Updated: Dec 9, 2019
What is a spiritual practice?
You will find many different definitions and interpretations when you research the meaning of spirituality and spiritual practice; but to me, a spiritual practice enables me to connect to the life force energy / universal consciousness in all things, from trees to the birds, wind to the waves, crystals to fire, man to insect, etc. It is the feeling of appreciation, love and gratitude for all the blessings in my life and the knowing and trust I have in my heart, that everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to unfold, for my highest and greatest good. Spirituality to me, is also about my connection to the earth, my angels, guides and God; while I enhance my understanding of the unity in all things.
When I was working full time in the world of government operations, I struggled to find the time or the energy to even contemplate a spiritual practice, let alone develop one. About 1.5 years before I decided to quit my government job, I developed a 5-pound tumor from stress. The tumor was impeding my physical quality and enjoyment of life, and it had to come out.
Over the days immediately following my surgery, as I was laying in the quietness of the hospital room, I started to understand that I needed to change my approach to life, in a big way and now! I couldn’t keep doing the same things as I had done before, and expect a different outcome. The 5-pound tumor was my wake-up call! And I answered!
I began to see that by incorporating some type of a spiritual practice in my day, how it would help me to stay grounded, stay connected to what was important to me, help me make decisions that align with my heart’s desires, help me cope better with all the challenges work & life brought as well as providing me with the tools I needed to change my current situation and reality. There was no longer an option. I needed to incorporate some connective strategies into my busy life.
At that time, my vision of a spiritual practice consisted of deep meditation in the lotus position, teaching and training my mind to be quiet….. sigh, like that was going to happen in the state I was in. I thought that it might involve bringing in religious practices; but that didn’t feel right either. Maybe spirituality involved deep devotion and prayer. Maybe it meant going away on some spiritual retreat to get connected to your spirituality, giving it a jump start! I needed to figure out what it meant to me; what resonated with me and what was I willing to incorporate into my daily routine.
While I laid there thinking about what a spiritual practice might look like, I realized that a spiritual practice doesn’t have to involve hours and hours of meditation or quiet reflection, costly retreats abroad or religious practices. I realized a spiritual practice, was just that – a practice. I was going to be practicing how to incorporate being a spiritually connected, present in the moment and aware of my surroundings, throughout my day.
When I shifted my thinking around what a spiritual practice might look like, I was able to more readily adapt and incorporate steps every day in my life to enhance and practice my spirituality. I developed a few different options that I could apply, as I felt, for enhancing my spiritual practice every day.
The options I created for myself were NOT meant to be done all in one day; but rather I used them as a menu, from which to select what I felt would work for me in that moment. So have a look and see if there aren’t a couple of things you could try to incorporate, to bring a spiritual practice into your day:
I have come to learn that grounding is step #1 to pretty much every other spiritual practice I do. Grounding helps to calm the body, reduce the inflammation, relax the mind and connect one with the negative charge of the earth. We need this connection to help balance and bring harmony to our physical bodies.
Options for Grounding:
Walk in nature, rain or shine
Drink lots of water
Immerse yourself in salt water (Epsom salt or Himalayan salt baths; the ocean are all great)
Visualize growing roots
Stand outside in your bare feet or sock feet for 10 – 15 mins
Tai chi, Tai chi Qigong, Yoga
Any form of exercise that you can do outside
Hug a tree
Deep breathing to pull up the earth’s energy through your breath
Magnets on the bottoms of your feet
For me part of a spiritual practice is caring for my own spirit. It means doing things that bring me comfort, joy, peace and contentment. Self Care involves:
Sing or Dance
Laugh and Play
Spend Time with Friends or Family
Drum and Fill Your Being With Music
Spend Time in Nature
Hang Out With High Vibrational People
Align With Like-Minded People for Support
Rest, Hydrate, Relax
Repeat Positive Affirmations
Give Yourself Permission & Time to Process
Listen and Act on Your Inner Knowing
There are numerous energy exercises that are 5 – 20 mins long. So, depending on the time crunch, you can choose. YouTube has a lot of options for yoga, tai chi, Tai chi Qigong, energy exercises, meridian tracing, etc.
One of my favorites is Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine. The video is about 11 mins long, mainly because she explains everything as she goes along; but once you learn the routine it takes less than 5 mins to complete. She incorporates tapping, tracing and breathing to help you connect to the energy, align your meridians and enhance the energy flow throughout your body, mind and spirit.
