Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feeling Grateful For The Blessings In Your Life

Today is one of those days that I have been feeling amazingly grateful to God and the Universe for all my blessings. And it’s not because things are going just “perfectly well” in my life (as usually people call it). In fact, life has been quite tough lately. But amazingly, I feel grateful and I feel that things are fine. I guess this feeling in itself is a blessing.

We all have so often read about how being spiritual requires one to feel grateful for what we have rather than be resentful of what we don’t have. It’s easier said than done. I know. It’s easy to feel grateful when life is all peachy. But when life is tough, gratefulness is one thing which is so far away from your mind. So, is it OK to feel resentful and not feel grateful? Perhaps not.

Because the more resentful we feel, the further we wander away from gratefulness and from our spiritual self. We don’t want to do that. Resentment is fine as long as we use it for our own advantage and get positive things out of it. We should not allow it to take us over. Because once it does take us over, we become bitter and we hate everything around us. We hate our self. We hate our loved ones. And we hate God. But how do we feel grateful when the going gets tough?

Many spiritual teachers say that by focusing on the good things in life and thanking the Universe for them can help us feel grateful. You just need to keep repeating these thank you statements to yourself. This may work for some. This may work some times. But what to do when it doesn’t work?

I don’t often consciously say thank you to God for all my blessings. But when I do think about the tough times I have had in the past and the miraculous strength and miraculous help that I received, I am just amazed. People I hadn’t met for years showing up to solve a problem. Almost lost my life and yet survived. Left with almost no money and no physical strength to do a job and yet from nowhere blessed with an opportunity to earn and have a career working from home. And I could go on and on here.

Just thinking about these miraculous occurrences is enough to bring tears in my eyes. And I actually cry. The only difference is that they are tears of joys. And gratefulness just surrounds me. I am grateful to God. And I just can’t stop thanking God for all that. And once I stop crying, I realize that I will be OK. Because God has always been there helping me out, saving me, protecting me, guiding me, and taking care of me.

What I am trying to say is that feeling grateful is not something that can be achieved by just saying a few statements to yourself. Feeling grateful is a feeling. Feel it. Thinking about the past helps me feel grateful. Perhaps there is something else that makes you feel grateful. It could be the smile on the face of your children. It could be the laughter of your life partner. It could be just the comfort of your house.

It could be anything. Just feel it. Feel grateful for it. Let the feeling surround you. And then thank God, thank the Universe for it. You will be amazed at how wonderful the feeling of being grateful is. You will be surprised at the strength and the calmness that descends over you once you have thanked God.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Meditation Can Do For You

For centuries, meditation has been practiced by yogis and monks. Its healing values have impressed many over the years. And it has been acclaimed as one of the most beneficial practices for not only spiritual growth, but also for physical, emotional, and mental growth. Spiritual growth and healing was considered to be the objective of meditation earlier on. But now meditation is being suggested for healing of the body as well as of the mind. So, what can meditation do for us?

In my opinion, meditation is definitely one of the key practices for spiritual growth and enrichment. But its advantages go much beyond that. And what’s more, I don’t think that there is any one way to meditate. The way meditation is practiced depends on the individual. As long as the idea is to spend some quiet, relaxing time with yourself and your thoughts, it doesn’t matter how it is practiced.

Coming back to what meditation can do for you; here are some of the benefits that an individual can expect from the regular practice of meditation:

* Meditation heals the mind, body, and spirit

Healing is one of the benefits that one can expect from meditation. Meditation provides the much needed rest to the mind. It helps quiet the mind by giving it a break from the troubling thoughts that constantly plague the human mind. This way it provides an opportunity for the mind to heal.

The action of deep and relaxed breathing provides more oxygen to the body and brain and helps heal the imbalances in the body. And of course, meditation is healing to the spirit. A neglected, often, battered spirit gets the much needed attention that is required for the growth of a human being.

* Meditation helps one to get in touch with the inner voice

One of the main objectives of spirituality is to connect with the inner voice, to be able to listen to the inner voice, and to truly understand what an individual really wants. This is where meditation plays a very important role.

When we meditate, we are able hear this very low and quiet voice of our inner being. We are able to hear this inner voice over the loud noises of the outside world and our own thoughts. Meditation helps quiet these loud noises and we are able to hear our inner voice. The voice, which should be and is, our true guide in this whole wide world.

* Meditation improves our decision-making abilities

Each and every day and each waking moment, we are constantly making decisions. Whether small or big, making decisions can sometimes become overwhelming for an individual. There are occasions when the constant pressure and stress can force us make not so good decisions. In fact, it can force us to make bad decisions, which we might regret later.

Meditation reduces the effects of these daily pressures. It clears the mind. It provides renewed energy in the body and mind. It improves our analytical abilities, which are so crucial in decision-making.

