In the age old debate of what is more important time or money, time, as it turns out, is the winner. When you consider the finite amount of time available to us over our lives and all the experiences we want to jam into that finite space before we pass on, time becomes a priceless commodity. Money is nice and it lets you buy all the things, but you do not necessarily need it to have experiences of growth and enlightenment. So if time is the most important thing then how should you spend it? Between your job, family, friends, bills, house maintenance, vacation planning, shopping, parties and other obligations, where do you find some of that precious time to dedicate to something not demanding your constant attention? Maybe a better question is where do you find the time to dedicate to you?
Whether or not you believe in any kind of religion, spirituality or life after death scenario, having a spiritual practice is a way to center and ground yourself whilst keeping the monsters and stressors from the outside world at bay. In our chaotic world the best thing to do and perhaps the only real thing we can do is control ourselves and how we handle the energies around us. A spiritual practice can be the thing that allows us to do that. It can help ward off sickness, salvage relationships, increase our job performance and find true fulfillment. Though finding the time to do this can be a challenge, making a spiritual practice a top priority can help the rest of your obligations fall into line and feel more achievable. So what is a spiritual practice and what can you do to develop one?
A spiritual practice is merely a way to fill back up from what you give out to the world. It is not necessarily a religious practice, though many people find great spiritual fulfillment from their religions and religious practices. What I am speaking of here is less associated with religious dogma and more about the individual and the needs of that individual. Developing a spiritual practice is simply figuring out what you need to recharge your battery before going back out into the world. Here are a few examples of how to build a spiritual practice:
Meditation: Meditation is a powerful way to develop a spiritual practice. Meditation has proven to alleviate stress, bring down blood pressure, develop focus and concentration, stimulate creative visualization, enhance attunement of your body and emotions, develop goals, connect to spiritual insights, and so on. Many people hate meditating because it is hard to shut off the “monkey mind” and do nothing. I understand it’s not for everyone. However there are many different ways to meditate that could work for those who do not like traditional meditation. Guided meditation is great because one must simply plug into an audio meditation and the narrator will “guide” you through instructions on creative visualization, breathing and focus. This helps give the “monkey mind” something to do instead of just focusing on the breath. Another kind of meditation is loving kindness meditation in which you actively focus on everything in your life that is positive and how much you love yourself and others. Then you extend that love out to your acquaintances and finally those you do not care for as much. It’s a practice in humility, grace and forgiveness that can expand the soul and help one to grow. Or if these two forms of meditation do not appeal to you there is always walking meditation. This meditation is simple. You just notice the beauty in the things around you as you walk. Use all of your senses. Take in the beautiful scenery with your eyes, smell the flowers, hear the birds chirping, taste the air, feel the energy in the moment. The point is you just need to be aware and appreciate everything you have right now. This can help you re-center after a bad day at work, a fight with your spouse, or any other number of things that this world can take out of you.
Tarot: Yes of course Tarot (as this is a Tarot blog)! Tarot is excellent to incorporate into your spiritual practice as it allows you to connect with your higher self, look at a problem in a new way and empower you to make new decisions. The Tarot has traditionally been used as a tool of divination and fortune telling, however, the Tarot is best used as an empowerment tool. Let’s say you have a problem and you are not sure how to deal with it. You can ask the Tarot where things are headed. If you do not like the answer you receive, you can ask the Tarot what you can do to change the outcome. The cards can provide the steps that can set you on a better path. The Tarot is simply a spiritual guide/psychological tool for looking at a problem in a new way. Either way, being pro-active and seeking advice from the cards is a great way to assist you in handling stressful situations and providing a sense of validation and support in your endeavors. This reassurance provides a sense of power and control over whatever life can throw your way.
Physical Activity: Creating a habit of physical activity is excellent for grounding out energies you no longer need. Physical activity burns off stress, releases endorphins and helps clear the mind. The key is to pick an activity that you like to do or at least do not mind doing, that way you are more likely to do it and make it into a habit. This activity can be anything from yoga to swimming to running to Badminton. Anything that can help you move, pump oxygen around your body, release endorphins, and alleviate stress or old energy patterns. By releasing these old energies and stressors your body will not only feel healthier, but lighter and less bogged down by the daily grind. Having a lighter energy can keep you centered in a higher vibration and spiritual space.
Focus on gratitude and what fills you up: Finally staying focused on what truly makes you happy and feeling deep gratitude for it is one of the best ways to stay attuned to your spiritual self. Not only does the feeling of gratitude raise one’s vibration but it reminds you of what is truly important and good in your life. Staying focused on the things that fill you back up is key when there are so many other things that may drain or deplete you. Make a list of what you are truly grateful for such as what or whoever you love or whatever fills you with positive vibes. Then make sure you engage with that person (or people) or activity at least 3-4 times per week. At the end of each night say a prayer of thanks to the universe for giving you these gifts. This can help recharge your battery and prepare you for whatever comes next.
What about you? What do you do for a spiritual practice? What fills you back up? Please tell me in the comments!