22 Steps On The Path To Spiritual Bliss

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The word “bliss” is such a soothing word.

It feels both soothing and joyful, like a soak in a warm tub.

I think it’s an onomatopoeia — the sound of the word echos its meaning.

The dictionary defines it as “supreme happiness; utter joy and contentment.” There is also a spiritual meaning to the word. To reach spiritual bliss would be dwelling in paradise or attaining nirvana — a place free from pain, worry, and suffering.

Is it possible to attain spiritual bliss right now?

Can you live a life of supreme contentment, free from suffering?

Perhaps it’s not possible to experience that in every moment of every day. But I think it is quite possible to configure your life in such a way that you can be on the path to spiritual bliss. And while you are on the path, you can encounter ever-expanding pools of bliss as you learn what constitutes a life of joy and contentment, free from worry and suffering.

One of my coaching textbooks, Essential Coaching Tools, defines spiritual bliss quite eloquently:

Spiritual bliss comes from being totally connected with yourself, your soul, your body, and a higher power (meaning everyone). It is a high experience of life, rich with the subtleties and details that open one up to a quality of life unmatched by the trappings of the material or linear world.

You certainly can tell when you are living in a state outside of spiritual bliss. In fact, many people live their entire lives this way. It is a life characterized by:

  • Problems, crises, and disruptions;
  • An inability to relax and fully enjoy life;
  • A sense of preoccupation and busy-ness;
  • A disconnection from healthy energy, nature, and love;
  • Fearfulness and worry about the future;
  • Feeling alone, unloved, and disconnected from others;
  • A need to satisfy the ego through power, material wealth, or control;
  • Being out-of-touch with one’s real self and creating false personae.

Nearly everyone experiences these disconnects from spiritual bliss. It is nearly impossible to escape bumping into them given society’s focus on wealth, power, and materialism. But how deeply and how long you become entrenched is within your control. It is possible to live in this world but not totally of it.

Sometimes it takes living an ego-focused life (meaning a life filled with “the trappings of the material or linear world”) before we fully embrace our longing for spiritual bliss — and before we discover we can’t achieve it through the ego.

I’m not speaking as an expert here.

My life is as full of the trappings of the ego as the next person’s. And I must admit that I haven’t reached nirvana nor do I enjoy blissful contentment every moment of the day.

But I have put my foot on the path. I have discovered cool pools of bliss along the way, and I continue to find peaceful glades that exist outside of my ego-life when I choose to step out of it.

For me,and perhaps for you,living in spiritual bliss is characterized by:

  • A connection to healthy, light energy;
  • Living effortlessly, in the flow, without resistance;
  • A sense of connection to something larger, to nature, to the world;
  • Feelings of love and gratitude for myself and those around me;
  • An ease in relationships.

Finding your way to spiritual bliss sometimes begins with an “ah-ha” moment. Or it could be a slow awareness that the life you are living isn’t working anymore. It could be triggered by a sudden life event (a death, divorce, job loss), or it could evolve through periods of inner reflection and study.

But once you reach a stage of awareness, once you see that spiritual bliss is attainable (even if just briefly), you have set foot on the path and begun the journey.

Here are 22 steps that I have found helpful in keeping on the path:

1. Distinguish between the self and the ego. So often we define ourselves through our egos (our job, our status, our achievements). But that’s not who we really are. Begin the work of find your real self, the person stripped of all of the trappings.

2. Begin to simplify your life. The complications and time/energy drains that define the ego life can pull us farther and farther off the path. Pick the most energy debilitating area of your life and begin to simplify it.

3. Take the path of least resistance. Rather than struggling against a person or situation, go with the flow. Allow things to unfold rather than forcing or manipulating them.

4. Put relationships before results or things. Put more energy into your personal and professional relationships. Treat people, even difficult people, with love and kindness. Relationships can offer far more joy than things or achievements.

5. Respond rather than react. So many of our life disturbances involve our knee-jerk reactions. Step back and allow yourself the time and space to respond from your soul rather than react from your ego.

