So I thought that it was time that I share my two cents regarding tips for spiritual growth that I see online.

Tips that are shared to help people deepen their spirituality, and strengthen their relationship with God.

Some of course are good pointers but others, I feel, point people in the wrong direction.

So today, I’m clarifying based on the spiritual experiment, I’ve been conducting since a few years ago, what helps and what doesn’t.

And if seeing spiritual results is important to you the same way someone would want to see fitness results using a complete fitness program, then, this post is for you.

So let’s jump right into it starting with what I believe is not helping those looking to be spiritually fit and preventing them from reaching spiritual excellence.

 

Technology

Beware of apps. Some apps that guide you through meditation or another form of spiritual practice only include the physical and mental aspect but not the spiritual aspect.

And I’m sorry, if the spiritual aspect is missing, how can you connect to your Self AND God. Just sayin’.

So make sure that whatever app you use has exercises or guidelines that tap into all three elements in a connected way AT the same time.

 

Concentrate on the mind.

For one, to concentrate on the mind takes effort because it’s similar to wanting to try to hold down a wild horse. The more you try to tame it and pull on the rope, the more aggressive it gets.

Not a good strategy.

It’s all about adopting the right mindset when one is looking to relax into a meditative state (the Spiritual State) as I like to call it.

Instead of “concentrating” on the mind, one should… “surrender”. Allow the mind to run wild. Eventually it will quiet down on its own.

This leads me to the other tip that I read often I see out there…

 

Quiet/Tame the mind

Again, when entering a meditative state our job is not to quiet or tame the mind.

Of course, it is an end-result that we seek but our role is not to do that during that time. No.

Our role consists of simply “being”.

Our role is to create a distance between us and our mind.

See, most people including those who first start a meditative practice see themselves and their mind being one.

That’s why most people have a hard time being still or at peace, because in this situation, the get wrapped up in the chaos of their mind.

See, one of the spiritual milestone to reach while adopting a spiritual practice is the ability to detach our Selves from our mind or “mind detachment”.

It’s a stage where our Self and mind are two separate elements… with you being able to calmly “watch” it from a distance and not be affected by it.

The analogy I like to use to drive this point home is: people watching.

Don’t know about you but I personally LOVE people watching. Could do it for hours.

And what I do when people watching is simply relax on the bench and watch people around me walk, run, kiss, etc…

I don’t “become” the crowd that I’m watching the same way that I don’t become my mind when going through my spiritual ritual/practice (I call it the “Peaceful State Process” and you can read about here if unfamiliar with it).

I don’t let the chaos that it’s front of me bother me. I just sit there, peacefully enjoying the moment and simply “being” in the moment, in the midst of the chaos BUT not being part of the chaos.

Back to our mind… The mind is a chaotic place.

And similar to people watching we must learn to distance our Selves from it, from the chaos, and learn to not be part of it.

This is done by simply sitting… or rather, “being” there.

 

Yoga poses.

Going through poses doesn’t make you more spiritual even though some body positions can make it easier to turn inward.

With practicing yoga, you’ll be in better physical shape no doubt but not in better spiritual shape (read more about this here).

As long as you’re in a comfortable position that allows you to turn inwards and point 100% of your attention towards God, you’re good to go.

 

Being physically still through the whole meditative process.

To expand on the previous point, the key is to remain comfortable while going through the spiritual practice or ritual. Because it’s by being comfortable that you’re not allowing any distractions, in this case the uncomfortable positions, to take your attention away from God.

So a good rule of thumb is to be in the most comfortable position for yourself.

 

Control your thoughts.

Is it really possible to control our thoughts?

I say No.

But one can influence the nature of the thoughts that come to the surface.

This can be done by focusing on the inner-work needed by leveraging a complete spiritual practice such as The Peaceful State Process (read about it here).

As one gets to do the inner-work, their changing heart will start springing thoughts that align with its redefined value system.

So it’s not so much about controlling your thoughts that it is about controlling the way you go about nurturing our spirituality, that in turns, changes/renew our hearts, which in turn affects the nature of your thoughts.

Thoughts can’t be controlled but their nature can be.

Another thing worth mentioning is the use, again, of the word “control”.

