Maybe You Don’t Have to Set Aside Time…

+ Spirituality compass June 15 Muse 29319091_sYears ago, when my interest in spirituality deepened, I became intrigued with wanting to discover who I really was in my Essence, in my Highest Self. I wanted to read, meditate, contemplate. Seeking to create a spiritual life, I was advised over and over again to set aside time…time to meditate, to write in a gratitude journal, to read spiritual books for inspiration.

The message was loud and clear: It takes time to have a spiritual life, time that I needed to separate out from my regular life.

But, at that point in my life, I didn’t have surplus time. My two children were young and needed a lot of tending, I worked part-time, and my aging parents were beginning to decline. Setting aside time was a challenge.

My time is more my own, now. I’m by no means the busiest person I know, but I’m still often challenged to carve out time for the things that matter the most to me – first and foremost, my spiritual life. It’s taken awhile, but I have managed to establish a (mostly) daily time to sit and be still and center myself. I write in my gratitude journal nearly every night, and I frequently dip into spiritual books and blog posts for insight and wisdom.

So, my spiritual practices are more present than not in my life, but they’re still not perfectly consistent on a daily basis. It seems that life can just be too busy to find the time to fit them all in every day.

Recently, as I was gently wrestling with my schedule, trying to fit in some time for contemplation, it occurred to me that maybe I didn’t have to set aside time for my practices, after all. Maybe, instead, I could simply be in my spiritual practices all the time while I was moving through my day.

Instead of sitting in stillness for twenty minutes in the morning, I could go through my day with an internal stillness and centeredness. My gratitude practice could flow from moment to moment – a continuous “attitude of gratitude,” as the saying goes. New inspiration and spiritual insights could be discovered at any moment through my conversations and interactions, not just when I picked up a book of spiritual teachings.

A seamless, continuous spiritual life… It sounded divine (pardon the pun).

On the heels of this realization came another one… Duh! Isn’t a seamless, continuous spiritual life, after all, the kind of life that our daily practices are supposed to help us cultivate? Isn’t our spirituality meant to permeate our lives, to be a way of being – not a series of isolated endeavors here and there?

As the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once wrote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Inspired by these thoughts, I have begun experimenting with living as a spiritual being no matter what I’m doing – rather than stopping the flow of my day for spiritual practices. Through the course of my regular routine and tasks, I’m trying to stay present and centered, to remember to be appreciative and grateful, to notice the inspiration of Spirit in my activities and interactions.

My experiment is having a lovely effect! Integrating spirituality into every moment is helping me feel calmer and more present. I’m more consciously appreciative of my many blessings – my overall well-being, the richness of my relationships with my family and friends, the satisfaction I receive from my work, the sacred honor it is to be here on this planet, the sweetness of my connection with the Divine.

In order to stay present, I periodically check in with myself with queries like, Am I centered? If not, can I return to my center? Am I appreciating my food’s flavor and texture or am I mechanically chewing and swallowing? Am I really engaged in my conversation with my dear friend, enjoying how meaningful our interaction is? Am I really seeing the heron’s huge, flapping wings as it flies over the park? Have I marveled at the closeness of Venus and Jupiter in tonight’s night sky? Am I inspired in this moment and feeling connected to Source?

This more integrated, continuous approach to my spiritual life is enriching each moment. It’s also been easier to adopt than I’d thought it would be. Not that I’m in full consciousness all the time, but there is definitely an increased awareness of myself as a “spiritual being having a human experience.”

It’s been liberating to realize that I don’t have to set aside time to pay attention to my spiritual life. Even if I don’t get to my practices in a formal way on a given day, I’m not kept from deepening my connection with Spirit. By creating a continuous (or at least more continuous) consciousness, I can experience and enjoy a sense of Spirit at any time.

With liberation comes the realization that there are choices. Maybe I don’t have to set aside time, but maybe I choose to. I have grown to love my regular practices and choose to continue to do them more often than not.

Our spirituality can be as integrated into our being and lives as we choose to make it. In a sense, we have all the time in the world, if we are present to Spirit in each moment. And, more time, which creates more connection, is better.

Divinely better…

Comments

  1. Very wise! Eckhart Tolle talks about this, too; he says something about how it doesn’t really matter if you can meditate for two hours a day if you’re completely unmindful as you go about your life. Living as our spiritual selves is definitely an important goal for a lot of us, myself included. While I think having specific time for spiritual practices can be helpful and enjoyable, bringing that feeling out into the world in our daily activities whenever we can is vital. Thank you for the lovely reminder and inspiration!

    • Spiral Energies says:

      Thanks for your perspective from Tolle, Laura. This is a great addition to the discussion. It really is a matter of mindfulness, isn’t it?

  2. Yup! You got it right on the noggin, Janet.
    OXOXO
    PamK

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