* Meditation helps us get rid of fears, doubts, and worries

Fears, doubts, and worries can be a big obstacle in the path of individual growth and success. It can stop an individual from going after his/her dreams. It can prevent an individual from treading beyond the usual path. It can come in the way of an individual realizing and going after his/her life’s purpose. Meditation helps in calming the mind. It helps in accepting one’s fears and worries. It helps us in managing them and overcoming them. When fears and worries are handled effectively, we are all set to move towards our life’s goals and objectives.

* Meditation improves our focus and our memory

If the mind is calm and collected, it is free from distractions. It is better able to focus on the present moment. It is better able to perform the task at hand. Meditation does this for us. It improves our focus. It keeps the mind free from distractions. Better focus means awareness of the present moment and awareness of the actions and events of the present. If our focus is better, memory will be better. We will remember events and actions much more clearly and for a much longer time.

* Meditation makes you happier

Anger, fear, sadness, or being upset are emotions which are much too familiar to all of us. When they get out of control, they often cause a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. Meditation helps us understand our emotions. It helps us understand the reason why we react the way we do.

Better understanding of emotions means more control over the way we feel generally or in a particular situation. It helps us effectively manage the way we react to another individual or to a situation. We understand that we are responsible for our emotions and reactions. Happiness as such is, therefore, more likely.

* Meditation helps achieve our goals

If we are calm, we can see our goals much clearly. How we can get there is also something which is clearer to us. Meditation can help us do this. The time that we spend alone with our thoughts helps realize what our goals are, how to divide our goals into smaller goals, and how to proceed in a step-by-step fashion to achieve these smaller goals one by one. This is what some quiet time with ourselves can do for us.

* Meditation helps in controlling chronic diseases, chronic pain, and psychological disorders

Dealing with chronic pain and chronic diseases becomes easier with meditation. The practice of regular meditation lowers the breathing rate, controls the blood pressure and heart rate, and provides an effective way to reduce chronic pain.

Chronic pain is often aggravated by the frustration and irritation they cause an individual. But if the individual accepts these feelings of irritation and frustration, he/she is much more in control. Meditation provides benefits for asthma patients by not only making breathing easier, but also controlling the stress level of an individual.

Not only this, meditation is also beneficial to individuals who suffer from anxiety and mood disorders as it calms them down and helps them be in more control of their emotions.

These are only a few benefits that one can expect from meditation. It has been widely accepted now that the spirit is not the only aspect of the individual that is benefited by the regular practice of meditation. It is equally advantageous to the mind and the body. It doesn’t matter how you practice meditation. What matters is that you spend some time alone with your thoughts and emotions each day.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Develop Your Intuition: What You Should Keep In Mind

Many successful people acknowledge the fact that their intuition has always been a guiding force in helping them achieve success. But how does intuition work? Is it that only successful people have intuition? Or is it that people who are intuitive are the ones who succeed? Or is it that people who are able to improve and use their intuition are the ones who succeed? What should we keep in mind if we want to develop intuition?

I think everyone has the power of intuition. But intuition seems to come easily to some people and not to others. Why? The difference is that some of us are able to recognize, understand, and trust our intuition and some of us are not able to do this. Some of us have enough courage to follow the guidance of our intuition whereas some others don’t have it in us. Some of us want more out of life and are willing to go out and try a road not usually traveled whereas some prefer the security and status quo of our present lives. Some of us are able to use our fears to our advantage whereas others, unable to overcome it, remain confined by them.

Developing intuition is a process and it’s not as easy or as difficult as many of us think. But there are certain things that we need to keep in mind, if we want to develop our intuition. Here are a few things that can help you if you want to develop your intuition:

* You need time and patience

If you want to develop your intuition, you need to spend some time doing it and you need patience to develop it. It is not for someone who wants and expects to get quick results. Even if you do get some good results quickly it may either be because the groundwork had already been done or because the results are just a fluke. And if you don’t get quick results, don’t lose heart; continue working to develop your intuition.

* You need to meditate

You may call it meditation. Or you may call it spending some quiet time with yourself. But if you want to develop your intuition, meditation is a wonderful exercise to help you do that. So, spend about 30 minutes of quiet time with yourself. The idea of meditation is to feel completely at peace and be completely calm. Once you are calm and focused, you can introduce an intention such as “I want to be intuitive” or a question such as “What should I do to develop my intuition?” Spend about 5 minutes repeating this intention or question.

* You need to learn about how you feel different emotions

If you want to develop your intuition, you need to understand your emotions. For the inexperienced, intuitive feelings can often be confused with other emotions. It is therefore, very important that you begin by understanding how you and your body feels when you are scared, angry, happy, worried etc. An intuitive feeling is what is called gut feeling by most of us. Intuition feels differently. But if we don’t know how our other emotions feel to us, we will not always know how intuition feels to us.

* You need to understand your beliefs and how you think

Our emotions and our impressions are often based on personal beliefs and can often come in the way of developing intuition. These beliefs and prejudices are often so deeply ingrained within our minds that we can often misunderstand the feelings that arise from them and consider them as intuition. But the truth is that this feeling is based on your deeply-ingrained beliefs. So, before you attempt to develop your intuition, try and learn about your personal beliefs and prejudices. They can be confused as intuition and can interfere in the process to develop your intuition.

