Spiritual Practices in Today’s World

Spiritual traditions and practices teach techniques to help seekers transform themselves and their lives.  As the darkest days of the year approach, they invite us to be still for a moment and “go within” to discover the answers we seek.  Spiritual practices are not necessarily religious, as spirituality can exist quite well without religious dogma.  Spiritual practices can be as simple as, “Breath in, Breath out,” or as complex as  certain rituals involving fire/smoke, meditations, or pilgrimage to sacred sites.  No matter what you choose to practice, there are a few basic guidelines to help promote your spiritual practices.Firstly, before starting any spiritual practice, relax your body, clear your mind of excessive thoughts and worries and bring yourself to a state of quiet alertness.  If you try too hard, you will miss the whole point of the practice!   To help find this quiet alertness, make sure your environment is calm and quiet.  By reducing distractions, you make it easier to focus on the practice.  Practice grounding, breathing and focusing techniques.Practice makes better, so be sure to allow yourself regular times each day to perform your spiritual techniques.  These techniques are designed to help us transform old ways of thinking and doing, into something more expansive.  If we don’t spend time learning and practicing these techniques, they will not be of much benefit to our evolution.

What we choose to practice should not become a chore.  We should look forward to the time we spend expanding our spirit. Whenever something become tedious or boring, it’s time to shake it up! If we continue with that which no longer interests us, we will likely stop the practice altogether. And that doesn’t help with our development.  So, add some zest with music, change of scenery, dancing, aromas, colours, clothes (on or off!), or change the practice to something else for awhile.

It is important to realize that expanded spiritual awareness can happen at any time, not just when you are engaged in your spiritual practice.  It can happen when we least expect it. So the trick is to be open to receive these insights and gifts at any time.  It might come as a beautiful sunset, the fragrance of a flower, the smile of a stranger, a powerful dream or the attention from a beloved pet. Just say, “Thank you, I accept“!

What would you consider a spiritual practice?
There are as many answers as there are seekers!
Some of the more common practices include:
prayer, meditation, mantras, creating sacred space, smudging, sweat lodge, reading sacred texts, using imagination/visualizations, Tai Chi, yoga, singing, fasting, vow of silence, selfless service, pilgrimages, retreats, hiking, swimming with dolphins, walking the beach, vision quest, dancing, dream diary, sacred herbs.

To come closer to the god/goddess within is to come closer to the magic and mystery of the universal Truth.  Spiritual practices help us connect with that Truth so we can use that knowledge in our lives.

As we come closer to the shortest day and longest night of the year, find meaningful ways to go within to find those answers you seek. Your world is waiting for you to blossom!

An afterthought:
An important point to remember is that the art of spiritual practice is to do what you feel needs to be done, without becoming too holy about it. 
You are already perfect; spirituality is a process of discovering this fact!  If we all realized this truth, we would not need spiritual practices because we would already be enlightened.

Did you know ……

  • For shamans, power plants are gifts from the gods that let them enter the spirit world
  • Kahunas are the shamans of Hawaii; they help us take 100% responsibility for our lives and the actions around us
  • Mantra is a word or phrase used as an object of meditation; by repeating a mantra, practitioners distract themselves from intrusive thoughts and enter a state of meditative awareness
 Article written by Pat Antoniak  Registered Nurse-Registered Aromatherapist and owner of the Natural Comfort Wellness Centre in Tsawwassen, BC.


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