Robert Najemy (Author of 20 books - 100,000 copies sold, director of the
Center for Harmonious Living in Athens Greece-with 3700 members and editor
of the ezine "Clarity - The Psychology of Happiness".)
How we can Develop our Spiritual Qualities
When we refer to developing virtues what we really mean is that we are going to remove all obstacles to experiencing our innate spiritual nature. We are actually uncovering what is naturally already within us. Our natural state is one of pure love, truth, righteousness and peace. Our basic spiritual nature which has been covered by our fear and defense mechanisms. This is why it is said that man is created in the image and likeness of divine.
This is also the reason we seek this qualities in ourselves and others. We seek the perfection which is actually within us: we seek our true self. We will never feel totally happy and satisfied until we manifest our loving and peaceful selves in our daily reality.
We must however avoid the traps of pride and guilt in this process. Our religious education is usually laced with feelings of spiritual pride when we can act righteously and guilt when we cannot.
I would suggest that such an approach is not the best. Both pride and guilt are based on the ego and comparing ourselves with others and also with an image of our possibly perfect self. Fear is often the motive to be "good". Being "good" out of fear, it has no value. Only when we are free to chose to be good out of love and the realization that we are all one being, can we speak of actual goodness.
Also we are not worthier or more lovable because we are loving, truthful and peaceful. All beings regardless of ability and ethics have the same divine worth as expressions on one divine consciousness. We are simply freer and happier when we are ethical and loving. We are not longer controlled by our fears and defense mechanisms.
Let us approach this goal of inner perfection without pride and guilt or self-rejection viewing it a process of self-maturation and self-liberation from our ignorance and weakness. Let us view it a path of joy and discovery as we free ourselves from whatever obstructs our love, peace, truthfulness, humility and kindness.
We can do this alone but it is often much more successful in groups. A group can mirror us and help us to see ourselves more clearly. Also it can support us in this process.
Let us also remember that we can be responsible only for the quality of the effort and not for the results.
The Family of Spiritual Qualities
Spiritual qualities or virtues are like rays which radiate outward in different directions from a common center. They all originate in our inner self and penetrate into our personality.
Developing any virtue brings forth all the others. With faith we feel secure and are enabled to feel love and understanding and compassion, selflessness and peace. These are all aspects of our inner being. One enables the other.
Ways in which we can develop our virtuous nature:
1. Group work is very important and helpful. Our present society does not encourage us to develop love and truthfulness. We are taught that we have to be distrusting and defensive if we do not want to be used, hurt or cheated.
We need a support group of others who have the same goal in order to achieve this goal. This group can meet regularly (weekly is best) and discuss, share, pray, meditate, chant, or contemplate on the spiritual truths which enable us to be fearless in world.
2. We can pray for help in developing the qualities which seek.
3. We can read the scriptures of the various religions as well as the lives of persons who have been living examples of the strength and clarity necessary for this development.
4. We can contemplate on the meaning of all teachings and how they might apply to our daily lives.
5. In this series you are presented with a number of descriptions of how one might, feel think and act when he or she has perfected specific qualities. You may want to write your own descriptions. These function as inner thought forms allowing us to develop inwardly towards that image which we have in our minds. Such descriptions can be written or spoken onto a cassette and then read or listened to daily before sleeping and or upon waking, This will strengthen these qualities within us.
6. We can relax our mind and focus on a specific quality and ask that our subconscious present a visual symbol for that quality. We can then draw it at place it where we can see it daily so that we are reminded of that symbol daily.
7. Relaxation techniques in general bring us into contact with inner peace and clarity, thus augmenting all positive qualities within us. We have a wide variety of possible visualizations for this purpose.
Note: The mind may at times, rebel against the development of various qualities out of fear that it will lose some comforts or imagined forms of security or self-worth. If the mind reacts in negative ways we will need to be objective witnesses and find a balance between moving forward and allowing the mind to feel secure.
We neither want to suppress ourselves nor do we want to remain stagnant. We need to find a friendly balance with our subconscious and inner child.
8. Meditation can bring us into contact with higher aspects of our nature. With time this daily contact will transform our personality.
9. Contemplation is a process in which we focus on a specific quality or teaching and seek to understand its deeper meaning and application in our lives. Such understanding enables us to live this quality much more fully.
For example is we are contemplating on "Love" we might ask:
10. We can analyze why we lose our love, peace of ability to be truthful in various situations, seeking to discover the fears and beliefs which cause us to become defensive or closed. Having discovered those aspects of ourselves, we can move forward to changing them.
11. Behaving as if we have already developed a quality can help us to align ourselves with it. Most religions follow this path of adjusting our behavior. This can be useful but can also create a split personality. We need to align our behavior to our highest values but also at the same time be honest to ourselves about what is going on within us.
12. Selfless service towards those who are in need is a wide field for developing various spiritual qualities. We are able to see our ego more clearly and can learn to put others' needs above our comforts. We have the ability then to develop selflessness - an extremely important inner quality.
13. Imagining that we are the other and seeking to determine his or her needs, feelings and beliefs enables us to develop compassion, understanding and love. Once we are free from identifying exclusively with ourselves, we can then be more aware of the others. This is basic to spiritual development.
14. Developing inner security is also basic to spiritual growth. Inner security is a prerequisite too love, peace, truthfulness, selflessness and all other virtues.
15. Self-acceptance is another extremely important prerequisite to feeling secure enough to love and understand others. Most often when we lose our peace and love it is because we feel that our self-worth is being undermined.*****************************************
Robert Elias Najemy is the author of over 600 articles, 400 lecture
cassettes on Human Harmony and 20 books; sold over 100,000 copies.
His book The Psychology of Happiness is available at:
You can download FREE articles and e-books and get guidance at http://www.HolisticHarmony.com*****************************************
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