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.