The word “control” should have no place in a meditative and spiritual practice.

Why? because, even though yes, we must control what we can, one of the key skills to develop in life is the ability to “surrender”.

See on the one hand, “surrender” brings healing, helps fight stress, and is not an ego-driven trait.

“Control”, on the other hand, is an ego-driven act that can only bring stress and increase anxiety because there are things in this world that simply cannot be controlled.

“Surrender” facilitates a deeper connection with our Self AND God. Isn’t this the point of a nurtured spirituality? To strengthen the connection to God?

So in order to do that, we must have the right mindset.

A mindset that is conditioned by the words that we use. And yes, words have power.

That’s why I invite you to switch your focus during any spiritual and meditative practice from “control” to “surrender”, which will trigger a different response in the mind… and body.

Do this because when entering that sacred time, the point is to, as I like to say, dive into God.

So surrender.

 

Pay attention to your breathing.

Yes you can do that but to a certain extent. Let me explain.

Remember that our focus or attention must be 100% on God.

When going through a spiritual and meditative ritual, two things at play:

First, one of the benefits of a meditative practice is to help and allow the body to self-regulate, including your breathing.

It’s not something that we should attempt to control. This is again, where the surrender part comes in.

If during the meditative practice you feel a sudden change in your breathing pattern to the point of it being uncomfortable, instead of readjusting it by… controlling it, allow it to continue on that course.

Trust or get to a point where you trust what your body is doing.

As a sidenote, I’d like to share with you my personal observation as it relates to breathing and my perspective resulting from this spiritual experiment I’ve been on for the last few years.

Observation regarding what I’ve come to call Spirit Breath.

As I’ve observed my own changes in breathing patterns while going through the “Peaceful State Process”, I started noticing nuances in the nature of my breathing.

I notice a difference between my regular breathing pattern and a more, sometimes, erratic one.

Because the purpose of the PSP is to strengthen our spirit, I noticed that as my spirit became stronger, those “erratic” patterns would be more frequent and sometimes more pronounced.

And whenever I felt, as strange as this may sound, that my spirit was taking over during the PSP, my breathing pattern would change.

So overtime, I drew my own conclusions, that my spirit was manifesting itself through my breathing.

It’s because of that I got to call this different type of breathing: Spirit Breath.

Strangely enough, the english word “spirit” comes from latin: “spiritus”, which means breath.

So when I recognize the Spirit Breath, I simply let my spirit take over and let it do what it needs to do.

That’s why I don’t control my breathing. Because then it would be me controlling my spirit. So instead, I allow things to take their natural course during that meditative and sacred time.

So next time you feel your breathing pattern change in odd, and maybe uncomfortable, it could just be your Spirit Breath.

So surrender to it its movement.

 

Time spent meditating.

There’s this notion that spiritual excellence can only be achieved by spending hours meditating, which can be true. But it comes down to what we want to get out of our spiritual practice.

The same way one can make working out their job or simply a part of their lifestyle by doing so only a few hours a day in order to reach their fitness goals, the same parallel can be drawn with meditating.

The more time we spend meditating, the greater benefits we naturally can expect to enjoy.

Do we want to the fitness pro, in our case spiritual pro, who’s job is to work out, meditate, or the average person who will dedicate time he can to working out, meditating, because of other life priorities.

If we chose to be the average person, then our focus has to be on the quality of the meditation time rather than the quantity.

When done properly, one can get to the point of being able to get what they need out of their spiritual practice in a few minutes. And it can be done, by learning to get into what I call “Spiritual state” whenever you want (That’s something that can be learned with the Peaceful State Process).

The “Spiritual State” is, according to me, is the place where we are connecting with our spirit and shifting our awareness into the spiritual world or the invisible (sorry. don’t mean to sound so abstract). It’s the same place that one finds themselves in when meditating. A place of spiritual connectedness with the Self and God, a place of profound peace.

Now one of the main benefit of getting into the “Spiritual State” (you can also call it the “Spiritual Zone” if you prefer) is is the fact that it allows to reset body and mind, while instantly plunging them into a pool of peace.

A pool of peace where there is and can be no stress and anxiety, which is the pre-requisite one need to achieve clarity.

