“Most importantly, the meaning of spirituality lays the seeds for our destiny and the path we must follow.” ~Dennis Banks
When I say spirituality, what comes to your mind?
Something esoteric, for the mystics and gurus, or something for anyone who wants to live life to the fullest?
Today I want to help you better understand what spirituality actually is, and how it can help you create an awesome life.
To start things off, let me tell you the story of the 3 movies that started off my spiritual journey, all the way back in 1999.
7 Years in Tibet
I still remember getting my first taste of spirituality. I was 13 years old.
I watched the movie 7 Years in Tibet with my mom, and as I saw Brad Pitt’s character become friends with the young Dalai Lama, I started discovering the world of Buddhism.
I remember thinking, “Wow, what a different way to live!”
It was the first time I was exposed to the possibility of living a simple, yet fulfilled life.
Contrary to what mainstream society was telling me, these monks didn’t need success, fame, or a big house to be happy.
I started thinking maybe life has to do with what’s inside of us, not just than what’s around us…
Shortly thereafter, I bought my first book about Buddhism and started learning…
A couple years later, I watched another movie that absolutely fascinated me: Braveheart.
Now, you might think, what does Braveheart have to do with spirituality?
Well… William Wallace is a pretty intense dude and an extraordinary leader… because he believes in something so, so firmly.
His unshakable belief allows him to unleash his full human potential, and inspires people to rally behind him even in the face of potential death.
Watching him work his magic got me thinking about the power of believing and having faith in something.
After watching that movie, I not only felt very proud of being 1/8 Scottish, but I also felt incredibly inspired to believe in something…
Life is Beautiful
Shortly after that episode, I watched a 3rd movie that really affected my spiritual life: Life is Beautiful with the incomparable Roberto Benigni.
If you’ve seen it, you know it’s not only a truly wonderful and touching story, but it’s also one that truly highlights the power of the human spirit.
Even under the direst circumstances, Benigni’s character remains positive and enthusiastic, and does his best to make sure his son remains happy, even though they’re living in a Nazi concentration camp.
I realized that I, too, want to be someone who lifts others’ spirit and brings joy to their heart, even when times are tough.
I wondered, “how can I embody the traits I admire so much in the Buddhist Monks, William Wallace and Robert Benigni”?
Over the ensuing years, I kept deepening my spiritual practice. I gained new insights as I travelled the world, met interesting people, and experienced different ways of life.
I was starting to get it, slowly but surely…
Tough Times = Enlightening Times
Even though I was understanding these principles on an intellectual level, it took a time of crisis to help me truly get it.
Because real growth only happens through experience.
Over the first few months of 2012, I went through a dark phase where I felt overwhelmed, and experienced confusion and discouragement.These challenging times forced me to re-evaluate the way I was looking at things.
They also inspired me to study the works of spiritual luminaries such as Wayne Dyer, Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle, Lao Tzu and Thich Nhat Hanh. Learning from the experience of these great masters really expanded my mind, my consciousness, and I feel like a much more grounded person ever since.
Today, I want to share with you the best of what I’ve learned over the last few months and since the beginning of my spiritual journey 13 years ago.
Whether you’re new to the idea of living a spiritual life, or you’ve been on this path for a while, I believe these 10 timeless principles will really help you live a more fulfilled and meaningful life.
1- Change Yourself, Change the World
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi
There are a lot of things that just don’t make sense in the world we live in. Injustice, greed, poverty, disease, hunger…
Many people complain about the system, the government, capitalism and whatnot, but at some point we have to realize that all change starts from within.
If you want the world to be a better place, start by being a better person.
2- Embrace Stillness
“When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.” ~Eckhart Tolle
We live in a world that’s more fast-paced than ever before in history. We’re constantly bombarded with stimuli and new information.
To really get in touch with our inner greatness, we need to be able stop, pause, and reset. A calm mind gives us clarity, confidence and courage.
