You don’t have to be religious to embrace guidance from the world’s major faiths to enjoy a happier, calmer, more fulfilling life.
“Although everyone wants happiness, most people suffer from tragically mistaken ideas about what brings it.”
Most faith-based traditions agree on seven guidelines and practices for moving toward an increased spirituality.
“The amount of suffering in our lives reflects the gap between what we crave and what we have. Craving creates suffering by producing emotional anguish and by being insatiable.”
These teachings contribute to an aware consciousness and bring happiness.
“If our minds are out of control, our lives are out of control. The root of our problem is that we allow ourselves to become slaves rather than masters of our own minds.”
First, change your life’s motivating power from materialism to internal values.
“A commitment to do no harm is a gift to others and also a powerful, purifying discipline for the person practicing it.”
Second, develop insight into your feelings to help you see love in the world.
“Ethical living is one of the most powerful yet most misunderstood of all religious practices.”
“Spiritual love has no desire to get but only to give, no goal except to awaken itself within others, no need except to share itself.”
Third, follow a moral and ethical code to awaken yourself and provide good to the world.
“Knowledge informs us, wisdom transforms us. Knowledge is something we have, wisdom something we must become. Knowledge is expressed in words, wisdom in our lives. Knowledge empowers; wisdom empowers and enlightens.”
Fourth, practice meditation to calm yourself and to gain control over your emotions.
“So esteemed are generosity and service that some traditions regard them as the essence of spiritual life, the practice upon which all other practices converge.”
Fifth, apply mindfulness to everything you do.
“What we feel within ourselves we find reflected in our world.”
“We don’t need to give up ordinary pleasures and pastimes. What we do need to give up is our attachment to them. Freed from craving and fear, we may even be able to enjoy them more.”
Sixth, work on your wisdom, both your observation and application of it, by adding spiritual understanding to your existing knowledge and experience.
“Fear is always about the future. But the future does not exist; it lives only in our fantasies.”
“Love is also the essence of emotional wisdom.”
And seventh, be generous and giving to express and achieve “awakening” – that is, an awareness of yourself and how you relate to the values that matter most to you.
“A person who radiates love becomes a force and inspiration of extraordinary power.”
September 4, 2000
Psychiatrist, teaches at the University of California at Irvine. He wrote The Spirit of Shamanism and co-wrote Paths Beyond Ego.
Roger Walsh MD., Ph.D., D.H.L. graduated from Australia’s Queensland University with degrees in psychology, physiology, neuroscience and medicine. He then came to the United States as a Fulbright scholar to study psychiatry at Stanford University. There he passed clinical licensing exams in medicine, psychology and psychiatry before moving to the University of California at Irvine where he holds professorships in the departments of psychiatry, philosophy, and anthropology, as well as in the Religious Studies Program.
His writings focus on topics such as psychological wellbeing and practices to cultivate it such as meditation, on virtues such as wisdom, on religion, and on the psychological roots of our global crises. His writings and research have received over twenty national and international awards as well as an honorary doctorate, and he was named the University of California, Irvine Distinguished Writer.