On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up in a bit of a panic. I’d forgotten to set my alarm, and had overslept. We were hosting a family gathering, with Thanksgiving dinner at noon and people arriving as early as 11am. No, I wasn’t responsible for making all the food – everyone contributes. However, we did have cooking to do, and some cleaning and tidying, and setting the table.
I felt stressed. So, I sat down on my bed, crossed my legs, set a timer, and did my 20-minute meditation.
Just like I do every morning.
When I was done, I felt much calmer. I went downstairs and started my preparations. The guys joined me and started cooking. I finished the cleaning I had to do, my daughter helped set the table, and everything was just right when the rest of the family showed up.
Our dinner was delicious, there was lots of laughter and fun, and I didn’t need to stress out at all.
My daily spiritual practice came through for me yet again.
For many years I’d heard the Zen proverb “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” Now I totally get it.
I’ve been doing daily spiritual practice since 1997, and it has helped me to become more centered, joyful, and purposeful. The silent meditation piece is fairly new, though. I feel like a beginner in that regard. But already it’s having a profound and far-reaching effect on my life. Not because I’m good at it – but because I’m doing it. Every day, whether I feel like it or not.
The thing is, feeling peaceful or compassionate or stress-free isn’t just something you learn once and you’re all set from then on out. It’s a continual process. It requires practice.
In my view, having a daily spiritual practice isn’t really a luxury. It’s a true necessity, especially if you want to live in a way that’s connected with the Divine and with your deepest inner knowing. Spiritual practice is something anyone can do – you don’t need money or supplies or leisure time or a room of your own. It can be as simple as pausing to breathe deeply and intentionally.
Your practice can – and should – be unique to you. Your spiritual practice should feed your joy, your desires, your passions.
When you practice your connection with the mysteries every day, it will be there for you when you need it most. It’s like any skill – the more you do it, the better you get, and the more automatic it becomes. So on those days when you wake up in a panic, or someone you love is in the hospital, or your car breaks down, you’ll have access to a deep well of inner wisdom and support.
Intrigued? I wrote a book about how you can custom-design a daily spiritual practice just for you. Centered In Spirit: Crafting Your Daily Practice is available on Amazon (as of this writing, the e-book is for sale now; the paperback version will be up in a few days).
(That’s my lovely daughter on the cover!)