* You need to maintain an intuition journal

It is important that you get in the habit of maintaining an intuition journal while you are trying to develop your intuition. Maintain a journal in which you can write your hunches, insights, or your gut feelings about a person or a situation. You can look back at them at a later point and see whether they were correct. If you were wrong, then it was probably not intuition. If you were correct, try and see what role your intuition played in this. Try to analyze and find out where this feeling came from. Was it just good judgment? This exercise will help you understand the difference between your logical thoughts and your intuitive feelings.

* You need to practice intuition for yourself

One thing which often people forget while trying to develop intuition is that they are doing it for themselves and not for someone else. Some people want to be intuitive because they want to impress others. This is not what your intuition is for. Your intuition is for helping you and not for showing off to others. Your intuition will not help you much if it is being used for some frivolous purposes. So, make sure that you are clear about your purpose and you don’t use your skills to show off to others.

* You need to develop your knowledge and information

Intuition will not work for you if you don’t have the required knowledge and information about a particular area. If you have no knowledge about developing software for your business, you cannot develop it through intuition. What you need to do here is learn about things that you should look for while choosing a software professional, where you can find one, how much money you will need to spend, etc. Once you have gathered all the information and learnt enough to be able to hire a software professional, intuition can help you. It can help you choose someone you can trust or choose one among equally good candidates. So, learn about your particular situation before using your intuitive abilities in that area.

* You need to follow your intuition with actions

So, you are working at developing your intuition. And you even get some brilliant ideas with its help. But if you don’t follow them up with the correct actions, you will soon lose whatever intuitive skills you have picked up. So, when your intuition says that you should change your career, trust it. Ask more questions about how and why you should change your career. Follow the guidance of your intuition. Make sure to take action when you are working to develop your intuition.

In the road to success, intuition can play a very important role. But make sure that you put in enough work into the process to develop your intuition. This can help you in achieving your goals and get what you want in your life. Once you begin to recognize, trust, and follow your intuitions with the correct actions, there is no one on this earth that can stop you from turning your dreams into reality.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Karma and Spirituality

We often use the word Karma in our every day language. It means various things to different people. For some people, Karma is something that one has no control over. For others, it is simply bad fortune or fate. And then there are others who consider Karma as the law of cause and effect. I guess everyone has their own theory about Karma. Different people have a different interpretation. Different religions have different views. People from different countries have different opinions. But what exactly is Karma?

I will not claim that I know a lot about the concept of Karma as has been accepted by different religions. But I do know one thing. All religions speak about Karma in some form or the other. In my opinion, Karma is an important aspect of leading a spiritual life. This is my interpretation of Karma. Most of it has been influenced by what I have read over the years. And what I have derived is what I felt will help me be more spiritual and more at peace.

* Karma is intention

Karma comes from the intention that we have. Each thought that we have, each word that we speak, and each action that we take stems from an intention. If our intentions are bad, the chances are that the effects will be bad.

So, if we are distributing food to the poor, but our intention is to become popular by doing this act, the intention is bad and the Karma we generate is bad. Such actions will only generate unhappiness, distress, and bad health for us. But if our intention is actually to help out the poor by providing food for them, then our intention is good and our Karma is good. A good intention will lead to happiness, peace, and good health.

One of the most important aspects of spirituality is intentions. When we lead a spiritual life, we learn to identify our intentions, understand them, modify them, and use it for the goodness of the whole world. This is what Karma is. Good intentions.

* Karma is awareness

But what if we are unaware of our real intentions? Is our Karma affected in such a situation? If we make a mistake once and learn from it, we still have to face the consequences. But since we have learnt from our mistake, we can prevent the bad consequences in future. But if we keep making the same mistake again and again, the consequences will go from bad to worse.

Similarly, if our intentions behind a particular action are not good, but we are not aware of it, the Karma generated will be bad. But we can reduce the effects or nullify its effects by becoming aware of our intention. But if we keep acting the same way with the same intentions, we increase the bad Karma that we generate. So, just because we are ignorant doesn’t mean that we are above Karma.

Spirituality helps us become aware of our intentions. When we understand our intentions, we are no more the ignorant fools that we have always been.

* Karma is taking responsibility for your actions

The cause and effect philosophy of Karma helps us take responsibility for our thoughts, words, and actions. If we have bad thoughts, we have bad Karma. We should take responsibility for thinking inappropriately. If we say words that hurt others, we have bad Karma. We should take responsibility for speaking inappropriately. If we act wrongly, we have bad Karma. We should take responsibility for our actions.

So, Karma basically helps us take more responsibility. Instead of pointing the finger towards the outside, Karma tells us that we should actually look inside. Just because someone else has hurt us, an act of revenge is not justified. Just like the other person is responsible for his/her actions, we are responsible for ours.

This is where leading a spiritual life really helps us. Spirituality helps us take more responsibility for our emotions, our spoken words, and our actions. When we take responsibility for our feelings, words, and acts, it becomes much easier for us to manage them, manage our life, and be at peace.

