Looking Beyond the Surface of Life

Mindful Awareness

by Jayaram V

Summary: Ten ways to improve the quality of your thinking, feelings, perceptions and understanding to bring deeper spiritual awareness into your daily life.

We live in a difficult world. Technology was supposed to bridge the communication gap and bring people together, but it did the opposite. People are now more isolated than ever, as they spend more time with their mobile phones and gadgets rather than with people. Knowledge is now freely available, but it has not only created information overload but also made people highly selective and susceptible to subtle propaganda.

Life is not simple anymore, as people have to cope with the pressures of urban life and growing economic instability. Living in this complex environment, how can people gain control over their lives and find peace within themselves or in the world around them? How can they look beyond the surface of things and discern truths about themselves and their lives? One of the best ways to do it is cultivate spiritual attitude.

Cultivating Deeper Spiritual Awareness

Spirituality does not necessarily mean that you have to believe in God or in soul. The Buddhists do not believe in both. Yet, the Buddhist monks are no less spiritual than any other spiritual people in the world. To be spiritual, you have to live with the deeper awareness of things, looking beyond the illusions, appearances and surface impressions, restraining your habitual desires and impulsive behavior. Here are a few simple suggestions to cultivate deeper spiritual awareness.

1. Pay attention to what is going on

As life becomes busier, we stop paying attention to many things. Become mindful of the things around you. By paying attention, you establish a deeper connection with the world and people. You will have a better awareness of things, people and their feelings and expressions.

2. Think through your opinions and decisions

In the rush of life, and pushed by circumstances, deadlines and reminders, people rush to judgments and do whatever that comes to their minds. If you want to make better decisions, check your surface impressions, underlying assumptions and irrational thinking.

3. Feel the feelings

Feelings and emotions are an important source of information about human behavior. By paying attention to your feelings and those of others, you can know many things about you and your relationships. Therefore, become sensitive to your feelings and those of others and learn to discern them.

4. Stay with the moment

By being in the present, you ground yourself in the reality of the moment. You do not have to pay attention to everything. However, try to keep your eyes and mind wide open whenever possible and savor the moment. By that, you will relax more, think better and make better decisions.

5. Make silence your secret sanctuary

We are surrounded by lot of noise and many distractions. They disturb our minds and cause a lot of stress. You can create your own inner sanctuary deep inside you by practicing silence. By that, you can calm your nerves and energize yourself.

6. Cultivate cheerful attitude no matter what.

Life can be depressing at times. Yet, you can choose to be content. You do not have to be cheerful or happy only when right circumstances are present. You can do it even in difficult times with will power, making peace with yourself and what you cannot change.

7. Let life be not all about you

While you are largely responsible for your life and actions, you cannot ignore the role others play in your life. They are a part of your collective karma, who give you an opportunity to engage in good actions and cultivate helpfulness, selflessness, loving and caring nature, compassion, generosity and truthfulness.

8. Transcend your limited self

It is important to look beyond the mundane and the obvious to cultivate insight and wisdom into the nature of things. Challenge your beliefs, habitual thoughts, prejudices and preconceive notions. Consider other opinions and viewpoints. Read books about a wide range of subjects. Stretch your mind.

9. Cultivate discernment

Discretion helps you in decision making by letting you distinguish the right from the wrong, and thereby keeps you safe from self-destructive actions and habits. Amidst the uncertainties of life, it is your guide, philosopher, protector and teacher. You can cultivate discernment with right knowledge, right thinking, right perceptions and right views to discern things and make right choices.

10. Feel gratitude for all things in your life

While you make life happen, life also happens to you. You owe a great deal to the world, since help comes to you from others in many visible and invisible ways. Your very birth and early life, when you were young and helpless, were made possible by others. Therefore, express gratitude for all your blessings and all the good things that happened to you.

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