Changing Your Spirit
Questions & Action Steps
CHANGING YOUR SPIRIT
We are made up of three parts; Our physical body, our mind, and our spirit. Just as you have a physical body that lives in this physical world, you also have a spiritual body which lives in the spiritual world. There is both a physical and spiritual realm to our existence and the body, mind and spirit are all connected. Therefore, you cannot change your mind, or change your body without changing your spirit.
It is our spirit that lives forever and desires to know about and connect with God. It’s our spirit that desires to love and acknowledges all the good in the world. There is a constant battle that goes on within each of us between our physical selves and our spiritual selves and it’s our mind that referees that fight. Do you have all that mind chatter too? Our mind must decide to take the physical way or the spiritual path. We have a choice and it’s all connected.
While our physical selves want to eat and sleep and satisfy all the physical needs, the spiritual self seeks a God connection and yearns for love, peace, happiness and joy. Being more spiritual provides a sense of purpose and meaning. It gives us a way to understand suffering and encourages our connection with others. It’s a reminder of all the good in the world. We can learn from the Bible how to be more spiritual and develop a relationship with God.
It’s also been proven that people who meditate and have strong spiritual connections recover faster from illnesses and surgery and have less stress that very often triggers disease.
As we think about our Changing Spirit let’s use again the acronym for SPIRIT.
T. Truth / Transformation
S – SOUL
The soul and the spirit are not the same. There is a very distinct difference. Our soul consists of our mind, will and emotions. The soul is the emotional part of human nature and is distinct from the physical or spiritual part of us. Our souls (minds) are changed by constant reminding and renewing through daily Bible reading, meditation and positive affirmations.
To illustrate the distinction between body, soul and spirit think of three concentric circles. The outer circle is the body which contains our five senses and how we contact the entire physical, material world. The middle circle is our soul or the inner part containing our mind, emotion and will where we connect with the entire psychological realm. Then, the inner circle refers to our spirit that is our innermost part where we contact God and the spiritual realm.
Most religions acknowledge the soul as distinct from, yet integrally connected with the body. Souls are essential parts of human beings and the word is taken from the Hebrew language meaning “life, vital breath”. The philosophical view believes the soul is what gives the body life, appetite, desire, emotion and passion.
This is affirmed through Genesis 2:7, “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” When God breathed life into Adam he became a living soul composed of body and mind.
Now, you can understand as we begin to change our mind and thoughts and body it starts to have a positive effect on our Spirit.
P – PEACEFULNESS
Another thing that affects our Spirit is Peacefulness. We all crave more peacefulness in our lives. As we wake up to the blaring alarm it seems the day starts out in a frantic push to get the family up, bathed, fed and out the door to work or school. Then there’s the house work, yard work, bills to pay, errands to run, meals to cook, kids to pick up, their after school activities, and homework to go over. We barely have time for ourselves much less time to think about being peaceful or incorporating peacefulness into our hectic schedules.
But, we are thinking about it all wrong. Peacefulness is not something we acquire, it is a way we become as we go through and complete our hectic schedules. We all have daily chores and things we must accomplish every day. That’s just life. In order to become more peaceful and be more happy and content let’s try to incorporate some of the following things into our thoughts and actions.
- Be aware and mindful all the time.
Stay conscious of what you’re thinking about and practice being in the moment realizing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s when we get ahead of ourselves and frantically try to plan ahead our next actions that we lose sight of where we are. This has a snowball effect and as you realize you can never catch up with your planning and thinking ahead you become anxious and frustrated and lose your peace. Remember it’s our quality of life, not the quantity.
- Stop trying to be everything for everybody.
This is the superwoman tendency and it revolves around our own ego. We don’t think anybody can survive without our input, our food, our attention. While we want what’s best for those in our life we must realize that trying to do it all for them is not in their best interest, or ours. When we let go of trying to be super woman, peace will replace ego and find its way in.
- Let go of your expectations of others and your need for approval from others.
We all want the best for our loved ones and friends and we also want them to like and approve of us. But when we let other people’s actions affect our peacefulness we are giving away our control. People are always going to disappoint us. No matter who they are, they will never do or say the things we want them to. None of us are perfect in the eyes of others. When we become preoccupied with having the right look, social status or image we drive ourselves to distraction of what’s important. The only way we can be peaceful is to set our own standards and follow our own path. Don’t give away your peace or tie it to someone else’s actions or approval.
- Let go of your need to know.