* Karma is free will

Often, people have equated Karma with “no free will”. Again, I don’t know how much of it is true. But for me Karma is free will. Karma is not just a result of our past actions. It is also the result of our present actions. And all our accumulated bad Karma from the past can actually be gone with one powerful act done with the best of intentions.

So, when you act with good intentions in the present, your Karma accumulated from the past may not really stop you from getting good results in the present. Your present intention and action are very powerful tools in your hands. One blessing from a person-in-need can actually wash a lot of it away.

Spirituality teaches us how to handle the present situation in the best possible way. It helps us stay focused on the task at hand. It keeps us be aware of our motives. It helps us avoid any distractions. And this is how leading a spiritual life takes us towards a better and a more wholesome life.

* Karma is action without expectation
The core of Karma is intention. The core of Karma is acting without expecting anything. So, when we go out to help someone, we should do it without expecting anything in return. We should not expect that someday we will need a favor and this individual will return it. Again our intention here is getting something and not helping someone.

So, don’t choose to help only those people who you think can help you in the future. Help everyone, whether friend or foe with the intention of helping and without expecting anything.

Spirituality helps us be unselfish. Karma is unselfishness and leading a spiritual life will make us think and act in this way. If we have a talent, we should choose to help everyone with it and not choose those we want to help. This is what spirituality does for us.

As I mentioned, this is my understanding of Karma. In no way do I intend to go against the tenets of Karma as propounded by different religions. I have just taken this word and this concept to have a more spiritual way of thinking and living. And with the best of intentions, I hope that they can also help someone else.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Build Self-Confidence - Handling a Stressful Situation

Self-confidence is very important to achieve success in life. Sometimes and in some situations we tend to feel very low in self-confidence. Doubts, fears, and worries which may seem to appear suddenly in a particular situation can lead to sub-standard performance which in turn leads to failure.

No one likes to fail. But an individual, who is already low in self-confidence, will react more negatively to failure. In such a situation, failure can really shatter our self-confidence. So, what should we do when we have doubts about our abilities to handle a situation or overcome a negative situation? How can we build our self-confidence in such a situation?

Some of these tips will undoubtedly help to build self-confidence in a stressful situation:

* Deep breathing

In a stressful situation, deep breathing can really help build self-confidence. When we are stressed out or under pressure, our breathing tends to get heavier and quicker. If we continue to breathe abnormally, we can even get a panic attack in a stressful situation. Breathing deeply tends to calm us down and helps us see things much clearly.

So, if you are in a stressful situation and need to build your self-confidence, just practice some deep breathing. Sit straight, close your eyes, and take slow and deep breaths. Within a few seconds, you will begin to feel calm and in much more control of the situation. Continue to practice deep breathing until you feel calm and can feel the energy and zest required to handle the situation in an effective manner.

* Visualize yourself handling the situation

A new and unfamiliar situation does tend to make us feel low in self-confidence. Visualization is a great exercise that can help us practice handling the situation and build self-confidence. So, after you begin to feel calm with the help of deep breathing, just visualize yourself going into that situation and dealing with it.

So, if your situation involves confronting your boss about that much deserved raise, visualize yourself talking to your boss about why you deserve a raise. It’s a great way to practice exactly what you want to say and how you want to sell yourself so that you can achieve your objective. Visualization not only builds self-confidence, but it also helps you practice various ways to handle a situation and choose the best way to get the best results.

* Use positive self-talk

Negative thinking in a stressful situation can only do damage to your efforts to build self-confidence. Positive self-talk can keep those nagging doubts and negative thinking at bay. Once you have visualized yourself handling the situation, you are actually quite prepared to handle it. So, there isn’t any valid reason for doubting your abilities.

But to further build your self-confidence in a stressful situation, have a practical and valid positive answer for every negative thought that comes into your mind. So, if you are scared that you might just forget the words while giving a lecture to 500 people, you should have a positive answer that conveys the message that you thoroughly remember your speech and in the event that you do forget your words, you will know how to handle the situation such as having a written transcript of the speech.

* Surround yourself with positive and helpful people
Surrounding yourself with positive people in a stressful situation can really build self-confidence. In situations where you doubt your abilities, such people can really act as a positive influence. They can help you replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. They can help refute all your claims of how you don’t have what it takes.

So, if you want to build self-confidence in a stressful situation, be among such people. Often, when we are low in self-confidence, we tend to avoid being with people. This is not a good idea, especially if we have doubts about our abilities. Positive people can help you see the truth for what it is. They can help allay your fears and doubts and show you how meaningless and unfounded they are. They can help you feel safe and at the same time help you realize that even if you do fail or don’t perform well, they will still be there helping and supporting you.

While heading into any stressful situation, building your self-confidence can really help. If you still have too many doubts about your abilities, it is quite possible that there are deeper issues involved here.

