Many of us now days are looking for a sense of the spiritual life outside of conventional religions and this is natural and progressive as the intuitive call to live our true lives is part of being human.
We search and become attracted to meditation, yoga, reading, running or a specific teaching and, feeling a connection to something that feels good or that resonates with us we want more of it! We naturally set aside more time for it and move more and more towards this connection.
All this is positive and good but we need to be aware and careful of our innate tendency to organise, systemise and to set boundaries and rules. If we are not careful we can find ourselves needing to practise every day, feeling guilty if we don’t, putting off other tasks that need our attention to be more ‘spiritual’ and resenting others who take us away from our spiritual practices. We join groups and can feel smugly superior to others who are not in the same group, doing the same work. We can find ourselves after a time stuck in patterns and disciples and teachings just as restrictive as the ones we have rebelled from in conventional religions!
We forget that what we are seeking; God, Truth, Love, Spirit, Universal Wisdom is primarily energetic, invisible, omnipresent and free of form. Material ‘worldly’ practises are only secondary and can support as tools to begin with but they can only ever be secondary to our innate and natural ability to connect and commune with this Truth, Wisdom and Eternal Love.
In my story, after attending many courses and retreats, I created a meditation and art practise and was committed to doing this most mornings for about 15 years. When I first started the connection I felt and the guidance I received was so powerful and potent that I became very attached to the practise and began believing I could only get that connection through that set of practices.
After about 7 years I actually went quite extreme and let go of most of the rest of my life (job, boyfriends, cities) and ended up sitting in a cabin in the middle of no-where for a year just to have more time for this practise! What happened? I still did the same amount or practise (approx. 2hrs per day) and was bored/depressed/un-balanced for the rest of the day, watched a lot of T.V, ate food, slept. And worst of all, I did not get the same intensity of feeling I had while I was integrating it into a life of work, friends and social life.
The draw to the spiritual life is a powerful one, and it does get results, but we do not have to leave our lives, or even do any specific ‘practise’ to get there. The tools are there to help us learn to draw inward, shut out the external world for a while so we slow down enough to listen, to hear our own truths, or own voice.
But once we make this connection it is our mission, not just to live our lives in this bubble of ‘niceness’ but to integrate this connection into all parts of our lives. As soon as we put God/Spirit/Truth in only one part of our lives we miss the opportunity to realise that it is in all of them.
These Truths are actually in all the parts we don’t like about ourselves, the parts we are shameful about, the parts that are wounded, that we feel need ‘changing’. It is in our anger, our frustrations and our fears. We only need to stop, turn inward and hear the voice we learn to know as truth to reveal to us the communion and healing that is there. There are infinite ways to do this, formal practise is one but so is taking time out to go for a walk, gardening, dancing, sex, laughter, cooking, tidying, just mooching, even just living a gentle life of rhythm and routine can give us the space to open up these truths into all parts of our lives.
Let us make our first cause the seeking, the yearning, the leaning towards communion with our truth and have the courage to let the material practices form and evolve around this.
All formal practices are tools.
God/Spirit/Truth is Unchanging, Eternal, Innate Wisdom and is freely available to all of us, in every aspect of our lives.