One of the biggest barriers to spiritual growth is that we forget to do it. We forget to practice. And, like all good things, practice helps us become better at becoming present and aware. It helps us notice our thoughts, quiet our minds and, mostly, it helps to integrate these skills into the moments of our lives so that they are there for us when the cat is throwing up, we’re out of milk and life just feels hard.
But you’ve got to build in the time to practice. I can hear you fussing already. You already have enough to do, right?. You hardly have time for a shower, not to mention floss, now you need to practice spirituality?
Here’s the thing: many practices can fit into the moments you are already making. You can be mindful during a shower or while washing dishes. You can give gratitude during the commute and take on a meditation practice during your lunch break. And, when you do these things, something else happens; life feels a whole lot less crazy. The busyness becomes more manageable. The stress less stifling. The craziness of life seems not so crazy. The joy more vivid. So remember to practice, people, you’ll feel better.
Here are some tips you can use integrate spiritual practice into your day:
Make it part of your morning routine. Build a practice into your regular schedule. Make a mindfulness practice out of brushing your teeth. Your exercise routine can be a moving meditation; a shower is a great time for a visualization or contemplation exercise. Instead of zoning out and taking on these tasks mindlessly, use them to inspire your practice.
Adopt triggers to remind you. Triggers are objects, songs, repeating number patterns — or any sign or symbol you choose that reminds you to practice. Every time I see the number 111, for example, I am reminded to become mindful of my thoughts and do a brief gratitude practice.
Choose a couple of triggers to use in your own life — an object like a rock, or crystal, the scent of fresh cut grass, or the color pink. Then, next time you see the item or hear the song or experience your trigger let it remind you to do a two-minute practice of your choosing.
Create quiet spaces. Quiet moments allow us to connect with our highest self and it is an aspect of dozens of spiritual practices. In the quiet we often gain insight we need to grow spiritually and diffuse the stress in our day.
Create the quiet in your life, by consciously choosing silence over everything else. Next time you hop in the car, keep the radio off and drive quietly and mindfully. Wake up 15 minutes before everyone else, to soak up the pre-dawn quiet. Exercise without the iPod and make your walk a moving meditation. Keep the television off while cooking dinner. These little pockets of quiet can make it easier to connect with your essential spirit.
By taking these small steps, you begin to deepen the connection to your spiritual self and practice becomes a habit, and then a lifestyle that serves up deeper joy and even a little peace during the icky times.
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