Ideally, we do not need spiritual practices because our life becomes the practice. From my perspective, we already are spiritual. As the University of Santa Monica teaches, “we are divine beings having a human experience,” not the other way around! In this sense, there is nothing we need to do to become more spiritual. In my mind, worshipping in a sanctuary is not necessarily more or less spiritual than drinking a glass of water. The question then becomes, how do we place our attention on our spirituality? How do we bring our awareness of our spirituality into everyday living?
For me, I believe that fully experiencing and appreciating the moment with gratitude and awareness- whatever that moment may be- is spiritual living. Spirituality is connecting to the presence—an awareness of and experiencing of—oneness. While spiritual practices and mindful habits may not be necessary to living a spiritual life, I do find they are certainly helpful. Until I get to a place of seamless living from a consciousness of oneness, my daily routines serve as reminders to keep my attention in the now, so that I may wake up to the gift and miracle of life that is each moment.
Below are some simple “practices” that have become themes in my consciousness throughout my days—they are the threads that weave my day together and infuse my day with a connection to what is.
1. Morning intention: Before I get out of bed, I set an intention for my day. It may be as simple as sending light to the day for the highest and greatest good, or simply asking that my day be filled with ease and grace. Another variation is that I will hand the day over to spirit so I may be used in joyful service.
2. Meditation. After twenty years of trying, I finally made meditation a consistent part of my day. I meditate for twenty minutes, usually midday. For more on this read my post “How I finally learned how to meditate after trying for twenty years.”
3. Commune with Nature. When I am in nature or inspired by beauty it is a feeling of instant peace and aliveness. I am in awe of creation and grateful for life. Fresh air, sunshine, trees blowing in the wind, it all soothes the body, mind and spirit.
4. Spirit Provides. I find that silently affirming this phrase helps me stay centered in a stressful situation and gives me comfort and inner peace when it is difficult to see that everything will be okay.
5. Gratitude. The feeling of gratitude instantly gives me perspective and moves me into a compassionate, heart- centered space. It only takes tuning into one person’s hardship to be utterly grateful for the things I many times take for granted such as my good health, my family, and the love, freedom, and peace in our lives. What else really matters? At various times throughout the day I find myself saying a phrase I learned from Reverend Michael in a class at the Agape Spiritual Center: “Thank you God for everything, I am receptive to the all good.” I even try to say this (and believe it) in the midst of a challenge, trusting that everything is unfolding for my highest good, even when I can’t see how.
6. Affirmative Prayer. Affirmative prayer is a way of praying that I learned at Agape. Rather than praying to something or someone separate from us and asking for things that are outside ourselves, the gist of affirmative prayer is we place our attention on what is already given (everything). The answers, healing, and good we are seeking are already within—our prayers are simply a way to align ourselves with the idea that we are already one with all that it is we desire. The energy and intention of affirmative prayer is one of gratitude—affirming and knowing that we are already provided for and everything is revealing itself now for our highest and greatest good.
7. Letting go. At the core of letting go is trust and faith. Even when it appears otherwise, I cultivate a feeling that all is unfolding for my highest good. I find that just letting go and accepting myself or whatever situation I may be in allows life to flow.
8. Enjoying the moment. Life is a gift and a miracle and I try to keep this in mind and enjoy each moment by staying present—even when I am doing everyday, mundane tasks. I turn my attention and connect with spirit throughout the day.
9. Witness/Observe. When I have a negative thought or feeling, I stop and “observe” the thought or feeling. I simply witness the thought by saying to myself, “oh, there is the fear,” or “there is the self-judgment.” Usually at the core of these thoughts is an old pattern or irrational belief. Sometimes I will forgive myself for the judgment and then reframe the old belief by replacing it with a new truth. The idea is that just by observing something and bringing it into your awareness it will transform.
10. Listen. I find that listening more and talking less connects me to my self and opens me up to more deeply experiencing the moment.
11. Bless my food. I give thanks for my food or ask that my food be filled with a healthy, loving energy. Most of the time I try to eat mindfully and slowly- focusing on the tastes, textures, colors and beauty of my food.
12. Appreciate the person in front of me. This is captured for me in the Yoga practice of Namaste- the acknowledgment of the spirit/soul in another person. Even amidst the busyness of the day and the many quick interactions, I try to pause long enough to actually take someone in.
13.Thy will be done. This is an affirmation that I use as a way to welcome a larger vision for any situation. To me it means that I am asking that spirit guide and flow through me and inspire me and move me moment to moment so I may be the most of myself and my potential in loving service for the highest and greatest good of all concerned.
14.Breathing. I find taking a few slow deep breaths throughout the day clears my head and literally helps things flow.
15.Silence. It is easy to fill our minds and days from when we wake up until we go to bed. Usually most of our doings are pre-planned. The problem with this is that we need space and silence to create an opening for inspiration, for guidance and for something new to happen. The silence gives space for the universe to provide in extraordinary ways that we could not have imagined.
16. “Non-judgment. I remind myself that we really do not know why things happen the way they do and it really doesn’t matter. I try not to attach any judgment—good or bad—to how things unfold, but simply accept and experience. Whoever said “don’t sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff” is so accurate!” I keep this in mind.
17. Choose Love. I read somewhere that the most important question to ask yourself in each moment is “what would love do?” I suppose this really sums it up! Enough said.
Every moment where you bring intention (purpose) and consciousness (awareness) may be a spiritual practice—even sorting through the mail, cooking, cleaning, and working. As Reverend Michael at Agape says, “we get to a point where life fits around our spiritual practices, rather than fitting spiritual practice into our lives.” When we bring ourselves fully to each present moment, our life is the practice.