Meditation, walks/runs in nature and yoga are great ways to still your mind and prepare it for great deeds.
3- Have Faith
“As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.” ~Emmanuel Teney
A few months ago, if you’d asked me if I had Faith, I would have said no.
But I’ve come to realize that in life, with so much uncertainty we have to face, so many ups & downs to go through, it’s super beneficial to believe in something greater than us.
Whether you call it the Universe, God, the Tao, the Force… I truly believe that there’s something more than us at play.
Having Faith helps us believe that everything is unfolding as it should that it’s all going to work out. :)
4- Be Here & Now
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~Lao Tzu
A lot of us spend a lot of our time dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. But the only thing that is REAL is this instant. It’s all we control, it’s all that actually exists.
Being mindful of the present moment helps us be less stressed, connect with others more deeply and create better work.
5- Be in Service to Others
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” ~Ghandi
This is something I’ve discovered fairly recently, but it’s oh-so-important. The easiest way to get happy is to focus on making those around us happy.
When we get out of our own head, of our own challenges, and focus on others… everything starts flowing a lot more easily.
Try it out today: in every interaction you have, see how you can make the other person feel better, either by taking interest in their stuff, giving them a smile, a compliment, a pat on the back…
They will really appreciate it, and I can almost guarantee you’ll feel really good too.
6- We Are All Extraordinary
You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being, not because anybody says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money, but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason. ~Wayne Dyer
Every person on this planet is born with their own gifts, talents, and abilities. We are all unique, beautiful creatures.
We are all deserving of love, friendship and connection. Each and every one of us. Without exception.
Seek validation from within, not from without. Only you can choose if you are worthy.
7- Fear is an Illusion
“Your fear is always about what’s going to happen next, it means that your fear is about what does not exist. If you’re suffering the non-existential, we call that insanity.” ~Sadguru
For so many of us, fear is what stops us from tapping into our true potential. We have an idea, an ambition… but then our ego starts running all kinds of crazy stories about what could go wrong.
We get scared. We give up before we even start.
Fear is normal. Everyone feels it. When you feel fear, that’s a sign that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, into unchartered territories of growth and possibility.
Take a few deep breaths, step forward, and unleash your full potential.
8- Let Go of Attachment
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr
Much of the suffering in this world comes from our attachment to a certain outcome or to a certain scenario. We have a fixed idea of how things should be. We resist what is.
While it’s great to set an intent, a lot of the things that happen in our life we simply have no control over. Whenever something shitty happens, just accept it. It’s already done. You can’t change it.
Move on, and learn whatever you can from this experience.
9- Know Thyself
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” ~Lao Tzu
A big part of living a spiritual life is to really get in-tune with our self, with our feelings and emotions. To be able to recognize certain patterns in our thinking/behaviour and to adjust our course accordingly.
A great way to do this is to start journaling. As you write down your thoughts, your interrogations and insights, you will start to get a lot more clarity into who you really are.
From there, not only can you manage yourself better, but you’ll find it much easier to align yourself with your path.
10- Follow Your Bliss
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”. ~Joseph Campbell
This is perhaps the single most important lesson contained in this post. Follow your bliss, follow what your heart is telling you.
It’s the only way to truly live your life to the fullest.
We’ve been so conditioned to follow what our parents tell us, what society expects of us… that we forget to listen to the part of us that really knows what’s best. Our heart.
Whatever sets your heart on fire, gets you excited, is what you should be spending most of your time doing.
By doing so, you’ll be offering your greatest gifts to the world, you’ll be living with inner peace, bliss, fulfillment and happiness.
My friend, as you can see, these principles are not particularly complex – the challenge comes in their application. Now that you are mindful of them, seek to live these truths every day.
If you can make these 10 truths a part of your everyday life, you will be amazed at how wonderful life can be.
You may not have the peacefulness of a Buddhist Monk, the passion of William Wallace, or the joy and positivity of Roberto Begnini right way, but I promise you’ll get much closer than you’ve ever been.