Month: April 2022

Applying Spirit

In a prior discussion, we explored reasons why people use their Spirit so infrequently in pursuing excellence and in reaching for success. Let’s assume for a moment that you now know what Spirit is, and you agree that it is important to you. You see the need to learn more about it, and have already decided which habits of Spirit you want to incorporate into your life. Understanding how to apply or implement those habits can be confusing. Let’s shed some light on the subject.

Implementing Your Habits
Here are five practical and tangible ways to implement Spiritual habits:

  1. Meditation or prayer.
  2. Give back to your community.
  3. Create something unique; meet a need.
  4. Absorb God’s Word into your Spirit.
  5. Find God’s fingerprint in Nature.

Meditation/ Prayer
Part 4 of the Spirit Series dealt with meditation. It is the gateway to the Spirit, because through it, we become familiar with, and accepting of, our inside (meditation) and outside (awareness) worlds. Please refer back to that section if you need a refresher.

Prayer is just an extension of meditation as we become focused and aware of God and His role in our lives. More than just asking for help when we are in need or in trouble, prayer should be a running (minute-by-minute) dialogue with the Creator of the Universe.

“Give me peace in this situation, Lord.”

“What other options should I consider here, Lord?”

“Thank you for giving me that insight.”

“WOW! That’s not what I expected. Now I understand.”

“I don’t understand, and I trust You anyway.”

“You have my future in Your hands. There are no accidents in my life.”

“Help me to hold my tongue. I want to honor You.”

You get the idea. He should be an integral part of your life, not just a punctuation mark. Do you want the defining moments of your life determined with the Almighty, or do you want to rely on your ego or someone else’s opinion in making those decisions? For me, the answer is a no-brainer.

Community
Many people helped you get where you are today. They loved you, taught you, disciplined you when necessary, and encouraged you along your path. They may not have expected anything in return, but the selfless, responsible individual will want to return the favor at some point. If your “helpers” are still alive, call or write to them and thank them. Tell them how much you appreciate their input into your life. If you are like me, most of my “most important people” have already passed away. There are still ways to “give back.”

Find a need and meet it. Make the world and your current community a better place than when you arrived. It is more than just giving money. Be a model citizen, an ambassador for those who helped you. Pick up trash, keep your yard maintained and your car washed. Be on-time to meetings and respectful of other’s feelings and thoughts. Be the best you can possibly be at your work. Volunteer through meaningful organizations or in areas where you have a particular interest (coaching, tutoring, public speaking).

Don’t be a taker only; give back cheerfully. When you give freely to others, it raises your Spirit to new levels of greatness. Health benefits (decreased stress, decreased blood pressure, increased serotonin) accrue to you as well.

Create Something Unique
God put you here on this earth for a reason. You are not just a place-holder. You have a gift for the world. Find out what it is, and cheerfully do it! Give it away so that others might enjoy and learn. It might be a book, a song, a sculpture, a painting, a model relationship with your spouse, a child, a farm, a meaningful attitude, a model prayer life, reaching others with the knowledge you have, or amazing others with your abilities in sport while showcasing the Lord you serve.

Eric Liddell, 400 meter running champion in the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France and star of the 1981 motion picture, Chariots of Fire, once said, “I believe that God made me for a purpose. He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” https://www.quotes.net/mquote/16621. I hope that the same is true for you, no matter what you choose to be or do.

Absorb God’s Word


In order to be more like God, it would be wise to study His attributes. What does it mean to have the heart of God? (Acts 13:22 NIV) What is a clean heart? (Psalm 51:10 NIV) Read the Bible and other distinguished works about God. Find out what He wants, and what He expects from those who follow Him. Listen to sermons and lectures, go to conferences, and find friends who can mentor you along your chosen path. Become a student of God. You do the same with sports heroes and other people whom you respect; why not God?

Find God’s Fingerprint in Nature
You don’t have to be in the mountains of Colorado, Montana, or Oregon, or walking along a picturesque stream in Europe, in order to be awestruck by nature. A leisurely stroll through your neighborhood or a nearby park may suffice. Think about every flower, every tree, and every person you see; where did they come from and why are they here? What purpose do they serve? And then, what about you and me? This gives new meaning and new perspective to the word “masterpiece.”

Spirit seems ethereal. How can you tell if you are gaining any benefit from becoming more Spiritual? Tune in next time …

Developing the Habit of Spirit

Habits are methods of behavior each of us develop over the years which we use to help solve problems. Some habits are useful, others are harmful. Unless we periodically analyze our habits to determine whether they are continuing to benefit us, we will unconsciously carry our “bad” habits with us into the future. The key to living a fruitful life is to exchange great habits for the outmoded, dysfunctional ones, and thereby consistently “elevate our game” as we age.

Take cigarette smoking, as an example. You may have started smoking in order to “fit in” with a desired group of friends or because you thought it looked “cool.” As the years went by, though, you may have learned that your chances of developing lung cancer and emphysema increase in direct proportion to the amount you have smoked. As we get older, watching grandchildren grow up and maintaining our health usually becomes more important than satisfying our friends, so we quit the habit of smoking and start walking or doing yoga as an alternative habit.

