Along with working through my emotional baggage and caring for my physical wellbeing I began looking into what I needed to do for my spiritual health. Following are a few of the steps I took.
A Few of the Steps on My Spiritual Path:
- Creating a spiritual sanctuary.
The first thing I needed to do was to create a private spiritual place in my home. I cleared an area in my bedroom specifically for my spiritual sanctuary. In this space I had pictures of both my departed and living loved ones. Any religious tokens such as angels, statues, candles, and holy books, or items from nature, like quartz crystals, flowers, plants, and seashells can also be included. My quiet sanctuary provided safety and enabled me to focus in on my spiritual evolution.
- Learning to be quiet.
My mind was so busy! Just like a squirrel in a cage! There was no room for spirituality. I learned how to turn down the volume with a simple daily meditation. After silencing the phone, and shutting off the radio, computer, and television, I’d light a candle and just stare into the flame. While I did this I’d let my mind chatter away. After several weeks I found my thoughts were beginning to slow down. Within a month the chatter was replaced with a sense of calm along with moments of enlightenment and awareness. Today when confused or stressed, I get quiet, close my eyes, and visualize my deceased loved ones. I then ask for guidance, and listen! Eventually I receive answers.
- Firing concepts of God or a Higher Power that don’t work.
For years I was furious with God over the loss of my mother, but tried to convince myself otherwise. When I finally got honest I gave myself permission to have my anger toward this god of my youth. Suddenly, I felt spiritually free. After firing the old god I had to find a more loving and compassionate concept. First I meditated by seeing my deceased relatives and friends in my mind’s eye. Next, I asked them to show me a Higher Power I could trust and believe in. I now have a sense of spirituality that works for me.
- Developing religious tolerance.
When I learned I could have a relationship with a Higher Power that made sense to me, I recognized everyone had this same right. This is why there are so many different religions and spiritual philosophies. Understanding religion was man-made, but spirituality was universal, I became more tolerant of the beliefs of others. Religion is only a path to spirituality. The path taken isn’t important. How we treat ourselves and others is essential to our spiritual development.
- Creating personally meaningful prayer rituals.
The repetitious religious prayers of my youth were no longer comforting me. I needed something more personal. While working through my anger toward the God of my youth over my many losses, prayers for help were directed to my mother in the afterlife. I’d talk to her about my day, how I was feeling: anger, grief, fear or sadness. Sometimes I would even draw pictures. This worked for me. Today, my form of prayer continues to include speaking from the heart with deceased relatives on the other side. Talking to a loving universal spirit initially felt awkward, so I began by writing my prayers out in a daily journal.
- Embracing all our emotions.
Society is quick to categorize certain human emotions as either good or bad. But in fact, feeling all of our feelings is healthy. How I react to my emotions can have positive or negative consequences. Unexpressed anger turns into rage, depression, or physical illness, while unresolved grief can leave us feeling hopeless. Learning how to embrace our emotions responsibly is essential. It’s also important to understand that feeling numb doesn’t mean we have healed ourselves. Expressing our feelings responsibly will open us up to spiritual experiences.
- Accepting ourselves, warts and all.
For years I believed spiritual people were perfect people. I also thought once we physically passed we became even more perfect. For years I couldn’t see how I was going to measure up. Such pressure! What freed me up was recognizing that we take ourselves to the other side. This journey is just part of an ongoing process of spiritual evolution. Perfection isn’t a requirement.
- Recognizing how different the physical body looks without a soul.
The fear of physical death is a Western cultural phenomenon that haunts many in our society. This also includes feeling distressed about aging: Getting physically older brings us closer to physical death! When I go to funerals I’m always reminded that the physical body laid out in the casket is missing something: a soul; that “light,” or a spirit. When attending a funeral, imagine the spirit of the physically deceased sitting with you, gossiping about the event! As you approach the casket for viewing, continue your conversation with the spirit of this loved one. See them standing next to you looking down on the body.
- Connecting with the soul in everyone we meet.
Each of us has a spiritual self. When friends or family hurt us sometimes it’s hard to see this, but by separating the human fallibilities of those we love from their core spiritual essence we can learn to connect with others on a “soul to soul” level. Recognizing we are all spiritual creatures having a very human experience in a material world has helped me be more forgiving and tolerant of myself and others.
©2013 by Carla Wills-Brandon, PhD.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New Page Books, a division of Career Press.
800-227-3371. All rights reserved.
Heavenly Hugs: Comfort, Support, and Hope From the Afterlife
by Carla Wills-Brandon, Ph.D.
About the Author
Carla Wills-Brandon has published 13 books, one of which was a Publishers Weekly best-seller. A licensed marriage and family therapist and grief expert, she has worked with individuals impacted by the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, the bombing of the World Trade Center, Holocaust survivors, and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, among many others. Carla is one of the few researchers focused on the departing vision as proof of life after death. Having researched nearly 2,000 such encounters for more than 30 years, she is a sought-after lecturer and has appeared on numerous national radio and television programs.
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