If you enjoy dancing and movement, this Thank You energy dance might resonate with you. Again, just like Donna she talks and explains the steps of the dance. The dance itself is about 4 mins in length, once you learn the moves.
One of my favorite Tai Chi Qigong videos is from Master Wing Cheung. You really feel the energy moving within you during this version of his program.
If you are short on time, there is a 10 min (coffee break style) version of Tai Chi Qigong that moves a bit faster than Master Wing Cheung’s 20 min version above.
Staying Present In The NOW
This can be hard, as our brain is trained and programmed to deal with all the external things that are happening all around us. When you are in the present moment, you become aware of:
The space you are taking up
How your body is reacting to the stimulus around it
What emotions might be arising
What tension may be in your body
The air around you
The animals, birds, trees around you
You use your senses to observe your world, inside and out This is very difficult to do during a busy day.
However, we all have brief moments of peace in our day; maybe on our drive home at lunch, or maybe during a washroom break or coffee break. We can disconnect and remove ourselves from the “busyness” around us, to become present in the moment. When you practice being present, even if it is only for 5 mins, you calm your nervous system, slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and relax your body. It is a simple practice that invites spirituality and a free flow of energy in your body due to things relaxing and calming down.
How do you practice being present:
You become aware of your surroundings.
What are the smells?
Tune into the sounds?
How does the energy feel all around you?
What do you see?
Now look in the background, what do you see?
Become present of all that is, all around you, in this moment.
Having a Gratitude Moment
When you focus on gratitude, you can’t help focussing on the gifts and blessings in your life, which in turn raises your energy vibration. When you focus on all the good in your life, your energy vibration goes up and you beam with love, joy and contentment. This is a contagious emotion, so you create a perpetuating cycle of joy, when you are in gratitude.
Just take one to two minutes and list 5 – 10 things you are grateful for. Feel the emotions of gratitude for having these gifts and blessings in your life.
Align Your Heart and Mind
Even though your heart is physically on the left, it is always right!!
Scientists have proven that your heart has an intuitive ability, that if we would only listen to it, would help to guide our every decision. When we connect to our heart, we are connecting to our authentic self; our authentic life path.
Aligning your heart and mind is not hard, it just takes practice – about a week or so tops. Aligning your heart and mind involves being present enough to listen to your heart; and having the courage enough to act on your heart’s desires. Your heart loves you. Your heart only wants the best for you.
Listening to your heart, is like listening to your very best friend. Here is a quick technique to help you connect your heart and mind in under 3 minutes.
Step 1: Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Doing this at bedtime, once you are all settled in for the night is a perfect time for this.
Step 2: Place both your hands-on top of one another directly over your heart chakra (dead center of your chest). Simply by touching the skin and the heart chakra, your brain immediately directs its attention to this location. It instinctively starts to "pay attention" to the area you are touching (remember the brain and heart have SENSORY neurites) and starts to align its focus to the heart center.
Step 3: Close your eyes and breath deeply, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Slow, long and cleansing breaths. Turn your focus onto your heart center. Take about 8 - 10 long slow cleansing breaths. Your body breathes slowly and deeply when it is safe. By breathing in this manner, you are communicating to your brain, you are safe, slow down, relax, chill out.
Step 4: Pay attention to your body's sensations. You started out being "mind busy", anxious, stressed, worried and tense. With every deep breath exhale, notice how your nervous system starts to relax. Notice how your heart rate begins to slow. Notice how your mind/brain starts to focus on your heart, the heat from your hands touching your skin and your breathing. Notice how your tension, stress, anxiety and worry starts to melt away, lessening with each inhale.
Step 5: Do nothing else but hold your hands on your heart center and breath until you fall asleep. If you are not in bed, just ensure you have had at least 5 minutes of quiet to conduct this exercise. What you are doing is telling your brain to start focusing on your heart; to start listening to your heart. You are calming your nervous system and mind and body. I have also created a Heart – Mind alignment meditation, to help you with aligning your heart and mind at bedtime, with positive affirmations.
If you would like to try it, here it is:
If you have the time, meditation is a great way to help you with spiritual development. There are many different types of meditations out there, all with varying lengths of time to suit anyone’s busy schedule.
Determine if meditating in the evening at bedtime, as you fall asleep will work for you; or if you prefer meditating in the morning to set the tone for the day. Either way, if meditation is new to you start off with a guided meditation to help you focus. Choose one that resonates, with a timeframe that you can manage.
