By Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak
Most people set out on a spiritual pathway for many reasons. It may be due to a health crisis, relationship break-up, the loss of someone very close, or a deep internal need to have a deeper connection to themselves, others and the world at large. While setting out on the path of awareness and connection we may read, and learn many ways in which spirituality can be practiced and lead us to increased levels of awareness. In the beginning the path almost seems easy as we learn various techniques. However as we move forward we soon discover that awakening ourselves is fairly easy, staying awake we learn, becomes very difficult.
As our brain is programmed to keep returning to the things it knows and has experienced. Examples are we have similar emotional reactions to very similar events or we play the same tape of tired old messages of how incapable we are to get ahead. We may try something new and have a great experience; however our brain is never fully convinced at the outset to erase old ways and replace them with new ideas and responses. Hence although you want, and indeed have, new experiences that you want to replace for the old, if you do not stay vigilant about re-enforcing the new ways, you will simply fall back to sleep and old feelings, reactions and messages will once again take over. So staying consciously connected allows us to stay awake and not, metaphorically, fall back to sleep.
Staying Spiritually Aware
Not unlike physical fitness in terms of needing to exercise and eat well, our spiritual self needs constant attention to stay connected to our conscious self. Below are some ideas as to how we might take care of our Spiritual Self. The nice thing these ideas are they are good for the body, mind and spirit. What better workouts can there be. As with all activities the more you do them the more benefit you derive from them as well as the easier they become to do without it being a big deal.
Here are some ideas to assist you in maintaining a Spiritual connection and assist you in staying awake.
- Meditation- The cornerstone of all fitness programs is the age old practice of meditation. You need no equipment, nor special clothing just the desire to close your eyes, relax your body and breathe. Try doing it outside at this time of the year under a tree, by a stream, basically, anywhere that you personally find conducive to relaxing. The nice thing about being out of doors is it will help to connect us back to nature, something we loose during our indoors’ existence of winter. Let your senses experience the sights, sounds and smells of your surrounding and the healing effect it can have on us. Silence of self when combined with natural sounds reaches right into the soul. Remember, turn off the cell phone, blackberry or any other possible distraction.
- Prayer – The use of prayer has been proven to have many beneficial effects. It gives you an opportunity to connect to the Universe. Your religion does not matter. This is about your Spiritual Self. Prayer is not a shopping list to God. It is a chance to envision and state your intentions at a higher Vibrational rate. It is small and simple exercise to release your intentions to higher energies. Your meditative silence is when you may “hear” your answer.
- Walking- This is the most complete fitness activity encompassing every level. It is important though to let your mind relax, stop thinking and start breathing. This can also be thought of as a walking meditation but keep your eyes open! Let your mind wander; don’t use this time to sort out the problems of the world. Allow yourself inner silence while in motion. It is very conducive to connecting your mind, body and spirit.
- Gardening- Growing things whether they are in the ground or container gardening on your balcony gives us a strong connection to Nature. To know you are co-creating with Nature by nurturing plants and flowers touches our spirit. The sheer beauty of the summer garden gives our souls a welcome sight. Plus the physical work of planting and upkeep gives us a physical workout. Again though let your self enjoy the experience without whipping up your thought process.
- Have Fun and Play- This may sound ambiguous but most people are much too serious. Pets are perfect for this! Get together with friends, friends who love to laugh not process their problems over dinner all the time. Have a Barbeque, go on picnics or dine at your local restaurant and laugh a lot. Discover activities that enhance your sense of lightness.
- Curl up with a book- Let yourself read for the joy of reading. You do not need to be learning at every corner. Find something that is pure fun for you and enjoy. The spirit finds as much nurturing in relaxing as it does when you are doing spiritual growth work. In fact it may be nurtured even more!
The idea of staying spiritually awake is to give your self a break from all the work we do in personal and spiritual growth and move to activities that recharge and keep ourselves connected. Connection can be maintained from light activities that help us enjoy our life; awareness does not only have to be hard work. The key component of only the few ideas in this article is to stop thinking so much; nothing puts you back to sleep faster. We lose our connection in our issues, always processing as though there was a rush to reach some highly enlightened state. The fact is life will always be a series of learning and growth challenges that need to be offset by our ability to nurture and care for our self. The trouble with our mind is it loves to keep going back to what it previously knew when given the chance.
To fully appreciate the lightness of our spirit we need to give it space to be experienced from the inside out. Nothing will cut off and use up our spirit’s space more than constant heavy thinking. Learn to find a balance between working out what you need to learn and enjoying your self in the inherent lightness of our spiritual connection. Acknowledge your spirit each day and give it room to play and enjoy. Staying awake is much more fulfilling than constantly falling back to sleep.