No matter where you are in your spiritual practice, at some point you have felt the joy of calm, peaceful, energizing centeredness. If you have gained it by going away for the weekend or locking yourself away from the world in your house, the minute you have to join the real world again, it can quickly evaporate.
While this is to be expected (we do have to live in the real world after all), it is still frustrating to lose that peace with the demands from outside forces: work, bills, relationships. However, being attuned to our spirituality can help us successfully navigate the stresses of everyday life and be healthier. If you can carve out a little time every day to practice connecting, you will be better able to tackle your problems and the annoyances of everyday living.
Spirituality is a very individual thing. Ask 10 people what being spiritual means, and you will probably get 10 different answers.
For some it is an expression of their religion, for others it is their way of exploring God without a religious organization telling them how to do it. Therefore, the practice that facilitates connecting will vary. It could be a specific mantra or quote, saying the rosary, being in nature, being with your kids or pets, or maybe just taking a hot shower. These things can help attune you. If you find one that works really well for you that is portable, then use it a couple of times during your day, or whenever you need to disconnect from negativity.
If you are still experimenting, here are three ways that also work well.
This is a classic method of getting centered and connected. Meditation is an ancient practice that began thousands of years ago in India. In the past 50 years, it has become more popular in the west and has morphed into various forms.
Like spirituality, meditation can be individualized to suit the practitioner, but the main tenet stays the same: calm the mind and turn your focus inward to connect to your spiritual center. Meditation is a practice that can become a family affair. It will benefit everyone, even your kids who can use it relieve the stresses of school.
While a regular practitioner may be able to meditate for hours, it is not necessary to complete a marathon session to gain the benefits. It is often suggested for beginners to practice meditating for 2-8 minutes. This is a time frame that anyone who is serious about connecting can work into their schedule. At 2 minutes, you could easily fit this in on break, at lunch, or in between afternoon meetings. It will help reduce your stress level, focus your mind, and allow you to be present.
2. Practice Gratitude
Once we express gratitude to the spiritual for what we have, we see things in a more positive light. This allows us to let go of much of our dissatisfaction and connect to the energy of life. If you are focused on all of your blessings, you will not be stressed, thus keeping you healthier and happier.
Throughout your day, when getting angry or stressed, stop and think of five reasons to be grateful. Another option is to list as many things as you can in two minutes. With practice, your list will get longer and longer, and you will have to use this tool less and less often.
3. Visual Cues
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in everything we just plain forget to even think about connecting, especially when first starting your spiritual practices.
If you aren’t in tune with yourself, you might not realize how out of balance you really are. That is when the visual cues come in handy. The reminder could be a simple note on a post-it to “Be Present.” Other options include a small notebook with inspiring quotes on your desk, a picture on the wall of nature, or anything that holds significance for you: maybe rosary beads, or even a calendar reminder set to go off at intervals during your day.
Use whatever will provide a visual trigger to you to remind you to stop for a minute and get centered.
I will reiterate, that practicing spirituality is a highly individual thing, and whatever helps you get centered is okay. Find some way to compact the practice to give yourself a mini spiritual moment throughout your day. It is natural to be focused on the everyday, but if you give yourself permission to focus on the inner you for even just a minute during day, it will help you stay in balance. Your mental and physical health will improve and you might even be more productive.