I have numerous meditations on my YouTube channel from which to choose; or search YouTube for others that resonate with you. Here is the link to my YouTube channel, to access the FREE meditations: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0R5JxIkD5qXx73PtTQHyUA/videos
If you can find the time, journaling is a great way to connect to your spirituality. You can talk about your day, any lessons you have learned, work through problems, ask for guidance and just generally vent!
It is a great process for connecting to your inner feelings and emotions, analyzing them and working through them to help you learn and grow. I like to journal in the mornings, as that is the quietest time of the day. My mind isn’t full of all the challenges of the day yet to come, and I can spend time reflecting on the lessons and events of yesterday, for learning today.
I always recommend that people do their own oracle or tarot cards. The reason being is that when you go to someone else to have a "your reading” done, you are turning your own power over to another. If that other person doesn’t have their own clearing processes, you may receive less than expected as the energy focuses on helping them first. If that other person doesn’t have their own spiritual practice that helps to ground them, connect them and move them forward on their own path; then you may get messages that are intended for them instead of you.
It really depends on who you are going to, if they have a regular practice for clearing and grounding and if they do their own healing work. If they don’t, then giving your power over to them will not serve your highest and greatest good. You can do oracle cards yourself.
Every deck comes with guidance / instructions for their use. I find when I put the entire deck out on the table, and go over one card at a time until I find the cards I am meant to receive; that I get the most poignant messages and answers to my questions.
Oracle cards are a personal preference. You have to ask the deck if they will work with you, before you buy them. It might be a great deck, but if the answers you seek are not within it, it will not work with you.
Whatever your belief system, praying is an important practice to help you to connect spiritually. It is a way of connecting your heart, mind spirit to your creator, angels and guides.
Praying helps you release, ask questions, ask for guidance, express gratitude and feel supported. If praying is something that you can fit into your day, I recommend this practice for your enhanced connection as a spiritual practice.
Principles For Contemplation - Incorporating Spirituality Into Your Day
Pick one of these principles to work on each day; sort of as a “Theme for the Day”.
Just for Today I Will Not Worry … so just for today:
I will trust,
I will accept,
I will believe,
I will know, that everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to unfold for my highest and greatest good.
Just for Today I Will Not Be Angry … so just for today:
I will seek to understand; before seeking to be understood;
I will come from a place of love looking at the good; versus coming from a place of fear focussing on the bad;
I will accept things are unfolding as they are meant to unfold for my highest and greatest good,
I will look for lessons the universe is teaching me
Just for Today I Will Do My Work Honestly… so just for today:
I will be true to myself, and others
I will do, what I know in my heart is right
I will speak and live my truth
I will honor my commitments
Just for Today I Will Be Grateful For My Many Blessings … so just for today:
I will be thankful I am alive,
I will be content with the roof over my head and the food in my stomach,
I will appreciate the value that friends and family bring to my life,
I will be grateful for the many lessons I am learning
Just for Today I Will Be Compassionate To All Living Things … so just for today:
I will be kind to animals
I will smile and say hello to familiar strangers
I will offer to help someone in need
I will be considerate of other people’s feelings
I have also created a meditation to help with these as well. It is about 12 – 13 mins long, but helps to set the tone for the day. It goes over all the principles listed above. If you have 13 mins in your morning, give the meditation a try.
We are all on this planet, in this thing called “life”, together. We are all here to learn and grow, to help each other reach higher levels of understanding and awareness, through life lessons, teachings or experiences.
When we go through life and have someone hurt us, we carry that hurt within our cellular memory. Holding onto that hurt has no benefit to your body, mind or spirit. It is important to let that hurt go, because it isn’t harming the other person in any way, having you hold onto the hurt. Consequently, if we have hurt another, caused harm in some way, we also hold onto the lower energy emotions of that act. We hold onto remorse, guilt, shame, regret, fear, worry, etc.
So, when we cause harm, we are also hurting ourselves as well. These lower energy emotions must be released in order to move through that hurt and past that hurt, onto a new way of being as you have learned lessons and grown.
