What I see people do a lot, is have a great intention to change their life so they are super-enthusiastic for a while, and then stop. We all know how unlikely people are to actually keep their new-years resolutions, for instance. The problem is that mere enthusiasm can only get you started. If you want long-term change in your life, you have to start slow, knowing the first spurt of energy won’t last. Instead aim at changing habits. Once you form a new habit, it can carry your practice when the initial enthusiasm is gone. The habit will stabilize your practice, enabling inspiration to come within it.
The problem with following only your enthusiasm is that you will start many things, and give up on them later. The result is not only that you never stick with anything, but also that you lose self-confidence. It is better to do one thing well, than start and stop ten.
2) Do take spiritual holidays / retreats
Spiritual retreats, whether at home or in a center, are a great way to recharge. They can help you realize that the way you normally live is not necessarily the way you have to live. However, to really bring more awareness into your daily life, you will find that you also need a reminder at home. This can be a short morning meditation – for instance simply watching the breath while the coffee (or tea) is getting ready, or it can be taking an hour every Sunday to read a spiritual book.
3) Take all your spiritual reading and listening as practice
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a good intellectual understanding of whatever spiritual tradition you are involved in. However, if you want to use it as a tool to transform your life, you do need to use it as a mirror on your own life, personality and relationships.
When the pastor talks about forgiveness, don’t think about that guy who needs to learn to forgive you. Think instead of grudges you can let go of. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to let people walk all over you.
When you share a beautiful quote on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, take a moment to really let it sink in for YOU NOW. Turn away from the screen and take a deep breath, thinking about the quote you just read.
This was written at the request of Gaiam TV