What is a spiritual practice? A spiritual practice or discipline is an activity you perform regularly with the goal of spiritual development. Through a spiritual practice you increase your connection to spirit or source, however you define that. Spiritual practices are often thought of in traditional terms as meditation, prayer, or daily reading of a religious text. However, having a spiritual practice can be achieved through many other types of activities as well.
A spiritual practice is any personal practice that helps you expand, grow and connect with your higher self. It is something that you participate in on a regular basis and connects you to your higher soul or true self. A spiritual practice enriches your connection to spirit. It can be a daily ritual, a weekly ritual, a monthly ritual, or a combination. Each person’s spiritual practice is unique to them and their belief system.
What are the benefits of a spiritual practice? Having a consistent spiritual practice strengthens your connection to spirit and to your higher self. The stronger that connection is the smoother your life is likely to be. The consistency of your spiritual practice opens up a flow of energy from the source that allows you to see life and its challenges from a different perspectives. This helps you to respond in a different way to situations and to find new and creative solutions you would not have thought of before. The following are some other potential benefits to a spiritual practice:
· Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing
· Strengthened intuition
· Time for reflection
· Increased joy and happiness
· Sense of bliss
· Improved mood
· Becoming calmer and more peaceful
· Reduced stress
· Enhanced clarity and focus
· Strengthened connection to others
· Expanded compassion and understanding
· Greater creativity
As you commit to a regular spiritual practice you will begin to notice subtle changes happening in your life. The commitment actually alters your physiology, your state of mind and your perspective on life. It can create a transformation in you very quickly. Because you connect with your source on a regular basis, the energetic signals you are sending out to the universe change. The energy you broadcast attracts things that are attuned to that energetic signal. Now that you are regularly connecting to your higher self, you are broadcasting from a new radio station.
You may suddenly find that bad habits are easier to let go or that your tastes have changed. These changes are very natural and often go unnoticed until one day you realize that you no longer care for soda or cigarettes anymore. You may find that you do not want to go to certain places or environments that you once enjoyed, or that your musical tastes have changed. Changes in your social circle are not uncommon. As your interests change, you begin attracting new people into your life and some old friends may fade away. Even the times you fall asleep and awake may change. You will also find that you sleep better. This is all a natural part of your spiritual growth.
So how do you develop a spiritual practice?
FIRST: Choose a frequency and time of the day for your practice. How often will you practice? What time of day will you practice? Any combination is fine. Choose what works for you and your lifestyle. If you are adding a ritual, such as a full moon meditation, to your practice mark it on your calendar and commit to participating monthly.
SECOND: Commit. Just like maintaining an exercise routine, make a commitment to your practice. There may be times when you do not feel like it, but by maintaining your commitment you will find you feel much better afterwards. You will also find that your day goes smoother when you stick to your practice.
THIRD: Choose a practice. Select a tool, technique, ritual or combination to use to start your practice. Remember, your practice does not have to include prayer or meditation unless you want it to. This is your personal practice. Make it yours by choosing something that interests or inspires you. Be creative. Select something that helps you connect with your spirit. If your choice doesn’t seem to flow or your interests change, change your practice. Below are some suggestions for practice activities:
· Mantras or affirmations – Start your day repeating one or more mantras or positive affirmations that appeal to you.
· Move your body – Try yoga or stretching, dance, martial arts or other fitness routines.
· Breathe – Practice deep breathing exercises for 5-10 minutes.
· Read for growth - Read a book for 10 minutes that supports your spiritual growth.
· Meditation – Meditate independently, to a guided CD or with a meditation group.
· Contemplation Time – One method of contemplation is to take a walk in nature, taking time to reflect on your goals and dreams.
· Pray – Pray either unscripted from your heart or recite a well-known prayer such as the prayer of St. Francis.
· Journal – Purchase a journal and commit to writing in it each day.
· Visualization –Take time to visualize your ideal life as if you were already living it.
· Blessing – Take 5-10 minutes to bless others.
· Gratitude – Create a list of things for which you are grateful. This may be combined with the journaling activity by creating a gratitude journal.
· Energy Clearing – Take a salt bath or use energy healing techniques to clear your energy field.
Your spiritual practice will evolve over time. As you grow and change, so does your spiritual practice. Through your spiritual practice you will discover who you truly are and clarify your values and life purpose. You will begin to live a life that is more meaningful, fulfilling and joyous than you ever could have imagined. Take the leap, make a commitment and start your spiritual practice today.