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Trying to cultivate the spiritual self or a sense of spirituality is difficult. It’s hard to focus on yourself when you’re busy dealing with the problems in life.
In fact, it's challenging to find time to sit still and meditate when you become disoriented from the world around you and personal issues, work-related problems, relationship strife, or other stressful situations arise. But that’s why cultivating your spiritual self matters!
Because when you’re able to sit still, focus on yourself, and connect with something larger than yourself—whether that’s God or nature or just the Universe at large—you realize that there’s power in you that doesn’t come from your surroundings. You realize that there are wisdom and principles to embrace, and relationships to nourish.
And when you make space for this kind of self-reflection in your life, it gives you fuel for when life gets tough; it gives you perspective that you can lighten your struggles as you manifest your spiritual self.
The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now. – Henri Nouwen
Table of Contents
What Do I Mean by the “Spiritual Self?”
There are many interpretations of what the spiritual self may be. Many religions and practices have a concept of a “higher self,” or some sort of entity that lives outside the body and yet can interact with the body. There are also concepts of a “subtle” self, an ‘ethereal’ part of a person that might be intangible. Some even speak of the soul as being distinct from the body, but still very much alive.
One thing that all these concepts have in common is that they are all attempting to describe something outside the physical realm. This higher or subtle self is not tangible like our physical bodies, yet it can interact with our physical selves.
Some people believe this spirit can be accessed through prayer and meditation, others believe it can be awakened through things like drugs or intense physical experience, while others still believe it can only be achieved by contacting one’s past lives in a sort of spiritual regression therapy.
I interpret the spiritual self as the“divinity within.” It is our higher consciousness, or the spark that each of us has that connects us to all life. It is the part of us that is with us from birth and will exist with us from conception through death. The divinity within forms the root of our subjective consciousness, or the part of our self-awareness that is separated from our physical reality.
The divinity within is who we are at our core. It is beyond gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religious affiliation and political beliefs. It is a Universal force, which means it exists in every single human being on Earth.
We all have this same divine spark within us, even if we don’t realize it—and we all co-create together to make the world what it is today. The divinity within never came from anywhere else; it has always existed as part of everything else in existence.
As our subjective consciousness develops into adulthood, we see ourselves as separate entities from others around us. This separation causes us to identify more closely with the physical bodies we inhabit than with the divinity within—but this separation doesn’t have to continue forever. By knowing and accepting who you really are—the divinity within—you can better find purpose and happiness.
Why is it Important to Discover Your Spiritual Self?
Take some time to reflect on this question: “What is the spiritual self?” Perhaps you agree it’s what allows you to tap into your higher power and access unlimited creativity, love, and joy. Your spiritual self is the part of you that remembers how to speak with angels, follow divine guidance, and be in harmony with the Universe.
It’s also the part of you that remembers how to operate from your authentic self, live a life filled with abundance and true fulfillment, and experience such extreme levels of peace and happiness that you feel it radiating out in every direction.
The spiritual self is the source of our very identity—when we forget its existence or think it’s “just us,” we block human potential at a very fundamental level. It’s only when we remember our true nature as spiritual beings that we can fully connect to our highest capacity for living, loving, being creative or anything else—how can we do anything to the best of our abilities if we don’t know who we truly are?
We exist in an eternal state of pure consciousness that never changes. When our energy is flowing smoothly and completely through who we really are, we are living our lives as a perfect reflection of this eternal state. We are limitless in every way—we have perfect health, wealth, peace, and joy, and we can better manifest our dreams.
Expressing Your Spiritual Self Example
One way to cultivate greater spirituality into your life and better get in touch with your spiritual self is through the practice of journaling. Through the written word, you can write a letter to yourself as if guided by your higher consciousness.
Here is an example:
I am my spiritual self.
I am the light that shines from within and I radiate outward. I am the warmth that radiates from my pores and warms everyone who comes near me.
The joy that fills my heart is infectious, and I am a beacon of hope. My spirit is pure and untarnished by negativity or doubt; it shines brightly in all that I do.
My beliefs, which are rooted in compassion and love for others, guide my actions. I live my life under these values, because they are what makes me whole as a person—they are what make up my spiritual self.
11 Other Ways to Cultivate the Spiritual Self
There are a lot of ways to cultivate your spiritual self. Here are 11 of my favorites:
1. Get outside
Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise all help the body feel good and clear the mind. Being outdoors in nature can help you get in touch with your spiritual self because it helps you see the world in a new way. When you’re outside, everything is fresh and new, and there are so many things to explore, which makes it easier to feel you’re part of something greater than yourself.
2. Be mindful
Take time each day to sit in silence and reflect on what you’re grateful for and what you’d like to achieve in life. This helps your stay focused on our goals and priorities when you're bombarded by distractions.
