Our Spiritual Nutrition

This website presents the process by which to become spiritually self-aware.
Start with the Intro page and progress through each section.

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Section 1 - The first step

Food for thought
To truly change self requires changing our thoughts, attitudes, emotions, beliefs and desires.

A healthy spiritual diet enables us to feel joy, love and optimism and to be kind, generous, patient and tolerant not only with others but with ourselves. Spiritual malnutrition occurs with chronic negativity. A constant stream of complaining, fear, anger, worry, guilt or resentment is literally spiritual junk food. It prevents lasting fulfillment, happiness, inner calm, peace, satisfaction, success or any other positive results; it also creates many of life's negative life experiences such as addictions, chronic pain and diseases, co-dependent relationships, repeated failures and feeling like a victim.


What do you think?
Review the following self-assessment list. If three or more of the statements apply, then your spiritual diet may be placing your physical health at risk.


What can be done?
Each of the beliefs and patterns above is created by our thoughts. Since we choose our spiritual diet, albeit unwittingly, and since our spiritual nutrition creates our reality, we have the power to change our reality. Reducing and refining our negative thoughts, attitudes, emotions, beliefs and desires improves every aspect of our lives, and changes our reality for the better.

Figure 02: Components of our spiritual nutrition
Figure 02: Components of our spiritual nutrition

Steps in becoming spiritually self-aware
The process of becoming spiritually self-aware begins by paying attention to our thoughts and acknowledging that we really do have negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions, beliefs and desires.

Figure 03: Steps in becoming spiritually self-aware
Figure 03: Steps in becoming spiritually self-aware

The next steps - meditating to learn the root cause of our negative thoughts and resolving the issues causing them - are the means by which profound change occurs. Learning how we came to be the person we are today empowers us to come to peace with our past. Being at peace frees us to make wiser choices about our lives.


About spiritual self-awareness
Becoming spiritually self-aware brings profound change into our live. We become less inclined to judge, criticise, and condemn because we see that we are all the same -we are all capable of great kindness or great cruelty, given the right circumstances. Spiritual self-awareness enables us to forgive, frees us from dwelling in the past and enables us to truly treat others as we would like to be treated, without needing them to respond in kind. This does not mean that we must allow others to treat us poorly, but it does mean that we become empowered to say no to unreasonable demands or abusive treatment without feeling guilty, angry or resentful - without going on a drinking binge, or a shopping spree, or a cleaning frenzy, or whatever our favourite self-punishment or medication happens to be.

Does it really matter what I think?
Yes, it does. Nothing exists in physical without first having existed in thought. Everything we see around us - cars, bridges, dinnerware, medicine, ourselves, and most especially the Universe in which we live, would not - could not - exist, had someone not thought of a plan to bring them into existence.

Our thoughts drive our every action or inaction, and they determine the course of our lives. Paying attention to our thoughts, attitudes and emotions, and learning about our belief systems and desires enables us to start changing them.
Figure 04: We all think, all the time
Figure 04: We all think, all the time
  
  
What are 'thoughts' anyways?
Our spiritual reactions to our life experiences are expressed in the following ways:

Thoughts
are ideas formed into language using either words, images or symbols. Our thoughts produce the attitudes, emotions, beliefs, desires and behaviours that we all have.

Attitudes arise from our thoughts and belief systems.

Emotions arise from our thoughts and attitudes, albeit at lightning fast speed.

Belief systems are stories we use to justify our attitudes, desires and behaviours.

Desires result from our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs.

We behave in the ways we do as a result of our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and desires.
Figure 05: Thoughts are the great builder 
Figure 05: Thoughts are the great builder
   

Our negative thoughts harm us
It is all too easy to deny that we have negative thoughts, but we all have them - no matter who we are, or where we live, or what we do for a living. It is seldom our intention; they just seem to happen, almost like a reflex. Just try watching television for two minutes without judging or criticising someone.

It is not that we are bad for having negative thoughts; rather, it is up to us to recognize and change them. Why? Because they are harmful. Our negative thoughts harm not only ourselves and others, but our beautiful planet.


Acknowledge negative thoughts
If humanity is ever to take its next evolutionary leap forward, we must first change ourselves; we cannot change ourselves unless until we change our thoughts. Our thoughts express our reactions to whatever is going on around us. The Universal Intelligence hears every single one of our thoughts, and knows the pattern each thought expresses. For example, thinking, "At least I am not like that person" expresses an attitude of self-righteousness. Our guide flags this as a lesson to be learned, and future experiences will provide us with opportunities to learn humility. If we do not pay attention to our negative thoughts, we can end up feeling like a victim of life. Here are some common phrases and the thought pattern they express:  

Figure 06: This phrase ... is this pattern
Figure 06: Common phrases and the thought pattern they express

Order from chaos
When our thoughts are filled with negativity (chaos), it can be challenging to find peace and calm (order). When something is worrying or angering us, it can be almost impossible to stop thinking about it. The thought keeps endlessly repeating and after a while, we may not even hear it anymore - but it is still repeating. Without resolution, these often-repeated thoughts create accidents, illness and chronic confusion for us by lowering our vibrational frequency and keeping us stuck in feedback loops, to say nothing of creating karmic situations.

