How to Choose and Benefit From Lifestyle Routines and Spiritual Practices That Are Best For You
By Roy Eugene Davis
Every person who is not yet spiritually awake consciously or unconsciously yearns to joyously exist forever. That realization is not only imagined as an ideal culmination of their long sojourn in space and time, they inwardly know that they are destined to have it because they are immortal spiritual beings playing a temporary human role. Because everyone will eventually awaken to knowledge of their true nature, I recommend that spiritual enlightenment be the primary aim in life and that we do all that we know to do to allow it to rapidly occur.
To continuously experience total well-being and progressive spiritual growth, it is best to choose routines of effective living and studies of higher realities that elicit rapid emergence of innate soul qualities and knowledge.
Choosing How to Live and Doing It Well
The Moving Finger writes, and having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
– Edward FitzGerald (1809 – 1883)
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Although our past actions cannot be changed, their effects may sometimes be modified or neutralized: physical distress related to poor health habits may be healed by implementing good habits; apologizing for inappropriate behavior or performing an act of kindness may heal a relationship; a personal or business project may be revised. Effects of recent actions which have not occurred may sometimes be prevented: a bank may be asked not to cash a check; a letter or memo may not be sent or may be intercepted or retrieved before it is delivered; a purchase order may be canceled. Anger, frustration, guilt, fear, thoughts or feelings of unworthiness, and disabling mental or emotional reactions to memories of unpleasant experiences may be neutralized by replacing them with constructive thoughts and feelings and performing constructive actions. They may be renounced (let go, released) by forgiveness (including oneself if necessary), insightful understanding, and growing to emotional maturity.
Lifestyle routines are actions, procedures, and activities we implement for our well-being and enable us to accomplish purposes of value to us and perhaps others and our environment. When choosing them, ask, “Will it be good for me and/or others and the environment?” Lifestyle routines should include personal hygiene, sleep, recreation, nutrition, exercise, work, choices of social activity, service or charitable activities, and continued learning for self-improvement and to acquire useful knowledge. Exercise your mind and brain by being alert, attentive, curious, innovative, and acquiring new skills.
Think, feel, and act as a free spiritual being expressing through your physical body. You will become more skillful and living will be more enjoyable when your knowledge and skills are used creatively and productively. Learn to easily have desires fulfilled, needs satisfied, and a continuous stream of resources and supportive events, circumstances, and relationships for your comfort and security. Be honest in personal and business relationships. Avoid relationships and activities that may cause mental or emotional unrest.
When you are becoming too stressed, tired, or overburdened, withdraw a little, rest, and examine your circumstances to determine if you need to change them or the way you view them. Other routines or projects that you want to include in your schedule of activities should be worthwhile and not distract attention from important matters or weaken or waste mental powers, vital forces, or personal material resources. Endeavor to do everything with specific intention. Don’t aimlessly wander or be easily influenced by opinions or behaviors of others.
Concentrate on essential and important matters; avoid being overly concerned about or involved with nonessential and unimportant matters. By working, achieving goals, or fulfilling desires in less time with less expenditure of energy, accomplish more or have more free time for doing other worthwhile things.
Choosing Spiritual Practices and Effectively Using Them
The devotee whose mind is disciplined, who moves in
the world with the senses controlled and is free from
attachments and aversions, is permanently tranquil.
That purity of spirit removes one from all sorrow.
[Self*] knowledge then soon prevails.
– The Bhagavad Gita 2: 64, 65
*Self English language spelling with an upper case S is used to indicate a person’s immortal essence (true nature), an individualized unit of the pure-conscious aspect of ultimate Reality, which, when completely realized (directly experienced and accurately known), results in spiritual enlightenment and liberation of consciousness.
In written Sanskrit, only lower case letters are used; meanings of identical words are indicated by how they are used in a sentence. Thus self or an equivalent word may be used for one’s essence and for an ordinary, egocentric sense of self-identity.
Effective spiritual practices:
• Calm and purify the mind. Mental impressions (memories) enable us to know our history, think, and reason. Excessive mental stimulation and/or confusion interferes with rational thinking and concentration. When the mind is calm, thinking is more orderly and powers of discriminative intelligence and intuition improve.
• Clarify awareness. Clarified awareness accurately reflects perceptions to the mind and allows knowledge of one’s essence and of higher realities to emerge. Distorted awareness causes misperceptions (illusions). Awareness can be clarified by regular super-conscious meditation and being super-conscious while engaged in ordinary activities.
