There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you? - Rumi.
Are you wanting to be more “spiritual”, but worried that starting a spiritual practice will be boring and impossible?
Or maybe you’ve already tried meditation or yoga in order to have more bliss and joy in your life– and yet these activities left you feeling bored, inadequate and less “at peace” than before.
Here’s a well-kept secret: in the west, “spirituality” has become conceptualized and materialized – it is more about creating ego identity and striving for a carrot-on-a-stick mental state, than about actually discovering your innate truth and lasting inner peace.
True spiritual practice is any activity that brings you more present, opens your heart to love life as it is, and surrenders you into the mystery of existence.
A fancy way of saying that no one, NO ONE, really knows what’s going on here, which means YOU get to discover truth anew in each moment, for yourself.
Now, truth be told, I am a huge fan of sitting meditation (read: total spiritual dork) and… it is only one way to access a greater understanding and compassionate experience of this thing called life.
Here are 5 awesome life changing spiritual practices that don’t require sitting silently, that will help you connect and get down and dirty with the truth of the Universe:
1. GRATITUDE PRACTICE.
The Buddha said Gratitude is the most immediate cause for happiness.
Meister Eckhardt said “If the only prayer you ever say is ‘thank you’ that will be enough.”
Gratitude turns your mind away from the habit of looking for what’s wrong (an outdated evolutionary blip) and opens your mind to what is going right in your life. From this state of openness, you become more available to life as it is, and can see things in new ways.
Voila! More happiness!
In Action: Start each day by thinking of three things you are grateful for – before you even open your eyes! End each day with three things you are grateful for from that day – before you fall asleep. The secret here is to be looking throughout the day for things to be grateful for – so that you are re-training your mind! Fun!
2. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: DANCE! RUN! WALK! CLIMB!
What? I can use dance/martial arts/running/walking as a spiritual practice? Yes! Spirituality is about being present and aware.
When you use a physical activity as a way to practice staying present and still internally (even as you are active externally) and a way to overcome limiting beliefs in your mind (“I can’t do it!”) you turn movement into a meditation.
Physical practices are also a great way to practice allowing the body to move authentically – and when the body does that, the mind will follow!
In Action: Set aside a few minutes each night to dance alone. Practice staying present and aware of your sensations, allow your body to express itself however it wants to – let your soul speak through your movement. Joy will be yours!
3. FORGIVENESS PRACTICE.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful practices there is. When you forgive, you release the past (so you can be present), you open your heart, and you allow more comprehensive understanding to enter your being.
In Action: There is a wonderful forgiveness practice from the Hawaiian Huna tradition called Ho’opono’pono. Watch this video to learn more:
4. SERVICE PRACTICE.
In every religious tradition, service is a huge part of the spiritual path. When you give to others – time, energy, money, care – you get outside your own ego and worries, you practice presence with others, your heart opens and you will get happier. This one is especially important these days – when so much of the spiritual scene is about ego gratification rather than giving.
In Action: Find a way to give, or a place to volunteer, that has meaning and heart for you – the energy with which you give is as important as what you give – find something that brings as much joy to you as to the people you are serving. Remember – it’s serving, not “helping”!
5. INQUIRY PRACTICE.
True spirituality is about seeing through what is untrue, our hidden, limiting, separating, painful beliefs – about ourselves, others and the world – and expanding into a bigger mind. Inquiry Practice is one of the most powerful tools with which you can accomplish this. Know that when you take a question to inquiry there is never just one answer to it. You are unpacking a concept–let it continually reveal ever more to you with time and curiosity, like a blossom opening.
In Action: Take some time to write down your core limiting beliefs. “I’m not good enough” “I’ll never find love” “I don’t know what to do” etc. Set aside 10 minutes per day to really begin to question them. Is that true? What is good enough? What is love? What if I did know what to do, what might that be? What am I? What is God, to me? What is the meaning of life, to me? What is surrender?
GET IN ACTION!!
Choose 2 of these practices to start with and commit to doing them daily for a week.
After that time, I assure you, you will feel more peaceful, joyful, connected and centered in yourself.
You can always add on another until you have all five, later. You will have a spiritual practice that works for you – a spiritual practice that you “get to do” rather than “have to do” :).
Which of these will you try? What are your favorite spiritual practices? Comment below. If you found this helpful, please share/tweet/fb/pin it! Thanks!
Zoë Wild, CPCC is a spiritual life & business coach, interfaith minister, and former buddhist nun. When she’s not bringing people to their knees in awe of themselves or exploring the deepest questions of life with her kick ass communities: HighVoltageWomenTribe and BlissGeneration, you can find her singing in nature, rolling in the grass with dogs, and giving high fives to homeless people.
Pic credit: google.