I get it…it can be hard to make the time to first of all find something that works for you, and then to have the discipline to do it regularly. Some people need quiet, others need movement. What works for me may not be what works for you. In addition to what we might consider the more religious practices, there are lots of everyday spiritual practices that you can call on — walking, washing dishes, gardening, music. The goal is to engage with intention and attention to what you are doing. Over time, the right spiritual practice can help ground you during difficult times.
Basic Principles of Spiritual Practice
- Practice privately*, during a time when no one will disturb you. Ideally, you shouldn’t even have to worry about answering the phone, text, FaceTime. Your goal is to be free from all potential distractions during this time. This will help you focus and calm your mind.
- 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.
- Stay with one practice for a long period of time. If you have a walking meditation, walk every
- day 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.
This year, on the first Sunday of each month, our adult faith development programming includes an introduction to a type of spiritual practice and a short time to practice together. After our gathering, you are encouraged to try out the practice for a month and see if it fits.
On November 7 we will spend some time learning about Lectio Divina, one of my own spiritual practices based in reading. Historically it came out of reading and reflection on scripture, but because in Unitarian Universalism we find truth in many sources, I often choose poetry for my practice. In class we will engage in the practice and reflect on our experiences in small groups.
I hope to see you there,
*There are exceptions to this, such as group meditations, drum circles, chanting…but these usually enhance a solo practice already in place