6. Fully embrace the truth. Don’t lie to yourself or to others. See things as they are, not as you wish they were. Discover the liberating freedom of embracing reality and knowing things are as they should be right now.

7. Cure your adrenaline addiction. Don’t rush through life. Slow down. Savor and experience everything. Adrenaline provides a brief high, but no long-term joy.

8. Examine your triggers. What sets you off? Who rattles your chains? Before blaming, look inside and ask yourself “why” until you learn the source of your pain and frustration. It’s usually unrelated to the situation at hand.

9. Take care of your body. If you are tired, overweight, depressed, sick, or eat poorly, you can’t enjoy the fullness of spiritual bliss. Poor self-care is another distraction from the path to a contented life.

10. Live within your integrity. Define what integrity means to you, and then do your best to live it. Stepping outside of that will be a prickly thorn in your side until you restore yourself. It will not allow you to experience bliss.

11. Tune in to intuition. Pay attention to the voice within. Listen to your gut. Your inner-knowing adds wisdom and history to your logical thinking. The two together create powerful discernment.

12. Listen deeply. Be fully present for others when listening — not distracted by your thoughts. But also listen deeply to the sounds around you. Intent listening focuses you on the present moment. Pay attention to sounds even in the quiet.

13. Spend extended time in nature. Walking to your car or taking a walk around the block isn’t enough to connect you with nature. Get away for a weekend at least with no access to TV or computer, and spend real time in a natural setting.

14. Listen to your body and observe patterns. We all have times of feeling physically off. Sometimes ailments can reflect our emotional state, hormonal changes, or life stress. Watch for recurring patterns so you can address the cause. Just awareness of the cause can help you feel better.

15. Stay free of toxins in your body. You can’t experience spiritual bliss if you are ingesting poisonous or additive substances.

16. Surround yourself with authentic, supportive people. Minimize your interactions with energy-draining, toxic people. Enhance and develop relationships with those who add to your contentment and joy.

17. Release the need to be right. We put so much energy into proving our point, explaining our opinion, trying to win people to our way of thinking. Let that go and just accept circumstances and people as they are. Let go of judgements and recognize the value of everyone’s perspective.

18. Forgive. Yourself and others. Right any wrongs. Apologize if necessary. Holding a grudge will poison bliss. Guilt and self-loathing will kill it.

19. Seek moderation and balance. Arrange your life so that you are not overly focused on one or more areas. Have moderation in areas where over-indulgence could harm you, warp your perspective, or dull your engagement in life.

20. Spend on experiences over things. Material things make bring temporary happiness, but experiences can be life-altering and soul enhancing. When you spend on things, buy mindfully — not simply to build your ego or fill a void.

21. Practice mindfulness daily. Find a way to bring calm, peace, and mindfulness into your life every day. This can be done through meditation, prayer, breathing, or other spiritual practices that are meaningful to you.

22. Connect with something larger than yourself. Whatever your spiritual or religious beliefs might be, begin to view yourself and the world as part of something far greater. We are part of an expanding universe, perhaps more than one universe. Acknowledge and dwell in the profound and beautiful mystery of that.

If you achieved some small bit of bliss in reading this post, please share it with a tweet.

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Comments

  1. Hi Barrie! This is a truly inspired and inspiring list!

    Life really is about relationships, about people and connecting with them, lifting each other, loving each other, reaching into the beating heart of another human life and for a moment, beat in sync with that heart.

    And yet we get so caught up in doing things, creating things, performing things, building things. And all that’s fine. But so often our relationships get sacrificed on the altar of other, less important pursuits.

    And in the process, our spiritual lives are affected as well. We lose the connection. Our relationships falter or stale or crumble. And then others are hurt too. And our spiritual path is deviated from and we lose our step and we start to slide into the mud along the path.

    Obviously #4 resonated with me, but other are just as important: Living with integrity, practice forgiveness, connect with something larger and bigger than yourself. All so important to our spiritual lives and to our happiness and sense of the sublime in daily living.

