I have recently been making a concerted effort to bring spirituality back into my life on the daily basis. When Thrive Global asked “How do you make spirituality a part of your life?” I became both reflective and observant. Sometimes people who are good at spirituality can appear ostentatious almost as if it’s a contest. Who’s the best “Yogi”and meditates daily or who’s the most religious person? Part of this dynamic may be rooted in the ego or a popular mindset that encourages comparison. I grew up going to church every Sunday. As a child I never imagined that spirituality would exist as a struggle. It always seemed a natural part of things or omnipresent. As an adult my spiritual practices vary and include prayer as well as mindfulness techniques and transformational knowledge.
Below are some insights to my revamped spiritual journey that may be helpful for others:
Try not to block spirituality with overthinking. Having faith or a sustainable approach to a long term spiritual practice also requires letting go and having trust in those systems. Whether it be transformational knowledge or religion we have to allow the practices to work by relinquishing some control. This primarily includes overthinking desired outcomes both short and long-term. Creating a predetermined schedule is one way to relieve stress associated with strengthening spiritual habits. One thing to try is inserting a practice like meditation for example daily for a certain duration of time. You might plan to wake up twenty minutes early every day for fourteen days and start your day with a short meditation. This way it doesn’t seem like a large burden to make a life change. You can try it then document for yourself how it felt or may have enhanced your life. You can then feel accomplished at the end of that duration and make a conscious choice to continue or try something different. Either way you get to experience having accomplished a reasonable measurable spiritual goal.
Simple cooking has become a great mindfulness exercise for me. It helps stimulate an interactive nowness. Watching the oil get hot, cracking an egg and watching it begin to sizzle is a simple vivid, visceral, and interactive experience when fully engaged in the moment. Cooking also helps encourage a non-scarcity mindset. Rather than just thinking how you “didn’t get enough sleep” or “time in the day” you feel gratitude because in front of you there is proof you are fortunate and there is enough.
Having conversations with others about spirituality. This is something I had stayed away from for a long time. Mostly because it can often be stigmatized as a taboo topic since spirituality tends to be more of a private topic publicly. It’s important that we create safe environments for people even with differing spiritual practices to talk with one another without fear of conflict. Talking out loud again with others about spirituality helps me to stay actively engaged and encouraged. I have always been a spiritual person, but over time my practices became very “to myself” or isolated. Community oriented spirituality can play a vital role in strengthening our practice.
Being conscious not to replace spirituality or a heightened sense of being with social media. Social media has the potential to be a place to escape or even to be happy or relieved on a gloomy day. It can become oversaturated and repetitive with all the attention grabbing clutter and become a distraction. I think society would benefit from a new type of social media platform. One that’s carefully crafted and not solely full of user generated content. The popular social media platforms undoubtedly have their place. However, with all the algorithmic advances and AI I wonder if something more personalized can exist? In our augmented realities can we go on a mindfulness retreat or play laser tag with friends in real time as easily as joining a group chat? Could it remind me of something I forgot without having to enter all my alerts into the calendar alongside advances like texting without the need to type? In the below 2017 graph from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) we can see that popularity or relevance doesn’t necessarily correlate with overall customer satisfaction.
Spirituality has easily become more complex and more multifaceted over time. If we want to bring spirituality closer back to the core of our awareness then we need to consider the same thoughtfulness and discipline we bring to our work-life or bucket list. With willpower and action based progress we can create new habits and enhanced lifestyles of our choosing with greater ease.
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“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS