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Finding Spiritual Peace in Tough Times

It is no secret that maintaining spiritual peace or balance in these tough economic times can be difficult. Fear, anxiety, and worry are pervasive emotions in those around us, in those we work with, in those we are close to. But there is a way to keep your spiritual equilibrium.

Having the finances to study and practice does make keeping a spiritual perspective easier. Reading books helps make the spiritual a regular part of your life. Purchasing books or magazines that you are attracted to and reading the material keeps the spiritual focus, as well as allows your unconscious to guide your choices. Taking a yoga class, a meditation class, or going to spiritual seminars can assist in keeping the focus necessary for spiritual peace and to motivate you on your path. But they are not necessary; you can do it without them. In an economy like this, these types of expenditures are likely some of the first to go. And this is to be expected. But it does not have to be the beginning of the end of your personal spiritual quest.

In many belief systems, a lack of money is actually advantageous to a spiritual mindset. For example, in many Native American cultures you must clear space (get rid of some possessions) before the spirit world will bless you with new. In Eastern philosophical views attaching yourself to material things (or people, or expectations) is counter to spiritual enlightenment. So, in these tough economic times, you might actually have a head start.

Most of the things I mentioned earlier that assist in maintaining spiritual balance, including meditation, yoga, and reading, don’t have to be costly. Meditating, shrouded in all its mystery, is really just altering your awareness, being mindful, and concentrating on the breath. The most beneficial way to practice meditation is through just sitting quietly, and observing your thoughts. Of course it is normal for the mind to wonder, and to drift into thoughts about the day, about people, or just about any other distraction. The goal is to catch the mind wondering, and come back to the position of awareness and separateness from your thoughts. Of course there are other ways to sit in meditation, including chanting and just monitoring the breath. We’d all be better off, and more emotionally and spiritually balanced, if we just took the time daily to practice meditation.

In addition to sitting meditation, which was just described briefly, in Zen philosophy, any activity can be meditation. Being completely aware of your surroundings and focused on them and the task at hand is mindful meditation. For example, in walking meditation, one concentrates on the feeling of the feet on the ground, the feel and smell of the air, the sounds that come and fade, the breath as you walk, the feeling of the sun on your face, and any other present event happening during the course of the walk. This type of meditation can be generalized to any activity, from washing the dishes, to shoveling snow, to driving to work. Of course, yoga is often this type of meditation.

As for reading to keep the spiritual focus, I offer the questions: how many spiritual based books do you already have on your shelf? Are there any you can revisit? Often a second reading offers many new insights. If this is not a viable option, there are used book stores and magazines as well as online sites that offer spiritual guidance.

Of course, there are several other things that can assist in keeping spiritual balance. These are often of a psychological nature. Let’s address anxiety, which is directly opposed to spiritual peace. I think it is an easily made assumption that these are anxiety producing times. People have lost some of their savings in the stock market. Unemployment is rising, and businesses are struggling and shutting down. People are worried about their future.

When and why do people worry or become anxious? Generally, we worry about the future, whether distant or near. In psychology it is believed every behavior or action has a reward. In the case of worrying, the reward is to foresee a problem and take action. This is why people consult psychics, or attempt to develop or trust in their own psychic ability. Worry is often an attempt to control, or a wish to control, what is uncontrollable. When worrying or anxiety serves the purpose of aiding preparation, it is a worthy pursuit. But none of us are in control of these tough times. Independently, we can do little to change the economic environment.

Several articles I have read discuss keys to happiness. These articles, which varied in some respects, had a common theme: faith. According to these articles, those that have faith, faith events happen for a reason, faith that things will work out as they are supposed to, faith that a higher power is acting on their behalf, are happier than those who do not share these beliefs. I do not believe that the role of faith should be minimized in regard to spiritual peace. If you believe things will work out, there is no need to worry, the happier you will be and the closer you will be to spiritual balance. The recent inclusion of Eastern thought and beliefs into psychotherapy is evidence of its proven effectiveness. There are many therapists who teach meditation techniques, suggest yoga, or who suggest spiritual reading for their clients.

Spiritual balance may be more a necessity than a luxury. In these tough times, it may be the most influential thing a person can do to help themselves and others rise above the emotional turmoil surrounding them. Do your part to bring peace to your life and the loves you care about by keeping your own spiritual balance. This article offers some tips to get you on your way.