used to believe about myself, what I thought I valued. It meant challenging someone else’s ideas of who I am and what should mean something to me. Yes, living a spiritual life involved letting go—of expectations, needing to judge myself and others, being one of the crowd and needing to fit in.
I used to think I was kind, caring and loving. But when I looked at how I was living, I realized I was this way mostly to others, for the benefit of others. I wasn’t being kind, caring and loving to myself. I didn’t allow myself to live in the moment, I was stuck in the past, grieving over the hardship I had endured, unable to move on.
But that is not how I live now. Living a spiritual life means I have let go of the past, discovered a lightness, a creativity that I did not know before. It means I stay anchored to my soul energy, no matter what is going on my life. I live in the present, acknowledging the drama going on around me without being pulled in. I pay attention to how I feel, making sure I am kind and forgiving to me, as well as everyone else.
I feel loved. I know all I experience is for a reason—to learn more about myself and Love. I feel comfortable in my own skin. I have learned to let go of what does not feel good—anger, self-pity, shame, and blame—and accepted I am responsible for how I feel. Have stopped looking outside of myself for happiness. Have let go of needing things or people to make me feel good.
It Means Having A Soul Connection
Living a spiritual life means having a daily connection to my soul-self and universal energy through meditation. Means I feel thankful for all that I have. Means I am focusing on the good and positive in my life, attracting more of the same into my life.
Where once there was a feeling of not being good enough, of needing to be loved, of disappointment in myself and others, there is now acceptance and understanding. I am who I am—I do not need to be better or different. I am full of love and I accept all is perfect as it is.
My life does not reflect an outward show of piety, religious observance, or involve the spouting of dogma. Nor is it about atoning for my sins, trying to be good or feeling special. Instead, it encompasses living with kindness, love, and compassion for myself and others.
A Spiritual Life Means Living From Love
It means I am allowing what I have discovered is the truth, my knowing, to guide my life. I am not just paying lip-service to what I believe, I have incorporated my beliefs into how I think, what I say and how I behave. I continue learning and growing in awareness.
I am not pretending to love. I am really loving—myself, others and every experience that challenges me to question and reaffirm the meaning of life. Every experience that guides me to live from love.
Through feelings of gratitude, moments of joy and a constant sense of deep inner peace, I recognize and let go of whatever threatens to negatively affect the way I feel inside.
Living a spiritual life means I have no expectations, do not need to criticize, control or judge others. It means I focus on all that is beautiful and positive in myself and the world. That I am full of creative, loving energy which flows into and out of me as an expression of who I am.