So learn to master getting into “Spiritual State” and you won’t need to spend hours meditating in order to enjoy its benefits.

Speaking from experience, once you master that, you’ll be able to “drop” in “Spiritual State” in a split second (contact me if you have questions regarding that. And so you know, the “Peaceful State Process can help you developed this ability. Get it here).

 

Meditating with music

Of course one can (try) to meditate with music. To each their own.

But if one’s primary goal is to strengthen their relationship with God, here’s one thing to remember:

God dwells in silence.

And this is where you and I need to go find Him.

When using music, to me, it would be like meeting a friend for coffee with music in the background. I’d give them my attention, but not all of it? See where I’m going with this?

Part of of brain would be distracted by the music, which would prevent me from being 100% present with my friend.

It works the same way when meeting God during prayer-meditation and having music in the background.

In this case, you’re not giving God what he wants: Our undivided, 100%, attention. So why not give it to him. You’d do the same thing if a friend asked you for your undivided attention, right?

It’s only this way that one can take full advantage of time spent with God… in silence.

It’s also what allows to increasingly be in-tuned with our inner-voice and God’s whisper.

That’s why it’s important to become comfortable with silence as it is the door to experiencing profound inner peace.

Some people will argue that music helps them meditate, which I believe.

I’ll still say to meditate without music because:

  • one wants to learn to become comfortable with silence
  • one want to learn to embrace silence because silence creates the ideal space to enable insights and clarity moments to surface.

Also, the process of being able to overcome the unsettling effect that silence has on some of us is a helpful process to help someone:

  • Better look inwards
  • Learn to look at the darker side within so it can dealt with
  • Face their fears and insecurities head-on.

Silence facilitates going inward and deeper within oneself.

Silence facilitates going deeper within ourselves as God retreats at deeper level of our being for the purpose of helping you grow stronger spiritually.

So learn to embrace the and be comfortable with silence.

Push through this barrier until being in silence is no longer a problem.

 

Needing herbs, objects, to clean the spirit

Based on my experience with the Peaceful State Process, there’s no need to use external physical items to clean the spirit.

The right spiritual practice and ritual should have a healing and cleansing element to it.

If you’re not feeling that your spirit is not being cleansed through your spiritual practice, then it isn’t a complete spiritual practice (I speak more about it here).

See, a spirit gets clean(sed) through the conditioning of the mind, which is facilitated through the reading of holy texts and words of wisdom.

Cleansing is to and can be asked through prayer.

I also recommend always relying on and knowing the source of the healing. One has to make sure that it is a good source. The right source. And if it so happens that you having someone facilitate the cleansing of your spirit, always ask where they spiritually root their ability to do so. Is it in God?

I say this because while all sorts of people have that gift to facilitate such a process, various forms of cleansing and healing bring a different sets of short and long-term benefits, sometimes at a price. This is why it’s important to be educated on where a “healer” gets their “power” from.

So ask the questions and educate yourself on the source they get their “power” from… for your sake.

The same way that we must know where our food comes from, what it’s made out of, its possible side-effects and impact on our personal health, the same due diligence must be done spiritually.

Not all spiritual cleansing methods are necessarily good for you.

Spiritually educate yourself.

 

Praying only being about asking.

I remember growing up and being exposed to the idea that when we need something, we pray to God about it. Sounds familiar?

Now that I’ve been conducting this spiritual experiment for the last couple of years, I’ve come to realize that yes, when in need of something we can pray to, ask, God for what we want need but also that the act of prayer goes beyond simply asking.

Prayer has a more profound purpose that simply helping us getting what we want.

Prayer is actually the best tool to enter into a dialogue with God and should be viewed as such.

Prayer is the best tool to help strengthen one’s relationship with God.

Prayer is the medium between the physical and the spiritual as it is a two-way form of communication between us and God.

So I’ve learned through the “Peaceful State Process” that the focus of prayer is more about engaging a dialogue with God.

And yes, through this dialogue, then can be an ask.

It happens the same way a normal dialogue would take place with a friend, a loved one, a trusted colleague.

Having a dialogue contributes to building a meaningful relationship.

And I’ve found that before starting this spiritual experiment and consciously embarking on this spiritual journey, I had never really build a relationship with God.

