21 Apr 2016
Thoughts on a Daily Practice
Often, I am asked by clients and students alike, “Why is having a daily practice important?” That’s a question that I’ve asked myself many times. When I first awakened to my spiritual journey, I was like a kid in a candy store. I was reading all of the popular books, going to some very empowering classes, and meeting some pretty amazing teachers. One thing that I began to notice early on is that all of these teachers, authors, and mentors talked about a daily practice.
Even though everyone’s practice looked different, I noticed that they all had a thread of commonality: They all incorporated silence in some way. Some would meditate. Some would pray. Others would journal. Some would cocktail several practices together. Regardless of the method, it was pretty clear that having a daily practice was important.
So, I sat out to mimic some of these teachers. And it didn’t take me long to realize that yes, having a daily practice is important. However, it is not easy. I took classes on meditation. I bought journals by the by the dozens. I learned yoga. Yet, I would still fall down on keeping my practice daily. Then, the frustration and guilt would set in and I would just abandon the practice.
However, I kept at it. I studied. I tried different techniques. I “worked on it” all of the time. Then, on day, I realized. Lo and Behold! I was doing a daily practice. No, I wasn’t “sitting in meditation” for an hour. I wasn’t knelt in prayer. I wasn’t journaling for 30 minutes a day. I was simply breathing—cultivating silence as I started out across a body of water. I thought I had gone to the waterfront to push off my daily practice. But what I realized was that I had gone there to find it. In that moment, I realized some things about having a daily practice.
First, your daily practice is yours. It’s personal and should be personalized to you. Just like food or movies, different techniques appeal to different people. One of the important parts of having a daily practice is to cultivate connection. It is via this connection with Divinity, the Self, God (whatever you want to call it) that we begin to gain a sense of Self and a sense of purpose.
Second, your daily practice can be as complex or as simple as you want. Some mornings, I get up, do yoga, journal, and meditate. Other mornings, I get up, journal for 15 minutes, and read something inspirational. No matter how I choose to spend the time, I am engaging in a daily practice. Sometimes, I even split it up. I journal in the mornings and meditate at night. The important part is that we cultivate the silence. We make the time to listen to what our hearts are telling us. We listen for the answers to our prayers. In silence, we find instruction—instruction on how to find our purpose and live our dreams. By cultivating silence in our daily practice, we are led to a place of reflection, insight, and guidance.
Finally, your daily practice should support you and bring you peace of mind and clarity. All too often, we beat ourselves up when we slip. This only makes getting back up harder. Although there is much to be said for self-discipline and stick-to-it-iveness, there’s also value in letting your practice be organic and fluid. Neither is right nor wrong. It’s all about what supports you. Feeling guilty and anxious about your practice won’t serve you either. Remember, five minutes is better than zero minutes.
So, make your daily practice personal. Take the stress and anxiety out of it and make it a practice of love and support. Five or ten minutes of conscious breathing can turn your day around. Try it and see!