Figure 07: We cannot feel calm if our thoughts are in chaos
Figure 07: We cannot feel calm if our thoughts are in chaos

Resolve, Refine, Reduce
Spiritual decluttering is the process of clearing our chaotic thoughts. Resolving inner conflicts, refining our understanding of our thoughts and finally, reducing our thoughts, enables us to feel better, to pay better attention to ourselves, and to better hear our guide.

Resolve  Reduce Refine
Figure 07a: Resolve, refine and reduce the thoughts

Resolve inner conflicts
Inner conflicts keep us stuck. They create negative behavioural patterns and generally prevent us from being able to live life well. Such conflicts result from having core beliefs that are not based in truth. We cling to the childhood beliefs that were taught to us by our authority figures, or that we developed on our own in the absence of input from our caregivers. Once we have them though, changing them can seem next to impossible.

Example: A child suffers abuse by a sibling. The child tells their caregiver that the sibling "hates me" but the caregiver says, "Don't be ridiculous. Your sibling loves you." The child knows this to be false, yet feels compelled to believe the caregiver. An inner conflict results, along with belief systems that say "love hurts" and "I am not worthy". The child grows up craving loving relationships yet continually ends up in unhealthy relationships.

In fact, sibling abuse does not arise out of "love". Abusive behaviour arises from fear, anger, resentment and other negative thoughts. Of course parents do not think that one of their children could harm another, so the child is taught to believe that their sibling is just playing, and that she or he is not seriously trying to harm them. The child knows better, but learns instead to not trust her or himself. Resolving inner conflicts is also known as inner child work.

Refine your thoughts

Refining the thoughts means understanding at ever-deeper levels just what a particular thought pattern sounds like, so that it can be gradually eliminated. For example, judgment can take many forms:
  • You see someone eating. Based on the time of day, you 'decide' that they are obviously eating their breakfast. There are other options though. The person may have worked a late shift and this is supper for them. The person may have a disease that requires them to eat several times per day, and this may be their third, fourth or even fifth meal of the day so far. The fact is that we cannot possibly know, unless we ask them directly. To assume that we know is judgment.
  • You look at this same person and decide that they should not be eating because they are overweight, or that they should be eating more because they are too thin. To assume that we know what their diet should be; to assume that we know what their correct weight should be, to assume that we know what is best for them is to assume that we know which spiritual lessons are being presented for them in this particular lifetime; these are all matters of judgment.
  • You look at this same person and decide, based solely on their physical appearance, that they are not worthy of your respect, or of enjoying life, or of receiving God's unconditional love. Now suppose that the person you just judged is yourself. Do you think that your words do not impair your self-esteem?

How many times in a day do you make such judgments? You might be surprised. Negative thoughts like judgment, criticism and condemnation are refined by paying attention to the physical signals that your guide gives you, and by gaining understanding of the signals in meditation. What we consider to be judgment and what our guides consider to be judgment are quite different, and that is the reason that signals are given. They remind us to pay attention to our thoughts.


Reduce your thoughts
Have you any idea how much time we spend worrying about things over which we have utterly no control? Or how often our thoughts return to past events and rehash them, searching, wishing somehow for a different outcome? The refinement process enables us to gradually reduce the number of thoughts we have. The fewer thoughts we have, the more we are able to simply be in observation mode.



Next steps
The next steps on the path to spiritual self-awareness are learning how to change our automatic responses (Section 2) and learning to meditate (Section 3). Together, these actions bring self-respect and resolution of inner conflicts. They give our lives new meaning and heighten our spiritual self-awareness. Through this process, pain from the past seems to magically disappear, not because we are ignoring it or medicating it, but because we are truly dealing with it.

Self-test

1. What are the five components of our spiritual diet?

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Thoughts, attitudes, emotions, belief systems, and desires.







2. What are the steps in becoming spiritually self-aware?

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  • Pay attention to our thoughts.
  • Acknowledge the negative ones.
  • Meditate to learn their root cause(s).
  • Resolve the issues causing them.







3. What thoughts, attitudes and/or emotions are expressed by the following statements:

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  • At least I'm not like that person - Self-righteousness
  • I'm mad at you so I'm not talking to you - Abandonment
  • It's ok if I break the rules. Rules are for everybody else - Arrogance
  • I don't want or need this, but I'm keeping it anyway - Greed
  • It's good, except ... - Criticism
  • It has to be done this way, my way, the right way - Perfectionism
  • I hate you and I will never forgive you - Resentment
  • I will make you pay for hurting me - Revenge







4. Define each of the following:

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  • Thoughts: Ideas formed into language, using either words, images or symbols
  • Attitudes: Products of Thoughts
  • Emotions: Products of Thoughts and Attitudes
  • Beliefs: Stories to justify Desires and Behaviours
  • Desires: Products of Thoughts, Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Behaviours: Products of Thoughts, Attitudes, Beliefs and Desires

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