    Thanks for an awesome post on an important topic, Barrie!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Wow Ken, your comment would make a beautiful post by itself! I love your statement — “a sense of the sublime in daily living.” That is lovely, and what a goal. I think that sense of the sublime begins with gratitude and wonder. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comments Ken.

  2. Sherry Spendlove says:

    I love reading this posting. Thank you for writing it so often … look forward to it. It’s concise, easy to read and i connect immediately.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Sherry, thank you so much for letting me know. Knowing that I am positively impacting someone, even in a small way, is so rewarding!

  3. Some really good advice, always thought-provoking and motivating!

    Many thanks.

  4. Hi Barrie,

    It seems to me that one HUGE challenge we mortals face is that of simplifying our lives. If we are paying attention at all, we can easily become so over-stimulated (-whelmed) by everything going on around us that we easily lose sight of those values that can add real meaning to our lives.

    So many people spend their lives in desperate pursuit of “stuff” and “status” that they lose any chance of achieving anything close to resembling true bliss. Confucius had a good handle on this: “Man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.” Simplify, by any means possible. :-)

    All the best,

    Jon

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Oh Jon, I couldn’t agree more. I wish I’d figured that out when I was in the mindless accumulation phase of my life! Now I have a house full of stuff that must be dealt with at some point. Ugh.

  5. Barrie,

    This such a wonderful post! I think much of what I have been focusing on for my personal development relates directly to this notion of spiritual bliss. I believe when we reach a point in our spiritual development where we are free of useless anxieties and fears we are on the right track. The biggest stumbling block for me continues to be materialism and an ego driven life. Meditation has really helped me develop in this vein but there is very powerful conditioning to work through. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Joe,
      I think that’s the biggest stumbling block for all of us. Sometimes you have to go through that “phase” of life to know with certainty that it doesn’t fulfill you. You will find the right balance between the ego and the soul. You need both. I try to ask myself before I purchase something I don’t really need (which is most things), “Does this feed my ego or my soul?” It also helps to stay away from looking at ads, hanging out at the mall, or watching your neighbor pull out of the driveway in a new BMW!

  6. Barrie
    a great article.

  7. Hi Barrie,
    Wonderful collage of thoughts. Just speaking the word “bliss” conjures up wonderful feelings. Being “aware” that you can attain a certain level(how much depends on you) of bliss by living truthfully, sharing & caring & others that you have listed is great. I think that many aren’t “aware” that they have a choice to do so. Thank you.
    be good to yourself
    David

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi David,
      You are so right — awareness is the first step in any positive personal growth. It’s hard to see when your eyes are closed! I am grateful for my curious nature and my desire to find “bliss.” And I’m grateful for people in my life who have helped open my eyes, even when it’s been painful.

  8. sophia Fernandes says:

    Dear Barrie,
    i enjoyed this wonderful post which infact brought me comfort and soothing effect. yes Barrie, to tell you honestly, from past month i have been feeling so restless with the type of responsibility i have been entrusted. though my collegues find me cool, deep within i know the kind of heaviness that i am experiencing. infact i do not have the passion for this job at the moment, your article comes at the right moment to make me feel that it is me who have to change the mindset,to live effortlessly….
    i would always enjoy working in a team, now sometimes i am asked to address a group or meet strangers for partnership programmes, which often i find taxing and do not enjoy the task of giving speeches. i love reading and doing nature oriented work….nowi cant back out and i am scared to say No knowing its effect. my authorities feel i am doing well and my collegues too…but i know what it means to me…..am i being selfish as i do not get time for myself? I love all that you said and desire to live with minimum and effortless…which truly gives a blissful feeling…..i am so confused Barrie with what i am doing, i just felt like expressing this to you ……

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Dear Sophia,
      Thank you for sharing this with me. It is so hard to live a “false” life — one where you pretend on the outside that it is all good, but you are dying on the inside. I don’t know all of the circumstances of your work situation, but I encourage you to do one small thing to move yourself toward what you really want to do and away from what is taxing. Sometimes we must give up things or live with some discomfort before we can achieve an effortless life. But it is so worth it. Sophia, ask yourself right now, “What is one action I can take today to move me closer to a blissful life?” Then take that one action. Then do this every day. You will feel more in control of your destiny. My warmest thoughts are sent your way Sophia. Hugs to you.

