A spiritual practice can be a great way to cope with the stresses of modern-day life but how do we develop a spiritual practice that is right for us? Read on to learn more.
Spiritual practice of any kind takes commitment, energy and focus but the results can be worth it. Short term gratification does occur, but most of the benefit happens over time, as the spiritual practice becomes a part of our lives. But why should we undertake a spiritual practice in the first place?
Most people see themselves as being composed of a body, mind, and spirit that we collectively identify as being “ourselves” or “me”. This “me” is partly under our control and partly automatic. Which part we control and which part operates autonomously, we often cannot see. Also, the way that we see the world is limited to the six senses – hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch, and the mind itself. These senses are the guidelines to all of our experiences. Much of the suffering that we live through in our lives is based in the fact that we cannot fully understand “ourselves” or “me”.
By developing a spiritual practice, and making it a part of our daily lives, the understanding of ourselves will grow and we are better able to control the senses and our awareness of them. By doing this, we learn how suffering is created and we will experience greater freedom and joy. Essentially, we are creating a foundation on which we can build a new perspective of who we are. Rather than focusing on ourselves as separated and isolated individuals, we learn that we are all interconnected and interdependent.
When developing a spiritual practice, you need to look inside yourself – taking the time and energy to discover as much as we can about ourselves as people. This is an involved process that requires us to look deeper than just our likes and dislikes. We need to look at ourselves non-judgmentally and with love, compassion, and equanimity. You also need to be ready to incorporate it into your daily life. You can set aside time in your day for your spiritual practice, but ideally, it should become intertwined with all aspects of your life.
Meditation is a great form of spiritual practice that can be done anytime, anywhere. You can do it while you’re bathing, eating, or just doing the dishes. It can be as simple or as complicated as you are willing to make it, and even ten minutes a day of simple self-reflection can be extremely useful. As well as meditation, daily readings are a good idea. This can be a text of your choosing, as long as you find it personally fulfilling. A book of affirmations, a holy text, sacred writings…whatever you choose, the aim is to choose a book that uplifts you, inspires you and, indeed, even changes you. Your practice should fill you with comfort, upliftment, and spiritual support.
Because spiritual practice needs to be done on a consistent basis, it may be helpful to arrange a space in your home that is conducive to inner reflection and relaxation. Some people find it helpful to create an altar or other sacred space, which creates a vibration of peace and harmony, as well as providing a physical reminder of the sacred.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by your practice, it is important to do what you can, and not feel overwhelmed. Start with what is manageable to you and then gradually add more. It is also important to be creative. Allow your own creativity to find a place that communicates a sense of something “more”. Do not settle for the ordinary. Finally, be committed to your practice. It is not something that you can pick up and put down when you choose. Be willing to sit quietly and allow your mind to let go of thoughts.