In the last few years, science has confirmed the many positive mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of living a spiritual life. These benefits are cumulative over a lifetime, according to Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, author of Brain Longevity, and in his view, there are four key ingredients to nurturing that spiritual life. Here’s what he says:
Practice: Wake Up to Wellness
Without a regular spiritual practice, I don’t believe it’s possible to live a fulfilled spiritual life. The key is to start your day in a positive way with techniques such as kundalini yoga, Chi Gong, deep relaxation, meditation, or prayer. Meditation, we now know, works on activating and calming different parts of the brain. But developing a regular morning practice, or sadhana, is steeped in the history of health, happiness, and spiritual fulfillment.
Once a student asked the master: “Sir,” she said, “may I take a nap after sadhana?” To which the master replied: “You can do anything you want after sadhana."
You can do anything you want in life. But first do your sadhana.
Service: Bring Altruism into Your Life
When you serve others, even if it’s just to offer someone a silent prayer, a handshake, or a smile, research shows that you reduce your own stress.
When you serve others, even if it’s just to offer someone a silent prayer, a handshake, or a smile, research shows that you reduce your own stress. Such altruistic and compassionate behaviors improve our physical and mental health. Current thinking links this discovery directly to two parallel physiological events: reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, along with a corresponding improvement in immune system function.
Community: Nurture a Strong Social Support System
According to both Eastern healing philosophy and Western science, group energy, be it from friends, family, church, or synagogue members, is very important for our health. Surrounding yourself with people who support your energy, rather than drain it, is imperative for feeling great.
Remembrance: Remember the New Golden Rule
Everyone knows the old Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The new Golden Rule is: “See the other person as yourself. See the other person as a soul.” The other person is you. He or she carries a spark of the divine inside, just as we all do.
As you go about the busy hours of your day, you will see that when you are able to see another as yourself, your interactions will occur on a much more loving, intimate, or unified level. In the simple act of seeing yourself in the other, enlightenment becomes possible. And when you live a spiritual lifestyle, you soon find not just improved health and mental powers, but extraordinary richness and meaning in your life.