Welcome back to The Spiritual Serenity Series: 7 Steps to Inner Peace and Happiness. Last week we looked at step 5, Confession. This week we are looking at:
Step 6: Action
So far we’ve talked a lot. Although working on the inventory and sharing our secrets with someone else could be considered action, it’s now time to see how serious we really are about change.
Not once in my life have I gained true spiritual growth by simply thinking or intellectualizing about something.
We’re talking about action, like in 9 Ways to Get the Funk Outta’ Here, “You can’t think your way into good living, you must live your way into good thinking“
This is where the rubber hits the road.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
When I started my current job, my life coach/spiritual advisor suggested that I go around each morning and introduce myself to three new people. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. I felt that would be out of character for me, after all, I’m shy. He said, “Jared, you’re making it all about you, it’s not about you. It’s about meeting new people and building relationships. Being shy is another way of being self-absorbed and self-centered.”
So I went around each morning for that first week and introduced myself to three different people. It felt good and I realized I can be a pretty friendly guy after all. I sure did feel better about myself .
In looking at how action is going to help us achieve inner peace and happiness, lets look at why we fall short of these goals in the first place. Well that’s not hard, take a look back at Step 4, our Self-Searching inventory. We have a list of actions and/or things which have caused us pain and which we are remorseful for.
If we’ve done the work to this point and had someone help us identify why we did such things, we are equipped with some real valuable information. Information that helps us understand why and what we have done to ourselves and others. We must now take action to correct any of these wrongs that we can, listening carefully to our conscience which will guide us in knowing which of these amends we should make. Again, it is beneficial to have someone experienced in this process. We do not want to cause any more harm to ourselves or others. More importantly, it is not our place to clear our own conscience at the expense of someone else.
So we go over our list and realize there are some things we can make right. We can offer up some apologies to those we may have stepped on or hurt. Most importantly, we can now realize the how and why of our actions, making our amends sincere and honest. We must remember to find empathy for ourselves as well. During this process, I realized I held deep resentments towards myself. This step gave me a start on living the right way, by putting right living into action and practice. Going through the actions of making amends and setting things right, was the beginning of aligning my intentions with my actions—something I have found to be necessary for inner peace and happiness.
This process of action is just the beginning of our new life. Cleaning up all the wreckage from our past may take years and there may be parts we can never make right. If that is the case, we work towards forgiving ourselves. Again, taking action by prayer and asking God for forgiveness. It will come if we ask. As we go about living the right way, our self-image and esteem heals and we find one day we have forgiven ourselves for those things we felt we could never make right. This is the way it has happened for me.
Action, Action, Action
I can read every self-help and personal development book ever written, then put them down and carry on with the way things were. All the while wondering why nothing has changed. If nothing changes, then nothing changes. Simple actions can bring about huge change. Something as simple as introducing yourself to three new people each day, can bring about spiritual growth and new knowledge about yourself.
Remember, “You can’t think your way into good living, you must live your way into good thinking” It’s all about action!
What action are you going to take today?
Up next, Step 7: Maintenance
Photo credit: vgm8383