Wednesday, December 25, 2013

10 Ways to Feel More Engaged and Alive

I came across this website and it has some interesting items on it, this one particular about how to feel more engaged and alive. And they are simple things to do. Things we probably take for granted or feel silly or childish doing. Set your inner child free and immerse yourself in these 10 ways!

Credit goes to Andrew Andestic and

1. Play with a child. Play like a child.

Children are the ultimate Zen masters. They come out of the womb fully enlightened, completely living in the moment, taking every experience in without all the extra layers of thought and worry we pile on. Then, sadly, they become adults.
But you can get some of this back by dropping the rake, the bills, and the dishes in order to push toy cars, throw leaves, and make snow angels. Lose yourself in the moment. Act silly. Make a fool of yourself.
Mystics often are mistaken for idiots. No kids available? I can loan you three, or I’m sure you have a friend or neighbor who would oblige as well.

2. Laugh hard

Humor is a great way to shake off painful emotions and transcend the everyday.
After a tough day, my wife and I will hit the internet and watch a few Saturday Night Live skits or some of the Colbert Report just to loosen us up and remind our heads that life should not be taken too seriously. A family tickle fest never hurts either.

3. Attend a new spiritual service

Historically, church functioned as a weekly stopping point for people to reflect and connect. That’s great. But church can become a rut, especially if you go every week to hear the same book read by the same person who usually says the same stuff.
Try a new service. Unitarian. Wiccan. Buddhist. Catholic. I recently tried out a Quaker service. We sat in complete silence for an hour. At first, I was petrified. I wanted to run out screaming. But then I settled into this beautiful state of relaxed peace.

4. Read a mystical book by an enlightened person

There are so many great spiritual books out there that can help you step out of your frantic, everyday life and get you to look into to the soul. Eckhart Tolle is a current best-selling author with lots of good stuff. Fr. Anthony DeMello’s Awareness is wonderful and challenging. I love reading Allan Watts as a way to stretch my spiritual imagination.
Pick up a Zen book, like Zen Flesh, Zen Bonesand puzzle over some of the classic riddles (called Koans). Or grab a classic in mystical living by the likes of Brother Lawrence, Meister Eckhart, Rumi, or Lao Tzu.

5. Walk alone in the woods or by a river

No headphones. No talking. Walk slowly. You’re not working out your body; you’re working out your soul. Use a simple mantra or mindful phrase, like “In-Out, Deep-Slow, Calm-Ease, Smile-Release,” to stop your incessant thinking.
Spiritual master Krishnamurti once summarized the essence of all mystical practices in two words: “don’t think.” When you’re alone in nature, your ego falls away, leaving you with yourself.

6. Stargaze

Head to the country at night and lay out under the sky. Stargazing is a great way to remember the vastness of the universe. Inside us is that same vastness. We are made from atoms that were once part of the cosmos.
Being mystical is not about floating away on a cloud of euphoria. It’s about fully being in the perfect moment. The stars are there every night. Are we?

7. Listen to a great symphony or opera

A mystical experience can be any experience that forces you to slow down and activate new parts of your brain, triggering insight and expansive thinking. I love indie-rock, but after a long day of work, music without words gives space for my spinning brain to slow down.

8. Fast

Fasting has been used as a mystical practice for centuries by nearly every tradition out there, and that was back when food was hard to come by! It’s a great way to test your self-control, learn to deal with difficult feelings, let go of ingrained habits, and commune with those less fortunate in the world. And it’s free. (Of course, with eating disorders on the rise, please make sure this practice is right for you by consulting with your doctor.)

9. Volunteer

Get outside of your life, literally, and wrap yourselves up in someone else’s. I recommend spending time with the elderly, people who were alive before iPhones and Google (hard to believe). Consider not telling anybody what you’re doing; otherwise, volunteering just becomes another way to strengthen the ego.

10. Meditate

Meditation is the mystical practice used for millennia by countless great spiritual thinkers. It’s been proven by scientists to extend life and increase happiness. Isn’t it worth giving a try?
Stop your mind for a few moments. Look for the one inside you who knows you know. Count your breathing. Use one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s simple mindful meditations: “Breathing in, I smile; breathing out, I relax.”
By meditating, you change yourself and the world. You transform your soul with silence and transform the planet by creating a small, but powerful, pocket of peace.
If you really struggle with sitting still and calming your mind, use some light yoga. There are many great instructors out there who combine meditation techniques with yoga. Try ten or twenty minutes for a few days in a row. Notice the changes. You’ll be surprised.
A mystical moment is simply any moment when you are fully alive, in the present, embracing what is happening. Doing dishes can be a mystical experience! But if all else fails, there’s always sitting naked in a cave beating a drum.

No comments:

Post a Comment