You might be one of those people who begrudgingly get dragged to church on Easter and Christmas. Then you might not give any other thoughts to your spiritual life for the rest of the year. Besides, with family, careers, friends, and the hot new smartphone game to come down the pike, who has the time to meditate for an hour twice a day?
No one’s saying that you have to adopt the meditation practices of monks who live in remote mountain regions, nor should you. Cultivating a spiritual practice is a personal process. What works for you would be a nightmare for your friend or neighbor. If meditation floats your boat, great. If you’d much rather sit in a pew and think about the awe that is Divine Source, then congratulations. You’ve just found your spiritual practice.
For those who need a little help with the spirituality thing, you might find it helpful to take baby steps. You don’t have to join a church or sell all your worldly possessions to travel the world. Doing things here and there to connect to Source, the Universe, or your deity of choice may be all you need to start a spiritual practice of your own. This article will show you three ways you can do that. But there are as many ways to practice spirituality as there are people in the world.
Sit In Silence In The Morning
If you’re the parent of young children, the idea of getting up even 10 minutes earlier to sit and do….nothing seems silly. You’re a parent. You need your sleep. I get it. So if you’re a person, parent or not, who just can’t fathom getting up earlier, then don’t. Instead, try to find 3 – 5 minutes in your day to sit in silence. That’s it. Everyone has five extra minutes to spare. If you truly don’t, you might have other problems that you will need to fix in your life. That’s ok, though. Those time crunch problems are worth fixing in the end.
You might wonder why I’m asking you to sit in silence and do nothing. Because so many of us are truly not comfortable unless we’re constantly on the go. As a result of this go-go-go lifestyle, our brains often have a hard time “shutting off”. I know mine did when I first started this practice. I started and stopped, started and stopped, countless times. This happened until I learned that I don’t have to “stop” my thoughts from occurring. Once I stopped fighting any thoughts that occurred during these periods, I found myself a lot more relaxed.
If in these periods you find that your thoughts are bothering you, focus on your breathing. Many people find that this works for them. We already breathe for 24 hours a day. Putting all your attention on something that you’ve been doing since before you were born is a lot easier than you may think.
In these daily moments of silence, you probably won’t have any groundbreaking mystical experiences. If you do connect to Source, awesome! But just taking time out to break free of the stressors of your life can do wonders for the trajectory of your day and week. If you keep this practice up, you might be surprised at the epiphanies, ideas, and feelings that can occur during these periods of silence.
Get Out Into Nature More
Exercising, sitting in silence, or writing in your journal can all be done at your home. But you can get even more benefits by doing these activities in nature. But don’t think that you have to drive a couple of hours just to go to the ocean (Although if you want to do that, that’s amazing). If your home has a garden, journal or sit in silence for a bit in that location. You can also do a few yoga stretches in a forest or your local park.
According to one study, hospital patients who had a window looking out onto a scene of nature actually recovered faster than those who had a window that looked out onto a wall. So if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, being in nature for a while could be just the thing to refresh your mind and spirit.
Being in nature could also be the thing that connects you to Spirit or the Divine Source. As you look up at the trees in the forest or at the flowers in your local arboretum, you might see the Divine that’s present in these forms of life as well as in all other things. Or you may not experience that at all. You’re not going into nature to experience the mystical, although many people do. You’re there to celebrate Spirit in your own way. If you just want to take time out of your day to look at the exquisite orchids in your local arboretum, you’re also communing with spirit. Whether you want to call your arboretum trips “a communion with the Divine” is entirely up to you.
Get Into (Or Near) The Water
Many of us dream of living in a beach house in California or Hawaii that’s just steps from the ocean. When these beach houses go on sale, they often sell for millions of dollars. This happens for a lot of reasons. One is that it’s truly hard to beat the view that these houses provide to homeowners and nearby residents. Whether they know it or not, these lucky homeowners may have worked hard to get their house on the ocean for a few other reasons.
What these homeowners probably realize is that living near the ocean gives them and their families a lot more benefits than just a beautiful view. Jogging, writing in your journal as the sun rises, or doing a vinyasa flow near the water takes your task to the next level as being near the water can put you into a meditative state. The sounds of the water can positively influence your rhythms, which in turn puts you at peace.
But you certainly don’t have to have a beach house in Honolulu in order to get the benefits of living near the ocean. If you don’t live on the West Coast, you can do everything from taking time during the summer months to get near different bodies of water to buying a fish tank or water fountain for your home or office. What I do all year round is listen to water sounds as I do my daily meditation. Just ensure that you’re well-rested as you listen to a water sounds meditation. The steadiness of the waves or rain could put you to sleep!
As I hope you saw from this post, incorporating more spiritual practices into your life does not mean embracing organized religion. If you want to do that, great. But as younger generations leave organized religion in droves, many people see spirituality and mindfulness as just another version of their childhood religion.
Your version of a spiritual life can be anything you want it to be. Whether your practice involves yoga in the forest, journaling, reading one page of a spiritual devotional every morning, or just sitting in silence as you make your coffee, you can make a life that’s filled with spirit, devotion, and awe in no time. You can do a task on this list or come up with one on your own. There’s no wrong way to live a mindful and spiritual life.