However, a little fear and a little stress is not a bad thing. A little bit of these things helps us be fully prepared and prevents us from being over-confident. We might very well surprise ourselves and our friends with the more than prefect way we handle the situation. So, the next time you are faced with a situation where you feel stressed out, try these tips to build self-confidence.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

The Benefits of Spirituality: How Can Being Spiritual Help You

Spirituality is a way of living. If one learns to be spiritual and incorporates spirituality into one’s life in every way possible, one can expect benefits in many ways and in many areas of one’s life. Spirituality is oneness of mind, body, and spirit. And we can expect it to prove beneficial to all these three aspects of our individual being.

It doesn’t matter how you incorporate spirituality in your life. Whether you learn to meditate, or whether you begin to spend a part of your time getting involved in a totally unselfish deed. The fact is that being spiritual will help you reap benefits in many areas of your life. Here are some of the benefits that you can expect from spirituality:

* Spirituality helps you stay calm and focused

The first thing one can experience when one begins to lead a spiritual life is much more calmness and much more focus. The spirit is calm. And the mind is focused. Everything seems to be much clearer and much easier to deal with. It feels as if there was a heavy burden on our chest. And this has suddenly been lifted.

This leaves the mind calm. Focusing on the task at hand becomes much easier. Distractions are reduced. And everything that you do seems to come easily. Everything that you do seems to be absolutely the right thing to do. This is the magical effect of spirituality.

* Spirituality helps heal the body

The mind and spirit of a spiritual individual is calm and collected. There is clarity in the mind, no distractions, and the mind is absolutely calm. This has a wonderful effect on one’s own body. Years and years of abuse of the spirit, the mind, and the body leaves the body diseased, weak, and unhealthy.

When the spirit is at peace and the mind is calm, the body will automatically begin to heal. An individual who begins to lead a spiritual life can expect his body to slowly heal and recover from years of abuse. An individual begins to feel healthier and much stronger. Spirituality does wonders for one’s body.

* Spirituality helps in disease management

A spiritual life heals the body. Chronic diseases can slowly and steadily be controlled, if not cured, with spirituality. Diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases can be controlled by leading a spiritual life. Diseases such as addiction, depression, and schizophrenia can also be managed by spirituality.

There are diseases that modern science is still struggling to find a cure for. But till the time that a cure can be found, the one thing that we all can do is manage and control these diseases. If one has diabetes, a physician’s advice is to learn how to manage the disease. One is even advised about ways to live one’s life. But living a spiritual life often includes everything that the physician advises. Spirituality can help manage these chronic and often progressive diseases.

* Spirituality helps one get through difficult times

If one leads a spiritual life, the philosophy of “this too shall pass” becomes easy to follow. Spirituality helps us understand that difficult times are a test of our strengths. It helps us understand that tough times will help us come out stronger than ever before. It helps us accept that we have no control over our circumstances, but we can definitely control how we choose to handle them. It helps us understand that it’s not going to last. It will end. Sooner or later it will end. Yes, this too shall pass.

* Spirituality helps one make better decisions

Being spiritual means a calm and focused mind. A calm and focused mind is able to look at and understand a situation better. It is better able to analyze the situation. Comparing the pros and cons of each way of dealing with a situation becomes easy. Making the right decision becomes easier. One is in fact more likely to make the right decision. When decisions are right, actions are bound to be appropriate. This is how spirituality can help an individual in everyday life.

* Spirituality helps one be intuitive

If one is spiritual, intuitiveness will develop. Decision-making is often a very logical and analytical step. But often logic and analysis are not enough to help make decisions. We need our intuitive abilities. We need our gut instinct. This is where spirituality helps. It helps develop our intuitive abilities. It helps us use our intuitive abilities effectively. It helps us understand when we need to use these abilities. It helps us understand when it’s our intuition which is guiding us.

* Spirituality helps manage emotions

A spiritual individual knows how to deal with his/her emotions and understands them well. Emotions are an important part of our whole being and of our whole experience of living. They help us grow as an individual. They help us be human. But excessive anger is a problem. But spirituality helps us stay calm and manage our anger. Excessive fear is a problem. But being spiritual helps us understand our fears and face them effectively. This is another benefit which one can expect if one leads a spiritual life.

* Spirituality helps one achieve one’s goals

Success cannot elude a spiritual person. A spiritual person is better at making decisions, taking appropriate actions, staying focused on one’s goals, and accepting success with gratitude. All these things are necessary if one needs to achieve one’s goals. Spirituality helps in identifying one’s goals and also in following the right path towards achieving them. Spiritual people are always grateful for all their success which helps them further in achieving their goals.

* Spirituality helps in better relationships

A spiritual person is more likely to be able to understand a situation from another person’s perspective. If one understands and respects the thoughts and emotions of the other person, the relationship can become stronger. The chances of it turning into a long-term and successful relationship go up. Spirituality helps in building strong relationships and helps in sustaining them forever also.

