Health Tip # 8: Expand and deepen your spiritual life.
A healthy spiritual life will help you achieve and maintain your weight goals. Has it been awhile since you attended church, synagogue, temple or mosque? Are you attending services regularly — but without the enthusiasm you had at some point in your life? This is a perfect time to spend more time cultivating your spirituality. It might be good for you to go back to religious services or get involved in a religious community if you are not currently affiliated with one. Or, if joining a spiritual community is not for you, perhaps what your soul needs is more quiet time with spiritual reading, prayer and meditation. It probably doesn’t matter how you cultivate your spiritual life. It does matter, however, that you put time into it on a regular basis. You will benefit from a daily spiritual routine — even if you only commit a few minutes to it in the morning or evening. If you are new to spirituality, it may be good for you to start building your spiritual life by strengthening friendships with people who seem to have healthy spiritual lives of their own. It does not necessarily matter that they share the same faith as you. It is more important that the friends you turn to for spiritual strength and community are loving, balanced, kind and practicing values that you admire. Do they have peaceful relationships? That is often a sign of healthy spirituality. Don’t seek spiritual community with people who claim to be spiritual but approach relationships and conflicts with negative thinking. As you become more and more spiritually centered you will naturally gravitate away from know-it-all spiritual experts and anyone who tries to impose a specific religion or spiritual belief upon you. If you do encounter pushy people on your path toward deeper spirituality, don’t be discouraged or become resentful toward them or the religion with which they are associated. Pushy people are part of life and you are likely to meet them in any spiritual group — whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, New Age, Buddhist or something else. Don’t let pushy people thwart your spirituality. People who are invested in convincing you that their path is most correct often are people who do not feel very confident of God’s unconditional love for them.
If you are considering changing your religion, this may not be the best time to do it. That decision is up to you, of course, but undertaking a healthy food plan is a major adjustment. Some therapists recommend people make one major change at a time. During the next twelve months you will be adjusting to your new healthy eating habits. Taking on a new relationship, religion or job could be distracting and shift your focus elsewhere.
If you decide to look for a new spiritual home, don’t do it compulsively. Converting to a new religion takes effort — and often there are deep-seeded emotional reasons why we flee from one denomination or religion to another. Some people spend their whole lives looking for a spiritual home and never seem to find peace anywhere. Rather than seeking something new, it might be best to sit with what is familiar and allow God to guide you through emotional work necessary to heal resentments toward spiritual leaders or mentors. Ultimately, only you will know if it is time to make a change. When the Dalai Lama spoke in Ann Arbor a few years ago he opened his address by telling a packed arena that he does not recommend people change their religion. He said it is too hard.
But as difficult as it is, changing your religion is not as hard as changing your diet, according to some anthropologists. So, during your first year on the new food plan, be careful what other major changes you embrace. Don’t let them become your focus. Keep your attention on your health goals.
Daily Inspiration: “To give and not expect return, that is what lies at the heart of love.” ~ Oscar Wilde
As we deepen our spiritual life, we will learn to love the warts in ourselves and others. We will begin to see ourselves and the people around us as God sees us — amazing reflections of love, even with our flaws. When we have difficulty loving ourselves or other people we can pause and take a few deep breaths. We can close our eyes and ask our Creator to let us see ourselves and others as He sees us. We can let go of judgment and open our hearts more fully to the possibilities and wonders of love.