Practical Spirituality

Does spirituality often seem like something “otherworldly” that remains disconnected from daily life? For example, it’s common for people to go to church or temple once a week but then forget about God and devotional practices on the other days of the week. My husband, who attends a weekly meditation group, told me he’d been attending for some time when he suddenly had an insight about the “daily practice” that people mentioned as they checked in with one another at meetings. He realized, “Oh, I’m supposed to be doing this stuff at home on my own!” He then recognized he had a choice about how he spends his time each day. He could sit in front of the TV or the computer, for example, or he could make a point of engaging in spiritual practices. There are formal practices such as seated meditation and informal practices that can be used according to personal preferences.

Here are some ideas based on a talk entitled “Spirituality in Daily Life” by Swami Ramananda from the Integral Yoga Institute, San Francisco, CA:

— Be mindful and present throughout the day while going through activities. Train the mind to focus on what’s actually happening moment-to-moment. This is the practice of “mindfulness.”

— Design a personal mission/purpose statement to inform your daily choices. Why are you choosing to do what you do each day? Are these choices congruent with your mission in life?

— Notice inner conflicts and make a point to relieve them. For example, notice self-judgment and ask yourself where that voice originates. Journaling and/or psychotherapy can be helpful with this.

— Release the pressure of competitive striving. Recognize that other people have their own lives and make their own choices while you are free to do the same.

— Perform all actions as service to God, as devotion. View all of humanity, all of creation, as aspects of God to bring a sense of peace/joy to work no matter how mundane it may seem.

— Engage in creative endeavors such as drawing, painting, dancing, writing poetry – anything wholesome that brings spontaneity and freedom into daily life.

— Work with one spiritual teaching/practice, such as nonviolence or truthfulness, for an extended amount of time (perhaps a week or a month at a time) to begin noticing more subtle levels of the practice.

— Spend time in formal seated meditation, prayer, and/or chanting/singing in Spirit. Stay with the practice long enough in each session until you encounter some sense of inner light/peace to carry into the rest of daily life.

— Incorporate “sabbath time” into life in some way. This is dedicated time for inner spiritual work away from the responsibilities of family life and livelihood. This can be practiced in a variety of ways such as one day per week, or several days of retreat once every 3-4 months.

— Take time to breathe in the clean air of nature. Enjoy trees, flowers, rivers – all the beauty of the earth.

All of the above are suggestions. What others are calling to you at this point?

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

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