Again, there are many benefits that one can expect from being spiritual. This is in no way a complete list. But, it does give an individual an idea of what one can expect from spirituality. If better decision-making, better intuitive abilities, better relationships, and abilities to effectively manage your emotions and achieving your goals are what you are looking for, then spirituality might just be the right thing for you.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Positive Thinking: The Magic of Your Thoughts

If we want to succeed in life, we need to think positively. Our thoughts are often responsible for where we are today in our lives. Our thoughts today will be responsible for what we are tomorrow. We are our thoughts. Our future will depend on the thoughts we harbor today. Positive thinking is important if want to achieve our goals.

If we don’t think positively and we have thoughts about being unhealthy, poor, and insecure, the chances are that this is what we will get a few weeks or few years down the line. These thoughts act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. With negative thoughts we are often caught up in a vicious cycle which becomes difficult to break as we spend more and more time with them.

If we are afraid of losing our job, the chances are that we will constantly be thinking about it. The decisions and actions that are followed by these thoughts will be based on fear and insecurity and not on facts. Anything that is based on fears and insecurities is bound to fail and let us down. And poor decisions and poor actions will lead to failures. Failures lead to our confidence going further down. When our confidence goes down, our thoughts become more negative. And so it goes on.

Think positively. It’s easier said than done. But then positive thinking is not impossible also, right? So how can you actually break this vicious cycle of negative thoughts? Well, there is a way. You just need to understand it, adapt it to your particular situation, use it for your own good, and stick to it no matter what. Now what is this plan?

Just like negative thinking leads to failures, positive thinking leads to success. It sounds very simple, but it isn’t always that easy. So, here’s how you can break this vicious cycle and begin to think positively:

Positive thinking requires you to identify your negative thoughts

The solution is in the problem itself. Half the job is done when we identify the problem. So, if you want to begin thinking positively, you need to understand the problem. And the problem is your thoughts.

So, watch them. Make a note of all your thoughts, especially which occur frequently. Write these negative thoughts down. You will often see how similar these thoughts are. You will also see how one negative thought is always followed by another and then another.

Positive thinking requires you to keep a watch on your negative habits

Years of thinking negatively often lead to words and actions which become a habit. Even if the thoughts disappear, the habits remain. Positive thinking requires you to identify these negative words and actions that are preventing you from living a good and happy life.

These actions are based on years of having thoughts of fear, scarcity, and insecurity and they are of no good for you. These negative behaviors act as fuel to the fire and reinforce your negative thoughts. Note down these negative behaviors.

Positive thinking requires you to stop these negative thoughts

Well, the negative thoughts have been identified and so have the negative behaviors. But if you want to think positively, you need to stop these negative thoughts. A very simple technique which works great is to just watch your thoughts.

As your thoughts follow one another, just stop whatever you are doing and silently watch them. Within a few seconds or minutes, they will stop. Don’t analyze or force yourself to stop them. Just watch, be kind to yourself, and let them disappear on their own.

Positive thinking requires you to replace your negative thoughts

Just stopping the negative thoughts will not help you think positively. Our minds are constantly thinking. And if there are no positive thoughts, the negative ones will stay on. You need to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones.

So, if your thought says, “I will never be able to buy a house”, it should be replaced with, “I will save and plan to buy a house of my own”. So, for each negative thought that you had written down in the first step, find a positive one. Write down all your positive thoughts.

Positive thinking requires you to practice your positive thoughts

Now that you have your positive thoughts, you need to learn to replace the negative ones with the positive ones. The best way to do this is to practice them by repeating them again and again. You can make flash cards and write down one positive thought on one card.

They should be your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning. They should be your last thoughts as you drift into sleep at night. Keep these flash cards with you wherever you go. Look at them whenever you get the time during the day. Let positive thinking become a habit for you.

Positive thinking requires you to practice positive actions

Practicing your positive thoughts will help you get started towards positive thinking and living positively. But remember the wrong and negative actions that have become a habit? They need to be checked also. You need to learn to replace them too.

So, if you want to buy a house and you have been avoiding all discussions and information about it, you need to replace it with a positive action. The positive action in this case will be to actually look out for information which might help you in your plan.

For example, ask people who have actually been successful in buying a house. The idea is to get as much information and detail that can help you make a plan for buying that house which you thought you never could. You will buy that house. It may be a few months down the line or a few years down the line. So, for every negative habit or behavior, learn and practice a positive one.

Positive thinking is very important, if we want to fulfill our dreams and achieve our goals. Our thoughts are indeed very powerful tools. Negative thoughts will prevent us from growing as individuals, building our confidence, being proactive, and in getting the life we want.

If we understand how much these negative thoughts are actually preventing us from getting the life we want, we will be more convinced about the necessity of thinking positively. So replace the negative with the positive and slowly and steadily move towards achieving your goals.

Read more articles

Why Personal Development is Necessary

How to Develop Your Intuition 

How to Control Your Anger 

Copyright © Roohi Khan - 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What is spirituality?

The answer to the question “What is spirituality?” is often different. For some, it is associated with religion. And for some it is associated with the supernatural. And then there are others who believe that being spiritual means attaining enlightenment. It definitely does mean different things to different people.

