After 40 years of chasing the trappings of power, wealth and a traditional family, Richard D. Blackstone began to understand that there was much more to life than these outside badges of success. He embarked upon an intense spiritual journey that led him to a profound awakening—inspired by Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Blackstone has since become an author and international speaker touting the wonders of a spiritual life. His book, Nuts & Bolts Spirituality: Waking Up the Sleepwalkers, is a user-friendly guide to integrating spirituality into everyday life. Here, Blackstone shares his thoughts on living more spiritually.
When you live more spiritually, you’re shifting your paradigm of life. You shift away from being separate from everything and a fear-based way of life to becoming connected with everything. That’s the essence of living spiritually, rather than sleepwalking through life. It’s a love-based way of living. It’s a process. But the fun is the journey.
When you live a life of fear and separation, the natural consequence is that you’ll never experience inner peace or peace on earth. But by living a spiritual life, you understand that you have the absolute ability to create your life in any manner that you choose. When you’re not living a spiritual life, you have the tendency to think that life happens to you. But, in reality, you have the ability to create and be whatever you desire in your life. That is such an empowering thought right there; it allows you to enjoy your life instead of wondering what’s going to happen next.
The number one thing you can do right now is to begin loving yourself unconditionally. This is a concept that will transform your life. At your core what you are is love, so you’re really just accepting what you have been all along. You need to look in the mirror and tell yourself how much you love yourself. It’s not an easy process for many—we have to overcome lots of conditioning. But when you start loving yourself unconditionally, things are just going to start flowering.
Next, cultivate a concept called “awareness.” We’re exposed to so much stimuli through television, work and family. We’re bombarded with information. Start to become aware of what you’re listening to and what’s happening in your environment. It’s also important to become aware of nature: Nature is your greatest teacher. Take a walk, look at the sky and listen to the birds. Awareness will put you on the path to understanding.
Finally, seek understanding about your true nature and develop a real desire to understand life more fully. “Who am I?” is the eternal question and if you continue to seek answers to that question, you can’t help but wake up to your true self. Who you really are is a being who knows all there is to know, but you haven’t tapped into that yet. The only thing you need to do now is seek knowledge.
The biggest challenge people face when attempting to live a more spiritual life is that they’re going against a lifetime of conditioning that has continually reinforced the idea that they’re a separate person from all other people, places and things. They have been taught to view the world exclusively through their physical senses and to believe in Newtonian physics, which tells us that the universe is mechanical and so are we. Because of this conditioning, many people define themselves as a two-part being—a body with a mind—when, in actuality, they’re a three-part being—body, mind and spirit. The body is physical and they can relate to that. The mind is non-physical but works primarily through the brain, which is physical, so they can relate to that. But the spirit is meta-physical and cannot be defined in physical terms, so it’s often not used in a conscious manner in their decision-making process. The spirit is the part of you that’s eternally interconnected with all of life, including your source, so it’s critical for the spiritual seeker to recognize and understand that their true nature is one of spirit and not one of physicality.
“Waking up” is the ability to understand that you can create your life consciously. To me, it’s the shift to a spiritual way of living and a shift in consciousness. You wake up when you go from living in an unconscious manner to realizing that you are creating your life, the thoughts you think, the words you say and the actions you take.
Everything you do in life you’re doing to be happy. But I came to understand that happiness isn’t something you strive to get to; it’s a choice you make. If you want to be happy, make a choice to be happy. In that choice, you’ll begin doing happy things. I want to be happy all the time, too. When I wake up in the morning, I say, “I choose to be happy” and then I keep choosing it all the time.
This is one of the critical spiritual principles: You’re not a “human doing,” you’re a “human being.” Your “beingness” is a catalyst for everything that happens in your life. If you take a mirror look at what you’re doing, it will tell you what you’re being. For example, if you’re cheating on your golf score, it will tell you that you’re being a cheater. If you’re lying to your friends to look better, then you’re being a liar. Your “beingness” creates your “doingness.” That’s why it’s critical to focus on “beingness” instead of “doingness.” It’s important to remember that you don’t “do” happy; you “be” happy and then do happy things.
I turn to the concept of unconditional love. Whenever I come upon something that I need to deal with and I’m not sure how to handle it, I go to unconditional love and ask the question, “What would love do now?” That has served me so well. Unconditional love is the answer to everything in our existence.
When you begin to really understand your true nature, you begin to understand that you are the creator of your life. If your life has changed, then that change is there for a reason and the best thing you can do is accept that change. You may be in a place of pain, but there’s something necessary in the change for you to grow. Acceptance is so critical to the changes that happen in life. Everything that happens in life happens because you created it. It’s important to understand that beyond the pain of change is some joy that you can’t see yet.
The best change I ever made was the night I read Conversations With God, book one, page 20. It said, “You’re not here to discover your life, you’re here to create your life.” I knew that was written for me. I made a commitment to create my life in the grandest vision and I thank the universe for sending me exactly what I needed at the right time.
For more information on Richard D. Blackstone, visit www.richardblackstone.com.
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