It’s natural for our minds to want to know how things are going to work out. But we don’t need to know everything. Usually it’s best if we don’t know everything. I found this to be true about my unhealthy obsession with my son and his family. I was constantly asking and wanting to find out how they were doing or where they were going. When I backed out of their day to day lives and didn’t ask or seek to find out about all their activities I found a freeing peacefulness. Usually there were things I couldn’t help with anyway or do anything about. More importantly, as much as I love and care about them it really wasn’t any of my business. I had to learn to let go of my need to know to find peace in this area of my life.
- Perform Acts of Kindness, Come from a place of gratefulness and love.
When we make a commitment to make this world a better place we will find many opportunities to bring some relief to someone else with a selfless act of kindness. We’ve all heard through the news of some of these acts and if you are truly looking for an opportunity, life will present them. This creates a sense of connection to others. When we appreciate and acknowledge and are deeply thankful for all that we have in this life it will help us overcome much of our fear and many of the insecurities of life and replace it with peacefulness.
- Forgive yourself.
We have all made mistakes and done things we’re ashamed of or that didn’t reflect our highest self. We are all human and have these tendencies to give into this darker nature. But, the important thing is to first admit that you shouldn’t have done or thought the way you did and then to immediately forgive yourself for the action. All healing starts with admitting our faults, hurts, or habits that have wounded us or others.
- Face the truth of where you are right now.
You will not find YOUR ultimate truth or make that transformation until you’re willing to take responsibility for where you are right now. It’s not your parents fault or your spouse or bosses fault. You may have been through some terrible past life experiences and you can’t pretend they never happened to you. But now you have the choice of what to do with those memories. You can continue to feed them and wallow in the self-pity with a victim mentality and let that drag you deeper into the depths of depression. Or, you can choose to say, that was the past and I’m no longer that person. I chose to live my life happy with an energetic and inspiring attitude. I choose people to be in my life who will honor and support me. Know what your new intentions are and then work and strive to discover the new you and become the person you want to be.
- Realize that you and most everyone else is doing the best they can with the information and knowledge they have at this time.
The tendency is to judge others by what they should have done or could be doing. We judge our parents by how they should have raised us a generation ago, we judge our spouse by how they could be treating us, we judge our peers or less experienced co-workers by how they could be contributing. We are judging them by our standards and our experiences and our knowledge base. Give them and yourself a break and accept the fact they did the best they could.
- Accept and assume some personal responsibility.
Even though our situations or problems may be the result of what someone else has done to us against our will, we have no excuse to allow the problem to go on for years and take control over our lives. We can take positive steps to change things and begin to take back the control of our future and happiness. It won’t be easy and it usually doesn’t happen overnight, but it will be worth it. When you can regain your confidence and stand up and tell the world that you are significant and you have value and you’re ready to contribute to those who love you and to your community, then you will start to find your truth and be on the path to your ultimate transformation.
- Find the right support system.
There are groups and trained people in the world who can help with just about any hang up or habit. Depending on what you have determined you want to change as to the group or people you want to seek out and ask for help. The important thing is to ask. The next important thing is to ask the right person. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to fix an electrical issue and you wouldn’t need a brain surgeon to write a prescription for the flu. Investigate the group/person, be sure they are experienced in the field where you need assistance and then make that call. Make that first step to get the support you need. You may not need a professional, you may just need a close friend who can be trusted and who loves you unconditionally.
- Learn to let go and be led by the Spirit.
This gets easier as we practice letting go of our control and worry. Stay tuned into what you are allowing to control your actions. If you’re allowing your fear, doubt and worry decide how you respond to situations; the spirit cannot lead or help you. Don’t listen to that voice inside your head that says you have to be in control of every situation. If we allow things to evolve and just live through life’s situations we’ll begin to feel a peacefulness as the Spirit brings new and exciting opportunities into our life. When we force and try so hard to make things happen in our own time and on our own terms it will usually bring a harsh and stressful outcome. If we allow the natural flow of life to be directed by God, He will come fill our lives as we embrace Him and welcome our new Truth. This truth will set you free.
We all face the dilemma of letting go of certain things and holding on to other things. Becoming peaceful is a choice. You must decide what you need to let go of in order to have peace. As we let go our Spirits are affected in a positive way.
I – INTUITION
Intuition is the ability to understand or know something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. You’ll just know that you know. When you tap into your intuition it will guide you through life and help with many important decisions. Our intuition is formed from our past experiences and also uses our current knowledge at the time.
Many of us have lost the ability or never searched for the ability to tap into our intuition. We have relied on family or friends opinions or society and the news to base our decisions. It takes becoming very still and meditating as you connect with your inner being physically, mentally and spiritually.