Since it is a concept which cannot really be defined using words which are acceptable to the whole world, I will be just focusing on what spirituality means to me. Here are certain things which I think are associated with spirituality:

Spirituality means oneness of the body, mind, and spirit

Body, mind, and spirit are part of an individual’s being. All these three things together make an individual. When these different parts of an individual are not connected to each other or are in some kind of disharmony, one can expect the individual to suffer physically, mentally, or emotionally. A spiritual person, on the other hand, is above all this suffering. Why?

This is because a spiritual individual allows the spirit to guide his/her mind and the body to follow the instructions of the mind. This is what the purpose of spirituality is.

Spirituality means surrendering to a Higher Power

All our lives we struggle to control our personalities, our relationships, our careers, and others. But spirituality requires us to let go of this behavior. A spiritual person does not attempt to control each and every thing in his/her outside world. Rather a spiritual person surrenders himself/herself to a Higher Power. You may call it a Higher Power. You may refer to it as God. Or you may choose to surrender to the Universe.

We name it because it makes things easier and clearer for us. But the key factor in being spiritual is actually surrendering. This is the purpose of spirituality. Letting yourself be guided rather than trying to control everything. This is because control is the cause of suffering. Surrendering is the key to peace.

Spirituality means understanding your inner self

We as human beings focus too much on the outside. There is too much focus on the material possessions. How we look. How we dress. How big is our house. Agreed, all these things are necessary to survive in this world. But the problem arises when we want to too much of this material world. We are always focused on getting something bigger than what we presently have. There is nothing wrong with that too.

But somewhere in this process we lose touch with our inner self. Our inner self gets neglected, suppressed, and ultimately forgotten. But our inner self is the one that holds the key to our happiness and satisfaction. A spiritual person is more focused on the satisfaction of his/her inner self and less focused on the satisfaction from the outside world. Spirituality is about working on the satisfaction of the inner self. This is because the outside world can never give us lasting satisfaction and happiness.

Spirituality means being grateful

We often even forget to say thank you. Forget about feeling thankful. Whereas saying “thank you” and “please” and “sorry” are words which are meant to make us more human and more spiritual, its not so in today’s world. It’s become more of a mechanical thing than an emotional thing. We say it because we are supposed to. But how often do we actually mean it or feel it?

For a spiritual person, these are not mere words. A spiritual person means it and feels it. And that’s not all. Being grateful does not only mean being thankful to others. It means being grateful for what we have and what we will be blessed with in the future. The fact that we are alive is enough to be grateful for. Spirituality is intended to help us be more grateful.

Spirituality means being honest

Often we find that we are dishonest to others. We are dishonest to our own self. We are even dishonest to God. Spirituality and dishonesty cannot go hand in hand. A spiritual person is honest to himself/herself, to God, and to others. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “honesty is the refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in anyway”. I think the key word here is “deceive”.

When our intention is to deceive someone, we are intentionally or unintentionally hurting them. When we are deceiving our own self or God, we are allowing our own self to get stuck in a vicious cycle of dishonesty, deception, guilt, and more dishonesty. The only way to get out of this cycle is to be honest. This is where spirituality takes us. It takes us towards honesty and thus towards inner peace and harmony.

Spirituality means being unselfish

It is often said that human beings are by nature selfish. But this is because individuals are so detached from their spirit. An individual’s spirit is never selfish. If we are more in tune with our spirit and allow it to guide our mind and body, we will find that there is no fear and we will get involved in more unselfish acts for the betterment of humankind in general.

Yes, unselfishness is the key to the survival of this world. Selfishness is what will ultimately lead to the destruction of this earth. A spiritual person is unselfish, always willing to work for others, and is not afraid of anything. This is where spirituality leads us. To a place where there is no fear, no selfishness, but only harmony and peace.

Spirituality means finding our own purpose

A spiritual person considers himself/herself to be one with the universe and to be a small part of the whole. When we think and feel that we our part of this whole universe, it helps us realize that each individual is an equal and important part.

The universe will not be complete if any one of us was missing. We all have a purpose and we are all part of it. This is what spirituality helps us in doing. It helps us realize that we are all equal and it helps us realize that we all have a purpose to fulfill. Spirituality helps us find that purpose.

As I am writing this, there are so many other things that I feel that spirituality is about. But at the same time, I also feel that at this point in time, I have covered most of the important aspects of what I think spirituality is. And I know that being spiritual is what leads to peace, harmony, happiness, satisfaction, and the feeling that we are living our life to the fullest.

Read more articles

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Copyright © Roohi Khan - 2009 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Personal Development is Necessary to Achieve Goals

If we want to achieve our goals, we cannot do it without our own personal development. If we don’t work on improving ourselves or if we stop working on ourselves, we greatly reduce our chances of being successful in fulfilling our dreams. Whether it is our childhood beliefs or our fears about the future, the truth is they all work as barriers in the process to achieve our goals. So how does personal development help us achieve our goals?

