I learned from David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, about the importance of aligning the inner life with the outer life as a means of boosting productivity. The inner life has to do with your intentions and plans while the outer life is about the steps that you take to get plans accomplished. A similar principle plays itself out in our spiritual lives.
In our spiritual lives, we need to align our spiritual values with our spiritual practices. This alignment is the key to spiritual freedom. If you believe in the power of love, for example, develop a spiritual practice that promotes more love in your life. You might begin verbally expressing your love for family and friends, sending love notes to your beloved on a daily basis, or sending positive and loving thoughts to people that you dislike. These are just my first thoughts; you have to develop your own.
The key to alignment is making sure the value and action (step/effort) are relevant to each other. For example, love grows when you do loving things. The other key is practicing your action on a daily basis. Do it as often as you need to make it a habit. One time is probably not enough.
I will use the example of generosity. I’m a saver. And savers tend to hold on to their money. But, I had a desire to become a generous person, one who shares and gives away money. So, I began imagining myself as a saver and what that looked like. Then, I convinced myself that being generous was a virtue. Most importantly, I began practicing giving money to people and institutions in need, those that I believed in. I knew that I needed to do it enough that I had integrity in my identity.
Every now and then, I still have to push myself to be generous and not a cheapskate. So, when I feel myself resisting, I remember my values and the identity that I wish to cultivate for myself. Once I do that, I’m more prone to follow through.
You, too, can align your inner self with your outer self. It primarily takes intention and action. Once you begin, make it a daily practice. You’ll eventually discover that you are becoming spiritually free.