It was Blaise Pascal who wrote, “The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.” When we meditate and search our hearts for answers to life’s dilemmas we somehow intuitively know which option we should choose and which to avoid before the mind is even aware of it or can logically explain it.
But we must be careful and be aware of our surroundings as we look for solutions and try to tap into our intuition. Stress and intuition cannot co-exist together. In order to connect with our intuition we must slow down and approach this from a place of calm awareness. That’s when we can find clarity and the answers we’re searching for.
When we reduce the stress in our lives, get enough sleep, have a balance of exercise and proper nutrition we allow ourselves a better opportunity to gain access to our intuition and let it guide us through life. You see, it’s all a balance and this all works together with changing our minds, bodies and spirit.
R – RESILIENCE
Resilience of the human spirit is the ability to face life’s trials and hardships and come through them unharmed and even stronger because of the experience. Resilience is rooted in a tenacity of spirit and a fierce determination to make life worth living. Most people with resilience also have a clear sense of purpose and identity. They know who they are and why they are here.
Our resilience develops as we grow and gain better insight into our beliefs. It’s never easy to get back up and keep going after a devastating loss of career or loved one. We must work through the emotions of grief and pain and manage the effects of stress these situations cause. It was the boxer Ali who said, “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” If you quit and give up on a dream because of adversity you’ll wonder about it the rest of your life.
People with strong resilience usually have close relationships with family and friends. They know how and when to ask for help and search for positive meaning in their lives despite the difficulties they face. As she was battling a cancer that ultimately ended her life it was Elizabeth Edwards who said, “I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope.”
A few years ago a close friend of mine lost her 19 year old son. He was her oldest child and it was his first year at college and first time away from home. It was a terrible accident and a shattering experience for her and the family. But, being around her and observing her resilience and the power of her spirit has been one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. She chose not to become bitter but instead has shared her experience with others who were grieving the loss of a child. She doesn’t deny the hurt and pain but she takes care of her heart and soul giving herself space during the harder days. I have never seen resilience such as hers and her love touches everyone she knows. My friend chooses love with a fragile yet resilient heart and soul.
As we continue to learn about changing our spirit be reminded of the quote by Bernard Williams, “Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”
I – INSPIRATION
I love feeling inspired! When the creative juices start flowing and I can sit at the computer and type for hours. We are all inspired by different things and at different times in our lives. I’m inspired by listening to praise music in the mornings during my work out. I’m inspired by spiritual motivational speakers over the car radio. I’m inspired by watching the rain fall and knowing that God is watering his beautiful earth. It just seems all these events and many more are food for my spirit.
Inspiration is anything that gives us an idea or causes us to want to do or create something. It moves our intellect or moves us emotionally. It makes us feel alive and excited to the point we can’t wait to start that new project or write down that idea or break through.
There are many types of inspiration. There is artistic, musical, creative and divine inspirations that I believe we can all receive if we open our eyes and hearts and search for ways to be inspired and stay receptive to receiving it. Then, as we receive and become inspired we can in-turn be an inspiration to others.
There are people in your life looking up to you and waiting for your direction. You have a sphere of influence in this world and what you say and do and how you react in certain situations will have a direct influence on those people. Your children are watching your actions; your co-workers are waiting to see how you’re going to respond. You can choose what you want to portray to them. You can have a “just get by” kind of attitude or you can be an inspiration and chose to go above and beyond what is expected and set the example and set the bar high. By doing this you are showing yourself and the world that you have an inspiring spirit.
T – TRUTH / YOUR TRANSFORMATION
And then finally but most important…..Your Truth and Your Transformation. Your destiny and your truth moves in the direction of your spirit. At the level of spirit everything is always unfolding perfectly and it does not require you to struggle or force situations to go your way. Some don’t recognize or acknowledge their spirit but we are all spiritual beings in addition to physical beings. As we learn to let go of more and more of our ego and the physical maladies that hold us hostage and make us feel sick and defeated, our spiritual paths open wider and wider.
As we practice some of the previous and following exercises and become more focused on our true intentions, our own truth starts to develop and we begin to live and love with a lighter and more intense determination. As we witness and become aware of our gradual transformation we’re encouraged to look deeper within to keep discovering more truths that only heighten our learning experience and improve our mind, body and spirits.
These are several exercises that will help you become more attuned to your spiritual nature and ultimately help you discover your truth:
Thank you so much for completing this course. You are one of the very unique and special ones who’ve actually invested in themselves and want to make those changes in order to discover their truth. Always remember that you are valuable and you deserve the very best that life has to offer.
Change starts with you, one thought, one choice and then one action at a time. Continue on your journey and keep Daring to Change Your Life.