Consideration towards inner change includes:
1) Awakening. There can be experiences that suddenly transform our whole perception and priorities in a single moment or in certain period in our life. From that moment, there is a turn around in our consciousness. It leads to new values, new priorities and the generating of love and liberation in life.
2) Change of lifestyle. A growing number of people find affluence is not fulfilling. They realise that even more affluence won’t bring fulfilment. This brings about a reflection on lifestyle. This may generate the intention to live with greater awareness and sustainability.
3) Conscious use of ritual. Probably the most noted ritual in the West is attending a church service on a Sunday. A danger with ritual is that instead of contributing to a sense of awakening and presence, it has a numbing effect. Yet engagement in rituals can genuinely open up our consciousness. It might be that we resist religious ritual without ever taking the time to experience it.
4) Creativity. It would be a pity to let a single day in our lives pass by without some genuine expressions of creativity. Our meditations will nourish this wonderful feature of life.
5) Diet. In India, a vegetarian diet has always been regarded as an indispensable feature of a deeply spiritual life. We can eat nutritious food without it being at the expense of other forms of sentient life. More and more people take the decision to stop eating animals, birds and fish for moral and health reasons.
6) Group work/community. Group work through retreats, workshops, public talks, meetings and conferences are a short-term community experiences. We then have the opportunity to learn as much from others as we do from within.
7) Meditation. It can be useful to divide meditation into two primary areas; calm and insight. The first contributes to well-being, health, energy, calmness and healing. The second contributes to awareness, depth of connection, reflection and understanding who we are.
8) Movement. This can include yoga, Tai Chi, jogging, massage, dance. All these contribute towards inner change, relaxation, energising mind and body and that sense of oneness with the dance of life.
9) Pilgrimage. All too often in our society we focus on holidays in known tourist resorts, many of which once upon a time were just beautiful environments. Pilgrimage highlights the journey itself with spiritual practices as a feature of that process. There are still many places of pilgrimage in the world.
10) Psychotherapy. To some degree, psychotherapists have become modern priests of secular culture. Psychotherapy can make a helpful contribution to healing heart, mind and body.
11) Reflection/self-inquiry. This is the wise and skilful use of thought to enable us to understand situations well. Such thoughts best emerge out of calmness and clarity, rather than from a judgmental mind caught up in fear and negativity.
12) Reading. The willingness to read in a meditative way can contribute to deep understanding of who we are. We may need to examine what we spend most time reading.
13) Retreats. This is one of the most popular ways to have a comprehensive experience of meditation. While en route to lead a retreat in California, I listened to a disc-jockey on the car radio. He said that more than two and a half million people over the Labour Day weekend would participate in a retreat somewhere in North America.
14) Service. This is a change in our inner life from getting to giving. Service springs from the conscious mind that cares for people, animals and the environment.
15) Solitude. It may be indoors or outdoors. Solitude contributes to our growth as a human being to the extent necessary to live with clarity and presence. Aloneness is voluntary and intentional unlike loneliness which is unwelcome.