All of us are remaking and remolding ourselves in order to better satisfy our current needs. That’s necessary and healthy.

What Are Your Spiritual Habits?
When it comes to Spiritual habits, you may have to think long and hard to come up with any at all. You may have been taught that Spiritual things are not important or not useful, or you may have pushed those thoughts to the back of your mind. Now, though, because you understand some of the more practical and useful ways of the Spirit, you may be willing to reconsider those prior notions.

Not to worry! Sometimes starting with a clean slate makes change easier, and growth becomes the path of least resistance.

Consider these Habits
Here is a short list of Spiritual habits which have been meaningful to me:

  1. Live your life truthfully and genuinely. Be yourself, not who others want you to be.
  2. Be open to learning and change.
  3. Treat others with dignity and respect.
  4. Have a hunger to know God better. 
  5. Appreciate the beauty of creation in all things around you.

Be Genuine
Don’t allow hypocrisy to become a part of your life. Determine what principles and values you think are most important, and live by them. Don’t sing hymns in church on Sunday morning, and then badmouth competitors and/or colleagues during the week. God doesn’t appreciate your two-faced attitude, and neither does anyone else.

Be Curious
Look for new ways of thinking, or new answers to old problems. This will require being purposefully bold and courageous, but you can do it! Ask yourself, “How is that old habit of _____________ working out for me? Would things get better if I did it in a new or different way? Would it hurt to try, and see?” Start with small changes; drive home from work by taking a different route. Say “Thank you.” Take a vitamin every day. Not exactly radical, right? The results you get may surprise you!\

Be Respectful of Others
Others need your respect and your encouragement! You may be their only source. They are God’s children, too. They need to be appreciated just like you do. Feed them.

Find the Perfect Mentor
I am not perfect, and never have been. Moreover, I have never met anyone else who is, except God! He is the ideal. Moreover, He knows what you are going through, and was tempted in similar ways without yielding or succumbing. Read about Him, learn His ways. Pattern your life after Him.

Nature Is Awesome
A short walk in the woods on a cool, autumn morning may be all that is necessary to be reminded of God’s miracles which are all around us. The warmth of the sun, the majesty of a blooming flower, the strength and symmetry of a large oak tree, the gracefulness of a deer, the changing clouds, and the silent flow of an every-changing river are just some of the many ways that God makes himself known to us. You have but to observe and appreciate.

God’s creation is fresh every morning. It is just like Christmas morning every day, if you want it to be.

There are many other habits of the Spirit. Use your resourcefulness and ingenuity to discover others that may be more meaningful to you. When you know what habits you desire, the question becomes “How do I use these, apply these, or employ these in my life?” That is the subject of our next discussion. Until then …

Meditation

Like Spirit, Meditation is frequently misunderstood. There are many fables and myths surrounding it. In fact, though, Meditation is just focused awareness of what is going on around you (mindfulness), or within you (focused breathing).

Rekindling the Spirit
Meditation is important to learn and regularly practice. It is the most effective vehicle for jump-starting your Spirit. Remember, our creativity, imagination, and search for God can be significantly stunted by allowing the people closest to us (parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, mentors) to influence us to go in other directions.

These are the people we most often listen to and learn from. At some point, there may be only small embers of Spirit left within you, but they are always waiting to be fanned aflame. All you need is oxygen (breathing), and a fuel source. The fuel you use usually involves desire, resolve, and positive feelings generated from the heart, such as love, compassion, appreciation, and gratitude.

More Spirit … Many Benefits
Once rekindled, the Spirit can grow and develop like any other part of our being. What can we expect as our Spirit renews? Many people experience serenity, clearer thinking, lower stress levels, fewer distractions, better focus/concentration, lofty insights, or a smoother flow of life as they move through their day.

As you practice more, and learn to effortlessly enter into this mindset, you may find that you are in a better mood most of the day, your life seems to be more in balance, your relationships improve, and you care more deeply about others. The world just has a rosier tone.

The Roles of Coherence and Entrainment
We function at higher levels of performance because of coherence and entrainment induced by meditation. Coherence is stabilization and consistency of our heart-rate variability, which generate a strong and steady electromagnetic (EM) energy field around heart. This field, which extends as much as three feet beyond our physical bodies, synchronizes all systems within us (entrainment), so that every part is vectored in the same direction. We are at maximum efficiency. There are no distractions. There is no wasted energy.

This EM field also positively affects other individuals. This is a psychophysiological phenomenon which can be measured scientifically; it is not just an obtuse, nebulous theory. It applies to all of us, not just a select few.

So, you see, if we want to function at our highest potential, Meditation is an essential and important part of our toolkit. It is the ignition key to our hot rod known as Spirit.

Don’t just take my word for it. Research meditation yourself. Heartmath (www.heartmath.com) is a great place to start. My book, All-In Or Nothing, Master Your Destiny, is also a great source (pages 223-225).

In summary, that “still, small voice” which is so critical to our welfare and our performance is usually buried beneath a superficial veneer of distractions. That still, small voice can be best accessed through Meditation.

You’ll be glad you took the time to find out more about Meditation!