“Today we tend toward increasingly superficial, materialistic, egocentric practices and orientation—fast food, fast sex, fast cars, fast life, fast therapy, fast spirituality. Patience is becoming rare, tolerance rarer, constancy rarer still, and presence in the ongoing process of life without attachments to an outcome and a result is all but entirely annihilated.”
… Richard Harvey, lecture: Crucible of Awakening, June 18, 2013
At an ever-increasing rate, precious souls are finding their way to me with some of these common conditions: unhappiness; discontent; anger; depression; and a host of other conditions which may generally be described as a low level, but growing, malaise. The conversation always invites me to ask these dear souls what their spiritual practice consists of.
One dear soul informed me of a plethora of practices and faith communities they lend their belief system to. When I asked how these practices and beliefs manifest themselves in their daily life, the response I received was… “Daily!?…I sometimes go for weeks without having any interaction with these communities and corresponding faith practices.”
Another dear soul shared with me how their life was full of extremes of highs and lows. They went on to share that whenever they were at a low in their life, they turned to sacred scripture to help move them back to a place of peace. I asked them if they continued to study their sacred scripture when they were in a place of peace. Their response was… “Why would I do that!? When I’m at peace, why would I read sacred scripture? When I’m at peace, I don’t need any of this spiritual stuff.” I smiled gently and asked this dear soul… “Why is it you are using God as a spare tire? Why not let God drive the car?” My question was met with a blank stare, your characteristic deer-in-the-headlights-look when someone has been awakening to a new truth about themselves.
I am increasingly curious by seekers expressing confusion about the relationship between their inner peace and their spiritual practice. When should I practice? Where should I practice? What should I practice? How often should I practice? How do I develop the discipline and dedication to maintain a spiritual practice that brings me peace?
At a recent discussion group, another dear soul asked me “How do I build spiritual muscle?” I asked this person how one normally builds physical muscle. Their response was “Well…one goes to the gym on a regular basis or engages in some other form of physical exercise.” I responded back, “That’s exactly how you build spiritual muscle. You show up at designated place for your workout and you ‘pump iron’! And you commit yourself to a regular schedule for these workouts.”
The when, where, what, how long and how often of these workouts is entirely up to each individual soul. But you are invited to create a spiritual workout that works for you, that resonates with you. Maybe you will pray, meditate or do yoga on a regular basis. Maybe your form of building spiritual muscle involves going to services at your local faith/spiritual community, or reading sacred scripture or teachings. Whatever the form that works for you, practice it with dedication and discipline. For insight to many possible spiritual practices to enjoy, refer to the article “Spiritual Practice” at http://www.servingyourjourney.com/Spiritual_Practice_v5.pdf.
While it is written that some spiritual adepts transformed themselves into spiritual masters in an instant, for many it takes a lifetime of dedication and effort. I am blessed to devote a minimum of 10 hours of my 24-hour day to conscious spiritual practice—to building my spiritual muscle (most days I devote 12+ hours of my 24-hour day to conscious spiritual practice). From the gratitude practice that begins my day, to my daily yoga, meditation, reading of sacred scriptures and other spiritual literature, to my daily ministry of service, to the prayer and meditation that ends my day, I use these times to bring me out of the world of the ego and materialism and into a relationship with my God-self.
To devote so much time on a daily basis to spiritual practice may not be in the cards for some (perhaps many). I know my daily 10-hour-spiritual-practice is a minimum requirement to enable me to stay in my heart space. For you it may require much less time on a daily basis. And if so, that’s great! Whatever works for you, is what works for you. But find what works for you, build your workout regimen, commit to yourself, and stick with it. Your heart and soul will thank you for it…and so will everyone else.
Shanti, Namaste, Agapé,
Rev. Robert Meagher
Photo Credit: www.muscletestingdoctor.com (No copyright Infringement Intended.)
About the Author:
Robert Meagher worked for almost 25 years in traditional corporate settings and acted in various management roles in the education, arts, financial, not-for-profit, government, consulting, and healthcare sectors. Along the way Robert earned bachelor and masters degrees and professional certifications. Robert left corporate Canada in 2009 to set himself adrift and explore a new way of living and seeing the world we live in. Robert is now an Interfaith Minister who embraces a spiritual life and now serves to guide all those who wish to accept the Divine into their lives. Through Spiritual Guidance, Robert’s ministry initiative, he embraces the opportunity to serve those who wish to explore their own spirituality and gain insight into who they are, their purpose here in this lifetime and existence, and their desire to grow in Spirit. Robert can be reached at 613-204-0299, [email protected], or through his website at www.servingyourjourney.com.