• Arouse dormant soul forces. Much of the soul force of people who are strongly attached to or preoccupied with egocentric and mundane matters is usually dormant. Mental confusion, worry, stress, purposeless activity, excessive talking and eating, lack of sleep, alcoholism, smoking, addictive behaviors, and unwholesome living conditions weaken and waste vital forces. Dormant soul forces are aroused by aspiration to be spiritually enlightened, wisdom-directed purposeful living, mental and emotional calmness, good health habits, fresh air and natural light, meditation, devotional prayer, association with spiritually conscious people, and visits to places considered to be sacred or holy.
• Refine the nervous system and improve the brain’s capacity to accommodate refined states of consciousness. Specific meditation routines can refine the nervous system. Regions of the brain that process refined states of consciousness are more highly developed by meditative concentration and the constructive influences of super-consciousness.
• Allow our innate qualities, powers, and knowledge of our essence of being and higher realities to emerge. As units of the pure-conscious aspect of ultimate Reality, what is true of it is true of us. Knowledge of itself and its expressive processes that is within it and within us effortlessly emerges when our mind is very calm and our awareness is clear.
Spiritual practices include all that is done to clarify awareness, allow innate qualities and knowledge to emerge, and have our consciousness restored to its original, pure wholeness. When choosing your spiritual practices, ask:
• Have they been used and verified by several people who are now spiritually enlightened? Consider only what will be effective. Avoid opinions of unenlightened people and “new” systems that are aggressively promoted or are said to be secrets now offered to a few special applicants. Disregard unrealistic philosophical ideas and teachers and organizations that emphasize complete loyalty or submission to them and their practices. Don’t believe those who say they have the only way to spiritual enlightenment, their teachings are a special dispensation (a unique, revealed system of guidance for human affairs), or want you to be a dependent believer of their doctrines rather than to know the truth that can be revealed from within you. Acquire reliable metaphysical knowledge to be well-informed. Use your common sense, intellect, and intuition to know the truth about what you see or hear. Rational thinking can enable you to make practical choices. Intellectual discernment can enable you to more accurately determine what is true. Intuition (perception independent of the senses, mind, or intellect) is a direct way to know about something. Self-revealed knowledge is flawless.
• Are they compatible with my psychological temperament and capacity to practice them? Forms of prayer, meditation, mantra, affirmation, lifestyle regimens, and other practices should be easy to learn, pleasant to use, and produce satisfying, beneficial results. If you are inclined to be very devotional, avoid excessive emotionalism and improve your powers of intellectual discernment and intuition. If you are inclined to be egocentric, be willing to discard and outgrow that small, mistaken sense of self-identity. If you are inclined to be lazy, inattentive, or confused, learn to act with intention, be alert, and think calmly and rationally. If you are inclined to be aggressive and impatient, learn to relax, cultivate patience, and nurture Self-contentment, peace of mind, and emotional stability in all circumstances.
• Do I know how to apply them? … and will I diligently do it? Learn why the methods you are investigating or have chosen are recommended and how to apply them. If you know someone who has effectively used them, ask to be taught how to you can use them. When you are sufficiently informed, establish a regular routine of alert, dedicated, practice. A spiritual path is one of aloneness in the Infinite. Even if you have friends who share your ideals, your meaningful spiritual-growth experiences will be known only to you. Persist in the right way until you have the results you want to have.
Support intentional spiritual practices with a wisely chosen holistic (emphasis on the whole and the interdependence of its parts) lifestyle. Your spiritual growth will be much faster when everything you think, feel, act, and privately do supports your aspiration to be spiritually awake. Endeavor to have conflicts resolved, problems solved, ideal conditions easily maintained, and to harmoniously integrate the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and environmental aspects of your life.
The Enduring Value of Complete Dedication to Skillfully Doing What You Know is Best for You
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
– Cassius, a character in the play, Julius Caesar,
by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
Dedication: To devote or designate for a special purpose.
Underling: Someone considered to be subordinate or inferior.
For one whose [spiritual growth] progress is fast
and whose practice is intensive [concentrated],
samadhi [transcendent realization] is near.
Progress is in accord with the degree of intensiveness,
whether mild, medium, or extremely concentrated.
– Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra 1:21,22
External influences need not determine your decisions and actions. You can choose thoughts, behaviors, and responses to events and situations that will enable you to avoid misfortune while you are continuously having life-enhancing experiences. The most important, influential decision you can make is to be completely dedicated to doing what you know to be for your highest good—which is to be fully, spiritually awake.
Affirm With Conviction
I am completely dedicated to doing everything
I know to be for my highest good.