Spiritual growth can be achieved through devotional practices such as prayer and attendance at religious ceremonies. Anyone can develop a relationship with their own spirituality by increasing their level of consciousness, contemplating nature and works of art and dedicating themselves to beautiful things. To overcome the ego barrier, help others and exercise empathy.
Part 1 of 3: Developing personal practice
Step 1. Meditate
Grow spiritually by developing awareness and moving away from the mundane concerns of routine. Meditate alone or in groups.
- How about deepening your commitment to spirituality and introspection by going on a retreat?
- Take yoga and meditation classes to harmonize your body and mind.
Step 2. Connect with nature
Take a solitary walk on a trail or on the street on a sunny day. Go without headphones and don't stare at your cell phone – prefer to watch the world around you. Discover mountains, beaches and deserts. Take a few breaks to rest, observe the environment and listen to the sounds of nature.
- In this exploration, don't forget to give thanks for the world you live in.
- Sing a song or recite a poem if you are moved.
- Camp to spend more time outside of civilization.
- Go on trails with others interested in spiritual growth.
Step 3. Discover works of art
Whether immersing yourself in an independent spiritual journey or professing a religion that believes in beauty, you can deepen your relationship with sacred images and great works of art.
- Visit mosques, churches, temples and other places of devotion to enjoy architecture, music or devotional artwork.
- Discover important works of sacred or secular art in museums.
- Listen to classical and contemporary music that lifts you up and enraptures you.
- Read religious poetry.
- It is not always sacred art that will bring you closer to God. If a work touches your heart, take time to contemplate it. Do this more often if you can.
Step 4. Use creativity
Creative expression can broaden spiritual understanding, as the resources of imagination can take care of what is not understood by logic, bringing it closer to the immaterial world.
- Music is a traditional way of expressing praise in many religious traditions, as well as being part of secular spirituality. Learn worship hymns or other songs to sing with loved ones or on your own.
- Dance is a form of worship in many cultures. Take dance lessons or put on music that awakens your spiritual side and try to let your body move.
- Any creation that brings you inside and fills you with peace is valid, including traditional household activities like cooking.
Part 2 of 3: Getting involved with faith
Step 1. Go to religious ceremonies
Find a church, temple, mosque, or other center of a religion that you identify with. If you are already part of a congregation, renew your commitment to it. Donate your time, join a committee working on a cause, and connect with other members.
An interesting option is to attend ceremonies of other religions to get to know different spiritual traditions
Step 2. Pray
If the spiritual practice of your religion involves prayers, focus on improving their quality. Pray at least once a day, and during that time of faith, don't let your mind wander. Focus on the words you are saying, and if you find yourself distracted, remember your intentions and start over with renewed purpose.
- Pray with others. Attend masses, services or other times of united prayer.
- If your family prays together at meals or at other times, ask to lead the prayers one night.
- Regardless of religion, prayer is capable of transforming the mind and the feeling of oneness with the world.
Step 3. Read sacred texts and books
Learn the principles of your religion by reading directly from the sources and try to understand the central messages of your spiritual ancestors. A good idea is to create a reading group to share your journey with others or join an established group.
- For example, if you are a Christian, you can join a Bible study group at church.
- If you are interested in the manifestations of spirituality of different religions, read sacred texts from many of them.
Part 3 of 3: Doing good deeds
Step 1. Do volunteer work.
Giving yourself to others also enables personal development. Find a cause you believe in and give it your free time. Look for local organizations that need volunteers, start a fundraiser or create a group. There are several ways to help others, such as:
- Working in a homeless shelter.
- Give Portuguese classes to immigrants and refugees.
- Get involved in the union and help workers in your area.
Step 2. Be grateful to those who help you
Appreciate the good things others do for you. Be grateful and express that gratitude to yourself and the people who helped you.
- Thank them from your heart and tell them how the actions they took have benefited your life.
- Keep a gratitude journal and include one or two things you are grateful for each day.
- Realize the positive feeling that comes when you do good for others. Be grateful that these people have allowed you to participate in their lives.
Step 3. Develop empathy.
You may believe that empathy is an inherent quality, but in fact it is more of a practice that can be improved upon. To do this, pay attention to people: listen to them and do your best to put yourself in their shoes. It is possible to have this perspective in relation to who is in your life and who appears in the news.
- Be willing to listen in on conversations. It is not enough to nod and respond. Reflect on what is being said and take it seriously.
- Meet people. Chat with strangers sitting next to you if they want to talk. Find out what's on their minds, what makes them happy or worries them.
- Question first impressions. If you don't like a group of people or an individual, make an effort to overcome this barrier and get to know them better.