Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lesson #24: Spiritual Fitness Test (Part 1)

This is going to be fun!

I, like many of you, have been studying the path of spiritual growth for years. What I've noticed is that there are several themes or components that are found (in varying measures) in most of the great spiritual systems, both ancient and modern-day, as well as Eastern and Western in origin. I've extracted what I feel are the 14 main spiritual aspects of human life that dictate our ability to make progress on our spiritual paths.

I'm going to present the first seven this week and the second seven next week. Please read through them and rate your "fitness" in that area. This will help you evaluate where you might want to focus some loving attention. You might find that there are aspects of your spiritual life that you've neglected completely, or that there's a particular theme or problem area that you've been struggling with for years. It might help you see how much progress you've made in your life. Please use this tool to help you hone in on where you need to go from here. Rate yourself from 1 to 5:

1=poor   2=needs improvement   3=okay   4=doing well   5=excellent

1.   Following Inner Guidance. Ability to follow your internal guidance (or your heart), which includes information you receive from your Higher Self, angels, ascended masters, etc. Also means distinguishing between voices of lower self and voices of of Spirit.  _______

2.   Knowing Yourself. Knowing who you really are, as a spiritual being having a human experience. Being clear about your likes and dislikes, and predicting and honoring your own needs and responses to people and situations. Sensing how you fit into the grander scheme.  _______

3.   Being Present. Ability to live in the here and now. The ego (lower self) likes to dwell on the past and project into the future, but the Higher Self lives only in the present moment, which is where our power lies. _______

4.   Breathing. Breathing deeply and fully on a regular basis. fear and anxiety can cause us to breathe shallowly or hold our breath, which cuts us off from our higher guidance and the flow of life force energy (also known as chi, ki, or prana).  _______

5.   Higher States. Ability to experience unconditional love, joy, gratitude, faith, forgiveness, etc. These are love-based states, and are the hallmarks of spirit.  _______

6.   Choosing Love. Ability to choose love instead of fear. A Course in Miracles teaches that there are two forces in the universe, love and fear (not good and evil), and that only love is real. In every moment we are choosing between love and fear, and what we choose is what we believe is real.  _______

7.  Surrender. Ability to surrender (worries, control, fear) to a higher power. 12-step programs are successful because they are based on the premise that we have access to a higher power (God, our Higher Self, etc.), and if we feel powerless over something in our lives, we can release the issue to that source for healing.  _______

See you next week.