Personal development can help us achieve our goals in many ways. Very simply put, the steps required in personal development are the same steps that are required to achieve our goals. What are these steps you may ask? Here are the steps that are essential for our own personal development and that can help us achieve our goals:

Personal Development requires us to learn from our past hurts and disappointments
No personal development program can be complete without looking at our past. And our past can act as a huge barrier in helping us achieve our goals. We have to look at our past to grow as an individual and as a member of the human society.

Most of us believe that the past should be forgotten and we should move on with our lives. But there is a very thin line between resolving our past and suppressing our past. When we ignore or suppress our past, we keep repeating our mistakes again and again.

When we learn from our past, we minimize the chances of making the same mistake again. This is what is called personal development. Besides this how many times do we end up asking ourselves, “Why does it keep happening to me?” How about asking ourselves, “Is my past controlling me because I haven’t learnt from it?”

Personal Development requires us to identify our fears and doubts about the future
The future can be scary for many of us. If we are fearful about the future, we cannot grow as humans and we cannot even think about achieving our goals. We often have a lot of “what if” questions in our minds which stop us from living our life to the fullest. It stops us from going after our dreams.

Often these fears and doubts are based on our past experiences, sometimes even way back when we were young kids. So we can’t really separate our future from our past. When we look at our fears and doubts about our future, we might just again have to go back into our past. We will need to work on the fears that are limiting ourselves and stopping us from going after our goals.

Personal Development requires us to live in the present
We may be the result of our past experiences and beliefs. But as we acknowledge the influence of the past, we need to live the present moment in the best way possible. After all, we don’t want to miss a great opportunity (which occurs in the present) and regret it two days later (another past experience which will bring us down).

So as we resolve our past, we need to focus on the present. When we work at resolving our past and accepting our fears about the future, we are aiming to achieve our goals. But the fact remains. Goals are achieved in the present. Not in the past and not in the future.

Personal Development requires us to change our daily lifestyle
An important step in personal development is to change the way we are living right now. Changing our lifestyle does not mean changing our jobs or changing our relationships. It just means that there are certain healthy practices and behaviors that can help in our own personal development.

At the same time, there are certain other practices and behaviors that can hamper us from improving ourselves. If we want to achieve our goals, we need to practice good habits and give up the really bad ones. This is where personal development helps us.

Personal Development requires us to find our life’s purpose
We cannot achieve our goals if we don’t know what they are. We learn about our goals through knowing our dreams and finding our life’s purpose. Personal development requires us to find our life’s purpose. But how do we do that?

We all have some awareness about our dreams and our purpose. It’s that one thing which seems to change the way we are feeling, the way we are thinking. It’s that one thing that suddenly changes the way we talk and the way we interact with others. It’s that one thing which suddenly fills us with confidence and a satisfaction which we never experience at our day-to-day jobs. So ask yourself what is it?

Personal Development requires us to find our strengths and weaknesses
No one can aim at achieving goals without knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Personal development helps us do that. It is very important to know our strengths and weaknesses if we want to find out what the purpose of our life is.

Our life’s purpose is something which is a combination of our strengths and how they make us feel. Once we do know our life’s purpose, we need to be fully aware of our strengths and our weaknesses while setting realistic goals.

Personal development requires us to begin writing
Yes, writing is indeed important. Whether you prefer writing with a pen and paper or typing it into your computer, you should give words to your thoughts and feelings. Writing helps you identify those past influences, your fears about the future, your strengths and your weaknesses, your dreams and your goals, your likes and your dislikes, your friends and your foes. And the list just goes on and on. Writing helps in personal development. Writing helps in clarifying your goals.

Personal development requires us to turn our dreams into realistic goals
Once we identify our dreams, we need to turn them into realistic goals. Our dreams will always live in our memories, if we don’t perform a reality check and take some realistic steps to turn them into reality. Dreams are fantasy. Goals are realistic. Personal development helps us turn our dreams into achievable goals.

Personal Development requires us to reward ourselves for accomplishing our small goals
Rewards are very important for every individual. Personal development requires us to celebrate our accomplishments. As we move from one small goal to another, we should also learn to celebrate our accomplishments. That’s what makes us feel good about ourselves, builds our confidence in our abilities, and gives us the much needed strength to get on with achieving the next goal.

Personal Development requires us to analyze and reanalyze our beliefs, behaviors and actions
Personal development never stops. Our goals never end. Both are and need to be a constant process. We should keep on learning and growing. We should keep on setting new goals for ourselves. It’s important to keep up-to-date with the world, technology and even our beliefs.

What may have been true a few years back may not work two years down the line. So it’s important to keep analyzing your goals, your beliefs and change them if necessary. After all, change is human. And change is the only thing that is constant.

So, personal development does indeed help us achieve our goals. As we grow and improve and develop as an individual, our goals become much more realistic and clear and easier to achieve.

Read more articles:
What is Spirituality?
Positive Thinking: The Magic of Thoughts
Building Self-Confidence and Handling Stressful Situations
Develop Your Intuition - What Should You Keep In Mind

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Copyright © Roohi Khan - 2009