As you navigate a spiritual path, it is critical to understand that in every moment, you are either in a state of love or in a state of fear.
When you are in a state of fear, you are in the brain’s fight or flight system where survival is king. Higher reason and morality cannot play into the situation when this animalistic portion of the brain is in control.
When you are in a state of love, you are in the most evolved portion of the human brain. Here, skills of higher reason are present along with the love-based states that support deep spiritual experience.
All of the great wisdom traditions teach that a life of love is our built-in pathway to knowing the spirit while we are still in this body. Love is simply our true north, our compass and our guide to spiritual awakening.
As a result, the most practical and yet powerful tool on a spiritual path is to shift out of fear and live a life of love.
Why Our Culture Harms Us in Living a Life of Love
In our culture, it is commonly taught that love is something that happens to us as opposed to an internal state we can expand our capacity to embody through daily practice.
For example, you may have tasted a deep experience of love when you had a child, were in a romantic relationship or encountered the sublime beauty of nature. These moments are often filled with a profound sense of connection coupled with glimpses of yourself as pure spiritual presence.
Often, as time passes, you slip back into old fear-based behavior and the transcendent moment becomes just a lovely memory as opposed to a way of being in this life. If you believe that your spiritual experience was connected to the external event, then all you can do is wait for another big moment to come your way before you can feel that level of spiritual connection again.
Thankfully, there is no reason to wait. Instead, love is a state of being we can consciously create.
Related: 5 Tips To Fight Less And Love More
How To Live In A Love-Based State
Although the brain is not a muscle, it does act like one. If you are routinely in a fear-based state, fear grows stronger, clouding your connection to spirit.
When you feel angry, sad, anxious, unworthy, jealous, guilty or shameful, you simply cannot experience yourself as the divine spiritual presence that you are. As a result, with each passing day, you become steeped in greater amounts of fear and separated from the spiritual experience you intuitively know is possible.
On the other hand, if you are consistently in a love-based state, such as peace, joy, love, compassion or gratitude, you enhance your capacity to embody these higher experiences. As a result, your spiritual connection becomes stronger and stronger.
One of the most powerful practices you can have on a spiritual path is routinely monitoring your state. How? Follow these steps to live a life of love.
1. Check in with yourself
Set an alarm or reminder on your phone and just check in once an hour and simply ask yourself, “In this moment, am I in a state of love or fear?”
Don’t judge fear as bad, or love as good – instead, just be aware of your state. Without awareness, there is no opportunity for change.
2. Breathe a four-sided breath
Once you have identified whether you are aligned with love or fear in the moment, then breathe a few cycles of a four-sided breath. To breathe a four-sided breath, close your mouth and breathe in and out through your nose.
Focus on your center, a spot deep in your abdomen approximately two inches below the belly button and an inch back towards the spine and begin to breathe from your center. When you breathe, inhale slowly, for four or five counts, pause and hold your breath for a moment and then exhale slowly for four counts and pause and hold the breath again.
While you breathe, set the intention to live a life of love. Breathe several cycles of this four-sided breath until you feel your emotional state shift from fear to love. If you are already in a state of love, consciously focus on expanding that state as you breathe.
3. Focus on the present
Through this simple but powerful practice, you train your ability to shift out of fear and expand your capacity to experience love. You also increase your focus on the present moment and step into a realization that there actually are no small moments in life.
Instead, each moment is a precious opportunity to choose love over fear and every time you make that choice, you travel further along your spiritual path.
It is simply not possible to live a life of love and fear at the same time because love and fear are controlled by two different parts of your brain. A majestic tree grows from a small seed that is watered, nurtured and given light. It is the same for us. If we wish to know ourselves as the divine presence we are in this life, we must plant the seeds of love and care for them moment by moment.
Joey Klein is an internationally known personal development expert, martial arts champion, and author of the book The Inner Matrix: A Guide to Transforming Your Life and Awakening Your Spirit. He travels the world teaching his technique of Conscious Transformation to support people in living healthy, happy, fulfilling lives.
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