Over the years you’ve tried various types of spiritual practice; perhaps a couple of the many types of meditation, guided visualisation, Remembrance, prayer or something else. At times you’ve practiced regularly, but for one reason or another you sometimes fall by the wayside.
Family commitments, your work or day-to-day living may have squeezed your spiritual practice out. Or, a change like having visitors has put it on the back burner. Or you’ve started a new practice, abandoned the previous one, but the new one didn’t quite gel so it’s all fallen apart.
You know you feel better when you carry out your practice. You feel more at peace and connected, and you can access insights and wisdom that come from a broader perspective than your mind.
Like exercise and the food you eat, spiritual practice needs to be a regular cornerstone of healthy living. Some people access it unconsciously, eg by walking outdoors or painting or listening to music; however most of us need to make a conscious effort.
5 tips for getting into regular spiritual practice
1. Find a practice you enjoy
If you enjoy and benefit from your practice you’re far more likely to keep going. Of course any new practice requires some discipline as you move from through the ‘faith it will work’ phase into the ‘now I’m experiencing the benefits’ phase. Looking back over the many practices I’ve tried – from candle gazing through chakra clearing, Remembrance, and the 12 colour meditation to the yin breath – I realise that some proved far more beneficial than others.
What spiritual practice has helped you to feel most peaceful and connected?
2. Set a regular time each day
You’re more likely to keep up your practice if you have a set time of day. Early morning is best for me; expressing gratitude as I wake up, 12 colour meditation in the shower then ten minutes or so of Remembrance after my exercises. All before breakfast! I may add in other slots later on, but early morning is the core for me.
Other people prefer to carry out their spiritual practice on the train to work, at lunchtime, or in the evening.
What time of day suits you best?
3. Use a special place, or be very flexible
I know people who have a special chair, or corner of a room with special objects they use for their practice, all of which helps to get them in the mood.
However, when I learned Transcendental Meditation in 1992 I was in a busy period of my life, so I ended up being able to meditate almost anywhere; from noisy train platforms to any part of my house or garden. I also managed to get my two year old to occupy himself for the necessary twenty minutes! That flexibility has paid off; now I’m able to get into my spiritual practice almost anywhere, so it’s less likely to get interrupted by any change in my lifestyle or routine.
Would you benefit from a special place?
Or, do you need to be able to be able to carry out your practice wherever you are?
4. Get support
If you’re starting a new practice it can help enormously to learn with others. And once you’ve got going, it’s good to reinforce your practice with other people.
This could be through a group, such as your local meditation group, with a friend, or with a buddy over the phone. Being part of a group often deepens the connection you make.
Do you need some support to get started, or keep going?
5. Evolve your practice
Once you’re on a spiritual path, you’re likely to discover and try new practices, some of which will help you deepen your connection. This raises the challenge of what to adopt and what to drop. It’s at this point of flux that I sometimes feel unsure how to proceed and end up dropping by the wayside.
In the past year or so I’ve been finding ways to blend practices together, like the Yin breath and Remembrance. I also go back to the first tip of checking out which practice is so beneficial there’s no way I’m going to drop it.
Are you enabling your practice to evolve and stay fresh?
The Delicious Nugget: Like exercise and good eating, regular spiritual practice involves a little preparation and organising and perhaps some support, then it will run smoothly, with some occasional refreshment.