The Ho’Oponopono prayer or meditation mantra is helpful for releasing any hurt you have caused or hurt you feel, allowing forgiveness to flow through you and through others. I have recorded the Ho’Oponopono mantra in a meditation to help you identify and release any emotions that are no longer serving you. The Ho’Oponopono is a Hawaiian prayer used for forgiveness and healing. It has four components:
I’m Sorry – Please Forgive Me – Thank You – I Love You
I’m Sorry = The first step is Repentance. This is about recognizing the pain you have caused yourself or others by your actions or words. It may be about a physical hurt you have caused another, like a broken arm. Or it could be about an emotional hurt you have caused, like saying hurtful words and then feeling remorse or regret. In the mantra/prayer we are capturing the hurt we feel inside, for having caused another person pain, by using the phrase “I’m Sorry”. A true – heartfelt I’m Sorry, with the awareness of the hurt, pain and suffering you have caused the other person and the true remorse you feel inside your heart.
Please Forgive Me = The second step is Forgiveness of Yourself. This is about recognizing you have caused pain, acknowledging it and then asking for true forgiveness. Forgive Me is a place to be in your heart where you feel your true remorsefulness and sorrow, regret and shame for causing another person pain. This is also where you allow yourself to be forgiven; where you allow yourself to let go of the regret, sorrow, remorse, stress and trauma over what happened. It is in the past. It cannot be undone. You have learned something from it and are now starting the path of moving forward. Allow yourself to be forgiven; and then forgive yourself as well.
Thank You = The third step is Gratitude and True Appreciation for all you have learned from this experience. You are thanking yourself for being strong enough to work through the hurt and ask for forgiveness, from yourself and others. You are thanking those who are helping you work through this time in your life’s journey. Thanking the universe, God, the great creator, divine source for all that you have in your life, that so many others do not. Just be in the feeling of gratitude for all aspects of your world and your life.
I Love You = The fourth step is Love of yourself, of your family, of the people in your day to day world; it is about love of nature and all its inhabitants, the planet you live on, the path you are on and who you are becoming as you learn and grow. Send love out to everything around you by greeting it all with a smile. When you smile, you cannot help but come from a place of love. So even the hardest of situations will be calmed and smoothed with the smile of love.
Now that you understand the meaning and intention behind the Ho’Oponopono, you can put it into practice as you like. Some use it as a mantra using mala beads reciting all four elements, pausing and reflecting on the feelings of each mantra as they work through the 108 beads. Others use it as a mantra or chant as they sit in silence or with crystal singing bowl music in the background. Others use this as a prayer. The power is in the feeling and in the ability to release any of the lower vibrational negative emotions, as you allow yourself to be forgiven. Ho’Oponopono Meditation:
Loving Yourself Enough To Make Good Choices
Part of being spiritual is recognizing that the vessel you have, your body, is the only vessel you will have while you are here on earth learning what you need to learn. It is very important to treat your body, mind and spirit well. To feed it good thoughts and affirmations, to help it connect to the universal life force and to feed it good nutrition for its rejuvenation.
Make good healthy choices in life. Choose to treat yourself with love and respect. Choose to love yourself more than whatever unhealthy choice you are experiencing.
Some choices are hard to release, like smoking for example due to the addictive nature of the tobacco chemicals in cigarettes. Quitting smoking would increase your energy, your oxygen level and your motivation. It will help aid your body in flushing out the toxins, by not adding new ones every day. Your body will respond better and you will feel better on the inside.
Make good food choices, staying away from highly processed – chemically filled choices.
Monitor your alcohol consumption, as alcohol produces toxins in your body as well, resulting in strained and taxed lymphatic system, liver, kidneys, pancreas, etc.
Get plenty of rest. Your body needs down time to rejuvenate and heal itself. Take the time you need to recharge.
Reach out to people around you for support and help. Reach out to friends and family to help fill your world with joyful activities and events, that you can share. Sharing joy with others amplifies the joy and raises your happiness and bliss level. When one feels better, one is happy. That happiness is contagious!!
There are numerous ways to include a spiritual practice in your day. The main point is that it provides you some quiet time (even if it is only 5 mins), so that you can focus within, being introspective and reflect on events, situations, emotions, feelings and next steps. It is a practice that fits into your life style, helping you to enhance your knowing, your grounding and your ability to cope better with the challenges of daily life.
So, try to incorporate a spiritual practice into your day. When you feel confident and that you have mastered the first one introduce another one. Before you know it you will have 3 or 4 practices that form your own unique spiritual daily practice.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me at:
Laurie Fulford, PMP
Reiki Master/Crystal Reiki Master/Access Consciousness/ Energy Practitioner