New Year’s resolutions are mostly about losing weight, giving up bad habits, etc., but we often neglect our spiritual side when making such resolutions. With each New Year, we are evolving as individuals, hopefully becoming better human beings in the process. This can happen only when we are in touch with our spiritual selves. So it might be a good idea to make some spiritual resolutions, too, so that our actions acquire a deeper significance and purpose.
To improve your inner life in a simple and practical way this New Year 2021, here are ten ideas.
There is more to simplifying life than reorganizing shelves and cleaning out closets. From a spiritual perspective, simplicity is about decluttering our mental and emotional attitudes, too. It means getting rid of the things that prevent us from focusing on what is really important.
A first step would be to spend ten minutes of wasted time every day on something productive. For instance, if you waste a lot of time playing video games, or chatting on social media, or binge-watching television, use ten minutes of that time to do something more purposeful.
It could be spent on a pursuit that makes you a better person. So, you can add ten minutes to read a holy book, prayer, or cultivating a talent or hobby. Or you could write a thoughtful note or card to someone who feels lonely or has undergone a bereavement. And, as the months pass, you can even add five more minute increments slowly until you are able to set aside half an hour or even one hour per day.
Read one spiritual book every month
Instead of reading pulp fiction or magazines, make some time to read a spiritual book. This will make you more virtuous and reduce your affinity for vices. Reading such books gets rid of the toxins in your mind and heart.
Go for a weekend retreat
Going for a weekend retreat once every year, too, has a detoxifying effect on the mind. Daily life is full of stress and strain, and it can have a deleterious effect on the soul. Being in a calm and peaceful place with fellow spiritual travelers is a great stress buster. It might stretch your schedule a bit, but you will never regret it. Even a one-day retreat can make a great difference, for it will enrich your life and purify your soul.
Volunteer for a cause
Volunteering for a good cause is one thing that is ideal for spiritual upliftment. Maybe you have a pet cause of your own. If you feel for poor and homeless people, you can help them by organizing food drives and inviting donations. The kind of volunteer work and the level of commitment is up to you. When you give of your time, it is an act of great generosity and compassion.
Maintain a prayer journal
Keep a notebook near your bedside and make it a daily habit to jot down all the spiritual thoughts that come to your mind. It may be a simple prayer, a gratitude list, a letter to God, or a quote from a holy book. Whenever you feel low, you can revisit the journal for solace and motivation.
Listen to others
Listening is a skill all of us need to cultivate. Always listen to others before offering your own opinions. Allow the other person to talk and do not be distracted when they are talking. As you become a more attentive listener, it will become easier to hear God’s voice, too, deep within your heart.
Surrender your sins, failures, and weaknesses to God
A common mistake that we often make in our spiritual journey is to lose heart when we fail to meet our expectations and goals. Sometimes, you may not be able to fulfill your spiritual commitments for some reason or the other. On such occasions, surrender your disappointments to God in the form of a prayer.
Kindness is a virtue that every spiritual aspirant needs to cultivate. By being kind, we make the world a better place for others. Show kindness towards those whom you know as well as those whom you do not know, whenever the opportunity arises. It makes your spiritual aura shine brighter and fills your heart with a great lightness of being.
Become a vegetarian
While everyone has the right to eat the food of their choice, it is observed that eating vegetarian food benefits those who wish to follow the spiritual path. Meat is seen as a tamasic food, and hence many Hindus who wish to become more spiritual avoid eating meat and fish. The spiritual aspirant abjures violence of any kind, and hence vegetarianism can be one way to enhance your spiritual quotient.
Some of the common negative thoughts that assail us are hate, envy, anger, pride, jealousy, etc. Harboring such thoughts prevents us from experiencing God. It robs us of happiness and peace of mind. In Hindu mythology, these negative forces are personified as demons or asuras. Vishnu took ten avatars to eliminate such negative energies. Goddess Durga, too, was a slayer of such demons. When our minds and hearts are free of negativity, we will be able to get closer to God.
As human beings, we are required to evolve. In Hinduism, the ultimate goal of human life is to become one with God. This is possible only when we become fully spiritual beings. It is, no doubt, a long journey for most mortals. Whether you are already on the spiritual path or wondering how to begin your spiritual journey, these ten resolutions will help you. Let them be your New Year rituals for 2021.