I’ve felt a large burst of spiritual growth in my own life recently. I love when this happens. Everything feels green and new. It’s all quite revelating too.
This morning I enjoyed The Soul Adventurer Podcast by Jennifer Jayde. Often times her voice alone is enough to relax me into a meditative state. She oozes spiritual calmness and that makes for a very pleasant listen on my early morning drive.
On this particular episode Jennifer was speaking about the development of her meditation practice. Just like anything else, it’s not an easy habit to just “pick up.” You must start small, use guided help and be kind to yourself when you aren’t instantly a master.
The key word I picked up on was “practice.” A practice insinuates that the activity will take time and patience before it is really unraveled and understood by the one who is participating. I’ve dabbled in meditation and I would definitely say it is a practice you have to devote yourself to in order to really reap the benefits.
Examples of Spiritual Practice
Yoga is another example of “practice.” A few months back a friend of mine asked me how I was keeping myself so lean. I squirmed a bit in discomfort when I heard the question. I’ve always led a very active lifestyle and tried to eat healthy. But at my heaviest, I was working out almost every day and not getting any slimmer. Then, almost like magic, I quit caring. I backpacked Australia for 8 months and came back 10 pounds smaller. The funny thing, I never even noticed I had lost weight. I was too busy having fun and learning about myself in a deeper way.
Since my return I’ve stayed consistent with my yoga practice (something I did before, during and after my trip). I’ve continued to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle. The idea that yoga and vegetables were the answer to my slim body just seemed absurd. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. Forceful energy doesn’t accomplish anything but exhaustion. Instead, my yoga practice is much more of a flowing energy. It’s something I look forward to every morning. I can tell that over the years my practice has gotten better. Where I used to purely enjoy the stretching element, I now understand that yoga is so much more beneficial than just stretching. Much like the game of golf, it’s not only physical, but it is a mental and spiritual exercise as well.
Each morning I feel the need to practice my yoga not because I want to be skinny, but because I want to feel good, I want to think clear and I want to resonate in my own soul. This practice is one that has led me to a deeper walk with God and a more natural, healthy lifestyle.
Another activity I tried “practicing” for the first time a few weekends ago, is floating. If you haven’t heard about floating, I’ll give you a brief description. Floating is a relaxing, meditative activity that has popped up in Float Tanks all across the country. A float tank is similar to a large bath tub, only it has a lid on it as well. Inside the water is set at exactly the same temperature as your skin, so you’ll hardly notice you’re in water. Add to that 800 pounds of Epsom salts, and your body naturally floats to the top of the surface.
Once inside the tank, the lid is shut, lights are off and your practice is then to relax as hard as you can. For some this may come easier than others. My boyfriend found himself instantly relaxing into an out-of-body experience in which he watched himself float peacefully below.
I, on the other hand, had more trouble than I had anticipated. At first, I relaxed into a state where my consciousness was just about to disconnect from my ego, but suddenly I snapped back into fear, worry and anxiety. I wondered how long the float would last. What was touching my hand? How long had I been in there already? I wondered if my boyfriend was relaxed and what if he fell asleep in the tub. My mind raced with silly questions about all sorts of things. Slowly I would relax again, quieting my mind and slowing my breathe, only to snap back into anxiousness a few minutes later.
At the end of the float, I realized the float was advertised as a “practice.” This really made sense to me, because I felt the activity was very similar to meditation in that it took discipline, complete concentration and trust.
Whether it’s yoga, meditation or floating, these practices are meant to increase your awareness of the life happening all around you. The idea is to become more present. More alive. More aware.
But why do we call it a practice?
When I was heavily involved in Baptist student groups in college, I remember a popular question was always, “How’s your spiritual life” or “tell me about your spiritual journey.” However, as I’ve gotten older I realize this is not a sensical question. Life is a spiritual journey. We are all spiritual beings living inside a human body. While we can use activities to engage in spiritual practice, the truth is, our whole life is spiritual practice.
Eckhart Tolle once told a woman that raising a three-year-old was her personal spiritual practice. It makes a lot of sense. Each day, every moment we are experiencing the world as spiritual energies that translate into physical forms. The more we “practice” spirituality, the more readily we see and understand this.
For those of us who may be lost, confused or unsure of where to take ourselves next, a spiritual practice is a great way to connect or reconnect ourselves with our inmost being. Connecting to yourself from that place is where your truth lies. Here you will be able to listen to your highest self.
Learning to push aside the ego, fears, worries and doubts is a huge part of blossoming into the spiritually authentic being you were created to be. These things distract us from our truth and cause us to make decisions that aren’t based in truth. This is why the journey to self-discovery often starts with small steps towards silencing your egoic mind.
In my e-book, Brazenly Beautiful, I teach several different “practices” for connecting with your truest-self. Sitting in silence, journaling, affirmations and travel are just a few. Each chapter includes a basic exercise and an interactive workbook for participants to journal through their thoughts and feelings on each topic. This is such an important first step in any aligned spiritual journey.
Again, all of us our spiritual beings experiencing life in a physical body. It’s not about “having a spiritual life” it’s about relating to your spiritual self and understanding its underlying presence throughout all areas of your day-to-day life.
So, why not begin the spiritual practice of living? Are you engaged with the living you’re doing, or are you simply running from fear to fear, worry to doubt or ego to anger? Are you scared silly about facing the deeply sensitive being within? Are you terrified of what people would say if they say the real you? If the answer is yes, then these are all good signs that you might want to begin diving deeper right away.
Ready to take the first step in your spiritual practice?
Do you feel like your life is rushing by all around you, without your consent? Are you unable to identify your own wants and desires? Maybe you are unsure of how to start working towards your creative dreams. If any of this applies to you, Brazenly Beautiful will help get you started on your creative journey to confidence. Learn More —>