By now many members of the Wellspring program are fully engaged with their chosen spiritual practice. Others seem to struggle with finding the right fit or making the required commitment. Still others tell me their whole life is a spiritual practice. While I respect that concept, I have to admit that that I’m a bit skeptical. You see I’m pretty old school when it comes to a spiritual practice. In fact I’ve been known to call it a spiritual discipline, not always a favorite word to Unitarian Universalists. However, if the purpose of a spiritual practice is to get close to our divine essence or to know our deepest values, well…I just don’t think you can do that on the way to the grocery store.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire those who take their sense of the holy into all their daily tasks. I said the same thing to my own spiritual director a few years ago and he gently said “Great, now it’s time to go deeper. And in order to go deeper, you must be quiet.” Advice not only from him but also from the sages for millennia.
It may be a trap of our multitasking culture to think that we can open our heart and soul to the divine while we are cleaning the garage. Or we may have given in to the sense that we have no time. Whatever the reason, an important question to ask might be, “What might I be avoiding and how can I go deeper?”
Here are some tips for enriching your practice
- Practice privately, during a time when no one will disturb you.
- A short period, ten to twenty minutes at a time, is best to start with.
- It can help to set aside a regular time each day for practice.
- Early morning, mid-afternoon or later in the evening are popular times.
- Ideally, you shouldn't even have to worry about answering the phone.
- Your goal is to be free from all potential distractions during this time. This will help you focus and calm your mind.
- Stay with one practice for a long period of time. If you have a walking meditation, walk everyday for a month or more.
- Separate your practice time from regular time by doing transitional breathing. Five minutes of deep belly breathing will do fine.
- Set your intention, invoke the presence of the divine or declare your intention to devote this time to listening to your core self.
- Remember to close your practice time. Lighting a candle and then blowing it out is a good way to mark the time.
Above all, relax and offer yourself this gift of uninterrupted time and connection.