Hands up who hears the word “spiritual” and instantly feels skeptical or uncomfortable? Like a door-to-door salesman is about to air his dirty laundry to you? Spiritual is not a dirty word. And a spiritual practice does not have to equate to prayer, meditation, nor any other form of direct worship or supplication to a higher power.
I get it. I’ve been there. As a teenager I was strongly drawn to “new age” mysticism but by the time University, work, relationships and financial responsibilities took over, I drifted away from it as it seemed unreliable, or an indulgence, and honestly - I was embarrassed by what other people would think. As a tomboy, a fierce personality, and a very practical, achievement-driven person, I found too much of the “fluffy stuff” simply off-putting.
Yet in the past 4 years, I have returned to the curiosity and enchantment of my teenage self, to explore what spirituality means to me now. And I discovered that I could create my own spiritual practice, however I wanted it, and still remain me. There is no right or wrong in the realm of the non-physical and intangible, how can there be? I have come to equate spirituality with joy, surrender and “coming home” to your Self.
The amount of clients I get confessing that they aren’t good at knowing what makes them happy, or aren’t good at taking care of themselves, is a real shame. It points to an affliction that I think many of us share and that is Disconnection to the Self. Yeah yeah, another “disease of the technology age” rant you’re thinking? No. We have enough of those. We all know that our time, attention, patience, physical and mental wellbeing is being spread thin. You don’t need me to tell you again. But what you do need is space. And that still exists, we just don’t seek it as busy doesn’t play well with space. Yet "busy" is not a measure of Self, rather it is a mask to hide behind. That doesn’t mean you cannot be busy and full of Self Belief and spirit, but I guarantee you that those who are, have a non-negotiable respect for space. Be it spatial, mental, temporal, or ideally a combination of all three (run away on a solo retreat? Go for it I say! Read about my retreat experience here.)
In whatever way you can create space, it will allow you to surrender to JOY and the coming home to Self - so take it.
How does this help in creating a spiritual practice?
- Allows us time, room and energy to be with ourselves, get to know ourselves and what brings us joy, away from the judgement or perceived expectations of others.
- Teaches us to value silence and stillness. Apprehension toward deeper spiritual practice is often an aversion to a quieter and slower tempo. And I’ll go one step further and bet that many of you are self aware enough already to know it is a fear of what you might find there. Be an adventurer, go there, as the most valuable nuggets are often buried deep.
- Cultivates positivity as it gives our bodies and minds an opportunity for rest and recalibration. A positive mindset reduces resistance, judgement and reactivity which in turn may make the idea of spirituality more appealing.
The more space you give to honour yourself, the better equipped you'll be to discover your own unique spirituality. Just like your fingerprint is unique, what you find spiritually enriching is unique. Let go of definitions.
“Spiritual progress is born out of self awareness” - Deborah King
Spirituality to you may involve cooking (they do say food is soulful!). Surfing (my husband!). Putting your toes in the sand. Journalling. Painting. Skydiving (I have a friend who I would describe as a spiritual skydiver!). Driving solo so you can sing at the top of your lungs in the car (ME!). I believe a spiritual practice begins with any activity that truly ignites YOUR spark. Once we find that happy place and sense of serenity, we become more open and curious about deeper practices. Let’s face it, if you are so rushed off your feet that you’ve forgotten what makes you happy, then jumping into a meditation course or a EFT-therapy program will likely leave you abandoning it with a hurried “WTF?!” and not another second thought.
For example, I know that music is an earth shatteringly, soul stirring, emotional joy ride for me. To the point of Beatle-mania obsession with some music, even at the age of 31 #sorrynotsorry. From this awareness, I began to discover spiritual methods involving music such as Listening Parties and Tibetan Singing Bowls, which I had never considered before.
I flirted with meditation many times before I came to consider it part of my spiritual practice. At first I approached it as a prescription. Something I “should” do, but not that I had truly chosen to do. A prescription you take exactly the way you are told. It's not until I knew more about myself and had more Self Belief that I rewrote the prescription to work for me. I no longer stick to one type of meditation. I choose what feels right for me that day, and what will give me nourishment. I do not hold myself to meditation every single day. The duration I meditate changes. I choose to take my meditation outside, as I know that is something I seek for both physical and mental wellbeing. My meditation now feels so much more “ME” and more desirable because I create its terms. Claire Obeid says if meditation does not come to you, don’t push it. Let it go and you will return to it when and if it feels right. I believe it is once we get out of our heads, out of control mode, and feel more at home with our Self, that you just may find yourself drawn back.
Spirituality is available to all of us - once we begin to stop controlling what we “do”, and start exploring the way we “be”.
What is your spiritual practice? Share what makes you ascend in the comments below.