Here are 3 Tips to Help You Commit to Spiritual Practice

by | Jun 18, 2023 | Intrusive Thoughts | 0 comments

I define spiritual practice as anything that helps us feel connected to the whole, to a sense of belonging, to something bigger than ourselves. This could be a nature practice, a yoga practice, a poetry practice, a prayer practice, a meditation practice, working with dreams, rock climbing, surfing, dancing, or any combination of these pathways that open our inner channels and connect us to the greater song that is always surrounding us.

The challenge with spiritual practice isn’t necessarily knowing what to do; most people have a sense of what makes them feel alive, connected, fulfilled and whole. We know what feeds our soul. We know what fills the well.

The challenge, in short, is getting started. For the key word in the phrase “spiritual practice” isn’t necessarily the word spiritual. It’s the other one: practice.

For a spiritual practice to work its magic – to draw on its potency when we need it during times when we’re knocked off-kilter – we have to commit to doing it regularly, preferably at a similar time of day. This requires wrangling in the inner toddler/teen who doesn’t want to be told what to do and feels controlled by structures and schedules, and stepping in with a loving yet firm inner parent that can say: “I know you don’t feel like committing to this practice, but it’s important for our well-being and we’re going to do it whether you feel like it or not.”

Committing to a regular practice of any kind is more challenging these days than ever because there are so many opportunities for distraction. Our screens beckon to us at every turn: “Oh, you’re thinking about stepping onto your yoga mat? That’s nice, but how about we just check this app real quick and see if there’s anything interesting over here.” Our work/home lives are demanding. And we’re beset by an instant gratification mindset.

We’re also pulled in a dozen directions like never before. Children call. Work calls. Household tasks call. To hold your spiritual practice in a sacrosanct space that is unimpeded and uninterrupted by the demands of this life is no small task.

Yet, the older I get the more convinced I am that spiritual practice is one our most potent medicines for healing anxiety, intrusive thoughts, worry, and compulsions at the root.

As such, here are three tips to help you commit to your spiritual practice.

Tip #1: Put your screens away when you’re planning to enter your practice.

As far as away as possible. And by all means, turn notifications off! For who can resist the seductive ding that lures you with the possibility of a different kind of connection – that quick dopamine hit of someone liking your post or sending a text?

Tip #2: Remember this phrase: Effort yields fulfillment.

No effort, no fulfillment. Despite all protests from the inner teen, that’s just the way it goes.

We’re also beset by a modern mindset that encourages short-term fun over long-term gain. We have forgotten the importance of doing things even if we don’t feel like it. The archetype of the teenager reigns supreme these days, even well into adulthood. It’s the teen that values immediate gratification and scoffs at hard work. It’s the teen that wants what they want when they want it. If you make decisions based on what you feel like in the moment, you’ll never commit to doing the hard things that yield fulfillment.

Tip #3: Practice in a group.

It’s also challenging to get started when you’re alone with your practices. Ideally, we’re meant to be practicing in community: everyone starting their day with a dream circle or a yoga practice or a sitting together in a group meditation. It’s a big ask to expect the entire human race to find their inner discipline all by themselves. We’re social animals and we’re inspired by others. As much as we might not want to admit that we fall into group-think, we do. This can be used negatively but it can also be used to our advantage.

This is one reason why I love running live courses: people feel inspired knowing that, even virtually, you’re all receiving the same material at the same time every day.

We feel inspired knowing that others are embarking on their spiritual practices, and we can be held accountable, in the most supportive way, by reading or participating on the forum.

We feel inspired when we hear others on the group coaching calls talking about their stuck points, insights, and openings with their spiritual practices.

If you’re ready to discover and/or deepen your spiritual practices, I encourage you to join us for this next live round of Grace Through Uncertainty: a 30-day course to heal worry at the root and feel more comfortable with change.         .

This is the course that can help you heal intrusive thoughts – whether health anxiety, money anxiety, parenting anxiety or relationship anxiety – at the root.

This is the course that will offer tangible and effective practices for working with worry.

This is the course that will inspire you to start: to push past that formidable force of resistance and say YES to your soul that is hungry for the practices that will fulfill you and help you navigate the twists and turns of this life with more grace.

The next live round starts on Saturday, June 24th, 2023, and I won’t be offering it live for at least another year. I look forward to connecting with you there.

Also, I’m offering a free webinar tomorrow, June 19th, on “The Power of Spiritual Practices to Heal Religious Trauma, Chronic Worry, and Intrusive Thoughts.” I will be offering a teaching and there will be time to ask questions and connect. You can sign up here.

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