      • sophia fernandess says:

        Dear Barrie,
        Thank you so much for giving me strength , i can feel you have understood me so well and you were so warm in your words of encouragement…..you know Barrie, i have just returned from a formal meeting, deep within i did not enjoy but i made an effort to be a part of it as i had to represent my institute where i am working. But as you say i have to just take a step forward and slowly i may flow with less effort. you were so right that i was not myself in a formal crowd, it was truly a false mask..which infact is killing me, infact the discussion was at the head level that i was literally a mute spectator and felt out of place. Still the management of the institute has placed their trust in me that i would do my work well. I do not want to let them down as they have given me training and invested their time, money and energy..its so scary Barrie, i am waiting for the right time to reveal my heart feelings. i wish you would be here with me to put me in the right perspective. i will share with you the next time about my work, After the meeting i rushed to see ur website to draw some courage and strength
        thank you Barrie for spending your precious time to reach out to give comfort to our disturbed soul. i look forward to spend some time with you through your website.
        i am so grateful to you for being so closely connected to my feelings.

  9. What an inspirational and comprehensive list by which to live one’s life. It is so sad that very often disaster (in the form of job loss, loss of a loved one or illness) has to hit before one starts paying attention.

    It is, of course, a journey, so one should not spend too much time fretting about how close one is to the destination. But if one glanses back, it is good to glimpse how far one has come!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you so much Will. I’m so glad the list resonated with you. I have started thinking of time as static rather than linear. By doing that, I see every moment as my destination. Then that makes every moment perfect, because I’ve arrived where I’m supposed to be. It takes away a lot of stress and worry about the future.

  10. ‘jambo’ (hello in Swahili, Kenya’s official language) Barrie.
    It’s great to read yet another powerful post from you. It is always easy to gradually lose one’s peace and bliss in these hectic times. Through the list you have outlined I can see areas I must have neglected for a while and which i must rectify fast.

    Ahsante sana (thank you very much.)
    Murigi.

  11. I absolutely adore this list.

    I just returned from a mindfulness retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in Oct. and it brought all of it back into focus. By watching my breath I’ve been able to stay in the “flow” so to speak, but after reading your list I can see some dietary changes can be made.

    I can’t imagine “feeling” any better than I do now, but I bet my body would love it!

    Thanks so much for being here!

    Tim McAuley
    @tsmcauley (on twitter)

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Tim,
      You are so fortunate to have been at a retreat with Thich Nhat Hahn. I’m sure it was incredible. How wonderful to be in a place where you are feeling so great — and that your choices will only make it better!

  12. Cathy | Treatment Talk says:

    Hi Barrie,

    Wonderful list to find our spiritual bliss. I especially liked number 4, “Put relationships before results or things.” My relationships with family and friends comes before anything else. It’s what is the most meaningful to me. I’m sure most of us feel that way, but we can let “things” take over at times. Thanks for the reminders and another wonderful post.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Cathy,
      I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self not to over-schedule my children but to just spend time with them instead. I am doing more of that now — and that’s all we really need– quality time with people we love.

  13. Poonam Kaur says:

    It’s my second week reading your blogs, I am not a reader, however, now I am getting used to reading your blogs. :-) thank you for cultivating this good habbit within me.

    The above blog is so helpful and I read it when I needed it the most. I thank you and God for it.

  14. PGN…Positive Grateful Now

  15. Madhukar Sonavane says:

    Life is gift of the Almighty. We can make it a temple and welcome him.Your lines are positive and elevating the value of life.
    May God give more attractive and efficient power in your pen.

    Thanks for this divine work.

    Anna
    (M.V.Sonavane)

  16. beautiful!

  17. Spiritual Bliss means finding that – what’s right there now, under your nose, and unaffected by anything else and being it. And then, when you practice that, living life from this new vantage point and seeing things from this new place, something new happens. Maybe just a glimpse at first, but certainly something new, a bliss beyond happiness.

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