After you have been on the journey for a while, you reach a point where you realize there is nothing new to read anymore. You just want to potentate yourself with pure spiritual essence through spiritual exercises, and engage in practical spirituality – simply serving life in your own unique way.

Here are 12 methods that can help you at this stage of development, to keep the heart open and fill you with pure spiritual energy:

1. Pray, meditate or use a mantra of your choice. In your contemplation, repeatedly ask Spirit to show you love.

2. Be grateful. When we hear people say, "Count your blessings," what they are really saying is, "Open your eyes and recognize God’s relentless generosities in your life." No matter how many times we mess up, Spirit continues to shower us with blessings. How can we ever overlook such relentless generosity?

3. Practice selfless kindness and hospitality. Do one thing each day, no matter how negligible, for someone else without any expectation of reward. Many who want love are often reluctant to give. They forget that nature demands balance. If you really want love, learn to give it freely.

4. Be open to accept love. Some people are good at giving love but have difficulty accepting it. As you distribute love freely, you will receive love from unexpected sources. Accept it with gratitude.

5. Practice forgiveness of yourself and others. Try your best to hold nothing against anyone. This can be difficult. So ask Spirit for help in forgiving certain "unforgivable" people in your life.

6. Do your best to practice what you preach. Let the way you live your life be your message to those around you. Become a practicing member of your religion. The practice of your spiritual principles should not stop after church service, but must continue while you’re at home, in school, in your place of work, while you’re shopping and during your recreational activities.

7. Maintain a thankful heart not only to the Sacred, but also to everyone who serves you. Be thankful to cashiers who bag your groceries at the supermarket, to waiters and waitresses who serve you in the restaurant. Be thankful to your secretary who simplifies your life at the office. Be thankful to your family members for the little things they do for you and for their love. Be thankful to every person for his/her contribution to your life, even if they are getting paid to make your life easier. Resist taking anyone’s love for granted.

8. Take the golden rule seriously: Do unto others, as you would like others to do unto you. Treat people exactly the way you want them to treat you. If you discover that people are treating you poorly, examine the way you are treating others. Think kindly of the people around you and look for the good qualities in them. This way, you not only bring forth those qualities in them, but you also bring them out in yourself.

9. Use the HU mantra for 15 to 20 minutes, twice per day. "To become pure you must do three things," said the Tibetan master. "First, chant the holy names of God constantly upon thy lips; secondly, do everything in the name of God; and third, love God with all thy passion, and also thy neighbor. These three spiritual practices will make thee pure." The HU, pronounced "hue," is an ancient word for God. It has been called a love song to God because of its capacity to open the heart to unconditional love. It is a purifying interfaith mantra. By singing or chanting the word, you are basically saying to Spirit: "Not my will, but May Thy Will Be Done." The HU is to be sung preferably upon arising in the morning and before retiring to bed at night. The way to do this is to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or disturb anyone. You can lie down or sit with your back straight, your feet planted on the floor, and your hands resting comfortably on your lap. (Sitting is recommended because lying down can lead to falling asleep during the exercise.) Then recall an incident that brought love to your heart, or think about someone, a pet, or something you love. (This is done simply to open your heart to love. Once your heart is open, you don’t need to continue thinking about the event or person throughout your exercise.) With your heart filled with love, gently put your attention at the point between your eyebrows, often referred to as the spiritual eye or third eye. Then, in a long, drawn-out breath, simply sing the word HU-U-U-U-U-U. Lovingly sing this song either silently or softly in prayer or during meditation sessions. The HU can also be used when you find yourself in a situation where you need more insight, rejuvenation, or protection. Your aim is to open yourself to the flow of unconditional love and to allow your real self (Soul) to shine through.

10. Practice the presence of God or Spirit. Be aware that you are always connected to your Source. Feel free to converse with this spiritual essence that follows you everywhere and in your conversations, always ask It to show you love. Carry out your activities of daily living without the view of pleasing anyone, but purely for your love for God.

11. Attend spiritual seminars and retreats. You will be rejuvenated by the energies of like-minded Souls. Visit holy people. Visit monks, priests, nuns, and spiritual masters who you admire and respect. Their presence should help fan the flame of your love for God.

12. Lastly, keep the company of radiant Souls. There’s a Spanish proverb that says, "Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you where you are going."

Diligently practice these 12 principles and you will keep the flame of love burning in your heart. Take them one at a time and work on each until you feel ready to move to the next. Everything becomes easier with practice. May the Blessings Be!

Dr. Zeal Okogeri is a spiritual scholar, teacher, columnist, frequent radio and television guest, and author of the best-selling book, God's Relentless Generosities--An Inspiring Journey of Soul, available at www.ZealOkogeri.com, www.Amazon.com, www.Bamm.com, or by calling (800) 431-1579. He is the founder of Transformative Coaching for Infinite Possibilities, and provides spiritual coaching. He can be reached at (952) 393-7246 or Zeal@ZealOkogeri.com. Copyright © 2005 Dr. Zeal Okogeri. All rights reserved.

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