Practice gives boost to spiritual growth

Yoga balanceThe biggest obstacle we face en route to spiritual growth and personal development is not money. It isn’t even time. We’ve got enough of both to grow right now.

No, the biggest obstacle is – that we forget to do it. Or we come up with excuses not to.

Come on, People. Seriously. We make this spirituality stuff harder than it is. You can be happier, healthier and more connected to yourself and the higher energies of the Universe right now, if you only get going.

The gift is in the doing it isn’t in the thinking about the doing. The power is within the practice. You practice. You get better. You develop positive habits and a sustainable lifestyle filled with gratitude and compassion, joy and even occasional moments of peace or at least fewer moments of freak out. But, if you don’t build this stuff into your life, you aren’t as likely to draw on it when you need it most, during times of stress and trauma.

We are all spiritual beings, we simply need to access that part of ourselves and the practices can help you do it. They remind us to pause and step into our awareness. To breathe deeply, give thanks, pay attention. They remind us of our highest self so that we can operate from that place of love and compassion. When we do these things we feel better, we’re more productive, less stressed. So, get doing them.

Build Practices Into the Transitions of Your Day

Sure, I’m busy. I work fulltime. I’m a parent. I’m married and have cat litter to clean and dinner to fix and class parties to attend – just like everybody else. But, I maintain my practice by building it into the moments of my life as I transition from one thing to another.

Every morning as I climb out of bed I pause just long enough to say a prayer, do some stretching, and a visualization. Then I move to my desk and do a short gratitude exercise. The whole thing last between 3 and 5 minutes and it happens usually before anyone is up. If that doesn’t work, I do it after the school bus picks up my daughter and before I start work.

At lunch, there’s time for another practice. I usually do a meditation or mindfulness exercise where I sit silently for three minutes and savor the moment and the sensations in my body. I become present to the experience of the moment. Not only does this improve concentration and focus as the day goes on, but it helps me unwind from any morning craziness. I find that doing a lunchtime practice is a nice way to regroup and rejuvenate as I go into my day.

In the evening before I bed, I add another mini-practice. Either a gratitude list, or journaling exercise. Maybe another visualization of the day ahead or behind. Sometimes it’s contemplation where I pose a Big Question and let my mind and spirit go to work on this. Sometimes it’s a short meditation before bed.

This is my looser practice. It’s organic. I do whatever I feel compelled to do. But, it’s a ceremony of sorts that helps me to close out the day and set the intention for the night and day ahead. It is a time of self-compassion and forgiveness for the things I screwed up and a chance to soak up the feelings of appreciation for all that is.

If you want to live a more spiritual life, these kinds of practices are the way to do it. And there are plenty of ways to integrate these and other practices with even the briefest moments of your day.

It is a powerful thing to do, because it is through each of these tiny moments that we create a whole life. So, why not establish the practices that will help you grow and create and enjoy all of this a little more.

Over the next couple of days, think about your spiritual growth and personal development. Think about a practice – gratitude, meditation, contemplation – or something else you’d like to try and learn about. Think about the places one of those practices could fit into your life.

On Wednesday I’ll offer some tips to help make your day a spiritual practice so that the habits,  so hard to remember in the beginning, become a sustainable, supportive lifestyle.

 

 

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