3. Set an intention
Before you start your day—whether it’s waking up or getting ready to go to work—think about what you want to accomplish now or at some time in the future. This helps put you in control of your destiny rather than letting fate dictate where life takes you.
4. Develop a daily practice
Whether it’s yoga, tai chi, reading the Bible, or meditation—whatever you enjoy and makes you feel centered—devote time every day to your practice. It’s important to give yourself at least a few minutes of quiet time each day, where you can reflect on your life and what’s important to you.
5. Be open to new experiences
The world is full of amazing opportunities to experience new things, and when we’re closed off from these opportunities because we’re afraid of what they might bring into our lives, we miss out on so much. We can’t always foretell the future, but the best way to learn how something will affect us is by giving it a shot.
6. Embrace change
Life is constantly changing, so if we don’t make room for growth and change in our own lives, we’ll find ourselves stuck in a rut. When we embrace change as part of life instead of fighting against it, we become stronger people who can handle adverse circumstances.
7. Practice gratitude
Diving into the world of gratitude is not only good for your mind and soul, but will help you reach your goals in life. It’s hard to feel depressed all the time—gratitude helps you gain better control over your emotions. Gratitude also helps you focus on the favorable aspects in your life, instead of worrying about what you don’t have—which can also help you get what you want!
Gratitude can also be contagious; when you’re feeling grateful for what you already have, it’s easier to find reasons to appreciate other people around you and their gifts. Gratitude doesn’t just help you feel better about yourself though—it helps you recognize the interconnectedness of all living things.
8..Engage in self-reflection
Find a space where you feel safe and comfortable, and then just think about yourself. What do you value and what are your beliefs? What do you want to accomplish in life? How can you make sure that your day-to-day actions align with those values and goals?
9. Look for inspiration
Study the lives of people who have inspired you—people who have affected the world positively. What did they do that made such a difference? What can you learn from them? How can their example help guide your own life choices?
10. Find a special “alone time” in your day that you enjoy
Make time to be alone with yourself every day. Take a walk, read something inspirational, or meditate—whatever helps calm your mind down enough to reflect on what matters most in your life right now and what will matter most when it’s all said and done.
When you allocate time to an activity you enjoy, you're affirmating your worth and value.
11. Aspire to become more compassionate
When we think of cultivating a spiritual self, we think of things like meditation and reflection. We think of setting time aside to focus on ourselves, and how to better our lives. And while that’s all wonderful and well, it’s important to remember that the most important spiritual self is the one outside of yourself.
The easiest way to find your spiritual self is by practicing compassion by doing kind acts for others. When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes, you see what genuine compassion is. You feel their pain; you understand their struggles. And you can achieve this without grandiose gestures; even minor acts of kindness can make a vast difference in someone else’s day.
Final Words on the Spiritual Self
“The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.“ – Daniel Defoe
It's difficult to reach for your spiritual self in times of strife. The world is a stressful place, and it’s easy to forget about concepts like maintaining spirituality when life seems so hard. However, it’s important to remember that the human spirit gives us the ability to face outside forces with a calm clarity, and not let them bring us down.
Indeed, spirituality helps us stay grounded in our own minds and body, and it gives us the ability to make decisions that are based on our own internal compass rather than on external pressures from people or circumstances around us.
When you tap into your spiritual self and become more connected to the divinity within, you also open up a whole new world for yourself and for everyone else in your life. You feel better about yourself, which means you project an aura of confidence that others can sense and want to be around.
And the best part? You actually become more aware of how others feel around you, and you relate to others on a higher compassionate plane.
Embodying spirituality is a lifelong process, and no one ever reaches a point where they’re “done.” We are always growing and evolving as individuals—and this means that we’re always going to be challenged by new obstacles along the way. The best thing we can do when these challenges arise is to remember who we really are: spiritual beings having an earthly experience.
Look over the methods I outline to help you cultivate and manifest your spiritual self. Put these spiritual practices into your daily routine, as often as possible, and see how life changes for the better.
Remember spiritual self care is an integral part of taking care of yourself in a holistic way. Spiritual self care is like physical self care and emotional self care, but it also includes caring for your spiritual health.
The idea that a person has a spiritual side, separate from their physical side and their emotional side, may seem strange to some people. After all, the word "spirit" tends to be used to describe things that are amorphous and intangible.
However, many people believe that there is more to life than just the physical and emotional—that there is an invisible energy that exists within each of us and in the world around us, which we can tap into through conscious effort and intention.
By nurturing your spirit, you are giving your soul what it needs in order for you to lead a happier and healthier existence as a whole person while deveoping deeper connections with others.