Being Spiritual, Religiously

As new UU Wellspring year approaches, my heart contains an odd mash-up of excitement and guilt. I am feeling excited to reconnect with my beloved first-year Wellspring group, as we move on to explore the Spiritual Practice curriculum together for the next 10 months; I am feeling guilty about my utter failure to live into one of the five spokes of the Wellspring program – commitment to a daily spiritual practice.

There you have it: an admission of my “wholeness” — and in public, no less! Parker Palmer would be proud.

I tried. I really did. I kept a gratitude journal for quite awhile, and that was, well, gratifying. But then it seemed to run its course. I tried meditation, but controlling the fierceness of the thoughts generated by my over-active mind proved to be too much for my own internal lion-tamer.

back-to-school-4So, in the “back-to-school” spirit of a new program year, I am re-examining my relationship with spiritual practice.

It occurs to me that there are many things in my life that I do religiously. I eat religiously, three times a day (and, if truth be told, more often than that!). I have been religiously tending to the 25 new perennial plants in my back yard that represent a sizable investment in dollars and sweat equity. I exercise religiously, because if I don’t, my body protests.

Wellspring taught me that spiritual practice doesn’t have to be a distinct, “extra” pursuit. It can simply be any regular, intentional activity that deepens the quality and content of one’s relationship with the miracle of life.

What if I simply paused before meals to really notice what I’m eating and think with gratitude about where the food came from? What if I paid close attention to the miraculous and inevitable cycle of growth and decay in my yard, instead of rushing to check watering and weeding off my to-do list? What if I marveled at the joy of being able to move freely with relatively few aches and pains?

Maybe I didn’t flunk spiritual practice after all.

What do you do religiously? What would happen if you also did it spiritually?

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>