I was never taught how or even told that a relationship should be sought after and nurtured when it comes to God.

And to my surprise, the act of prayer as a relationship-building tool there to strengthen one’s relationship with God was a game changer for me:

  • That’s why it’s important that I share this point with you and
  • That’s why it’s an integral part of the “Peaceful State Process”.

So the next time, you feel like praying, why not making more a conversation with God. Expect it to feel “weird” or difficult at first. And this will be totally normal because it feels at first as if you can’t find your bearings.

Simply trust the process and you’ll be fine. Remember that have to crawl before walking and even when we start walking, it isn’t pretty.

Keep at it and before you know it, you’ll feel grounded in God while prayer aka having a dialogue the same way you’d have with a friend and focusing on them (that’s your bearing). Works the same way when chatting with God.

 

Using Mantras.

Should one use mantras or not?

Mantras can be used yes but there’s a “but” in this story.

First, let’s start with definitions:

Mantra: (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.

  • a Vedic hymn.
  • a statement or slogan repeated frequently.

Now. I’d like to expand this definition to a more general one: Being a word or statement repeated in order to shift our focus in God’s direction.

A mantra can be used a way to shift our focus and entire being 100% onto God.

Jesus would use the word “Abba” (means father) in his prayers.

So if we go from this perspective, I recommend that those who use mantras understand their meaning and spiritual origin.

A simple example is this:

If you use a mantra that’s a sound and its meaning is “I am He”, “He” meaning God, common-sense should tell you that maybe this is not the right mantra to use and repeat… unless you believe you are or can be God.

Why? because in this case, you are identifying yourself as God.

I’m not here to tell you what to do or what to believe in but as far as I am concerned, I am not God. There’s a separation between God and I.

Also not all mantras are created equal because some will help shift your focus either to just:

  • Your Self.
  • Your body.
  • Your mind.

That’s why we must choose wisely what mantra we use during a spiritual practice and being educated on its meaning and origin.

Words have power so we must be conscious of what words we use and the impact it can have on us spiritually and physically.

So yes, mantra can be used as a tool to point our whole being in God’s direction with the fine-print being:

  • Understand what it means.
  • Ensure that it aligns with your spiritual values.
  • Being educated on its spiritual origins and meaning to confirm whether there’s an alignment with your spiritual values, your mind, and heart.

 

Focus on the now and be present.

All the time? My answer is no.

No because otherwise doing so leaves no room for the natural flow and rhythm of life to take place.

There’s a natural balance at play between one being alert, one being distracted (aka not present), and being guided by “God’s hand/Spirit”.

When one always tries to be present at all the time, they move themselves into ego-based living. Ego-based living, which is a way of being in control.

And because it becomes about being in control of every moment of your life, it leaves no room for God to work it’s magic in our lives.

God needs that room, those moments where we’re not paying attention and look in the opposite direction from where He’s orchestrating life events for us behind the curtain.

There’s definitely an art to this way of living. It’s a dance with God that we should learn.

So if focusing on now and be present is not something I recommend, which I see as a micro-focus to life, then what’s the alternative?

The alternative would be a macro-focus to life instead.

It being on:

  • Today instead of the now.
  • Being present only when necessary.

Focus on living one day at a time instead of minute to minute.

When we focus more one the day, it leaves God room to work on the details of the day.

It will also allow for His Spirit to lead you where we need to be led.

On this journey, it’s a skill that I’ve had to develop and can be learned (If you want to also learn to develop this skill, click here).

So go from micro to macro-focus.

Live today.

Focus on today instead of the now.

Live in and surrender to the moment to fully appreciate and enjoy it.

Be grateful.

 

Wow ! You made it til the end! That’s amazing. Well I hope that you were able to get at least one insight that can help you grow spiritually. And if you have any spiritual questions you’d like to discuss, let’s have a chat during a Clarity Session, which you can learn more about here

But for now here’s what I’d like to hear from you:

What have have been some tips that you’ve read, or received, that haven’t help you grow spiritually?

Let.me.know in details in the comments below! (by the way, really appreciate you taking the time to read this post and can’t wait to read you in the comments)

Talk soon!

Mick.

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