Positive Psychology


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Spirituality

Happiness

SPIRITUALITY CANNOT BE FORCED
Spirituality is a natural capacity we possess to varying degrees. We have to awaken ourselves through choices and practice (Ian Morris, 2009).

WAYS OF ACCESSING SPIRITUALITY are through:

  • Silence - standing back
  • heroic acts of kindness and giving one's life in service
  • connecting to something bigger than ourselves, observing the workings of the species and the planet
  • having a cause or a passion, belonging to a movement bigger than oneself
  • art can lift us out of the routine and reveal beauty and magnificience
  • being totally observed and challenged by some meaningful undertaking
  • by discovering the heroism and kindness of other people and allowing oneself to be joyfully touched by it


MINDFULNESS/MEDITATION
Mindfulness meditation can be sitting quietly and simply connecting to one's own being, one's spirit, which may be deeply buried behind activities and desires. Sitting quietly in acceptance of the moment, being thankful for one's body which holds the spirit can be a tremendously healing experience as we often tend to hide from ourselves trying to be something we are not. Sitting in quiet acceptance of ourselves can give us the courage to be more truthful in our encounter with other people and more aware of what is meaningful in our lives. By listening to our breathing, our emotions, our surroundings and allowing them simply to be and then letting them go we learn to live more fully in the moment- which in a way is all we have.

LOVING-KINDNESS MEDITATION
Sitting quietly, perhaps with some relaxing background nature sounds or music, relaxing and listening to one's own breath. Then focusing on the love that one feels for someone special and starting to wish that person well, making up one's own 'mantra' or 'prayer': 'I wish you love. I wish you happiness. I wish you wisdom. I wish you beauty.' Through these good wishes one build up good will but also warmth and acceptance of another. When one's heart is 'on fire' with this love one extends it to oneself: 'I wish myself love. I wish myself happiness. I wish myself wisdom. I wish myself beauty' or whatever it is that is meaningful to oneself. Then one moves on to other loved ones, then to those in one's neighbourhood, in one's area, in one's workplace, in one's region, in one's country, on one's continent, etc until the whole universe and all its creatures and plants are included.

Monks who spend a lot of time in loving-kindness meditation show amazing activity in their positive emotional brain centre: the left prefrontal cortex. People who use this meditation tecnique regularly have been seen to change dramatically in their well-being, feeling better, being more creative at work, helping others more and taking exercise without forcing themselves.

CONNECTING WITH NATURE
Another way of connecting to one's spirit and the spirit of the universe or the creator is to spend time absorbing nature. By quietly walking in natural surroundings, by the sea, in a forest, a garden or in the hills and observing the plants, the animals, birds, insects and the natural forces at work one's whole being can be nourished and enlightened. Nature is full of metaphors for life, it has its own wisdom which we can often learn a lot from. A nun recently told me her experience: 'God sleeps in the stone, dreams in the plants, stirs in the animals and awakens in human beings.' Nature speaks to each of us differently but by listening to the 'spirit' of the earth and its elements one can somehow connect to the life and creativity of one's inner beautiful child.



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