Being “spiritual” is a process of ongoing, daily action. Spiritual principles of recovery are guiding concepts that teach us the value of things like patience and gratitude to heal ourselves from the inside out. Imbibe these spiritual gifts in your life now!
“Throughout time, there have always been those that need help and those that give help. Sometimes we are the ones in need of help and other times we are the helper. It is in this giving and receiving that our humanity is shared and our highest potentials are reached.”John Bruna
With the December holidays—Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa—most of us are pulled in two seemingly contradictory directions: the materialism inherent in buying and giving gifts, and the generosity of spirit evidenced by an increased attitude of goodwill toward oneself and others.
Although the giving of material gifts to others can be an extension of spiritual goodwill, material and spiritual generosity are two very different things that are frequently in conflict. By spiritual, I am referring to attitudes and actions relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul, in contrast to material or physical commodities.
Many people are unable to give much in the way of material gifts, but by practicing being consciously aware of and applying specific principles, anyone can become more spiritual.
Spiritual principles represent meaningful values and ethical practices. While the application of spiritual principles is emphasized in 12-step programs of recovery, many of them are universal—they have been part of most of the world’s important spiritual traditions for centuries.
Some of these may seem so straightforward that you’ve never considered them to be “spiritual.” Yet, that is precisely what they are. They represent the antithesis of the dis-ease and self-absorption fueled by habitual patterns of obsessive thinking, emotional attachment/avoidance, and compulsive behaviors that imprison so many people so much of the time. Such spiritual principles open and soften the heart, connecting us more deeply and intimately with others, with the world around us, and with our authentic selves.
Here Are 10 Spiritual Principles to Heal Your Life
Acceptance is about acknowledging and come to terms with the reality of a given situation. It is important to understand that accepting something does not imply that one agrees with or is happy about it. You can dislike situations and still accept them. Finding ways to accept those things that are beyond your control to change provides freedom from having to fight against the realities you find disagreeable, uncomfortable, or painful.
Open-mindedness means being respectful of and receptive to new and different possibilities. This includes being open to suggestions and ideas that we haven’t previously considered, and perspectives that may be significantly different from our own.
Gratitude is about feeling and expressing appreciation for what we have (however little it may be). It functions as an antidote for attachment to what we want but don’t have and aversion to what we have but don’t want. Gratitude is the opposite of discontent.
Neuroscience demonstrates that gratitude reduces stress and increases well being by stimulating the hypothalamus and the ventral tegmental area—part of the brain’s reward/pleasure circuitry (Cereb Cortex. 2009 Feb; 19(2): 276–283. Published online 2008 May 22. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn080).
For many people, gratitude is arduous, because life is arduous. Objectively, some people have more to be grateful for than others. And yet, it is possible to mobilize gratitude in spite of deprivation or feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger, depression, fear, or physical pain. Sometimes you may have to look a little harder to see the blessings in your life, but there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how negative or desperate the situation seems.