Inner Work,  Practice,  spirituality

My Top 12 Favorite Spiritual Practices

These are the practices that I employ regularly right now in my life.  There have been and will be many others, depending on my needs and the season of life I find myself in.  And for you they may be similar or very different, the question is how do you tend to mind, heart and body?  What helps you align all the elements of your being?  How do you make the darkness conscious?

  1.  Asana:  To get out of my head and into my body, to make greater contact with what is stirring in me, to challenge fixations expressed in body and increase energy flow.  Asana is my primary gateway to presence and Self knowledge.
  2. Writing exercises:  Sometimes journaling, sometimes free association (stream of consciousness, non-stop writing for 10 minutes), blogging and working with words, intuition and inspiration what life is all about.
  3. Gratitude:  writing down or contemplating things I’m grateful for.
  4. Giving up:  The practice of reminding myself that there is a greater intelligence at work than my own will.  I will list troubling things in life that I want to offer to this greater Will, and let go of my own desire to control them.  I’ll often visualize or get a kinesthetic sense of this letting go as I do it.
  5. Creative visualization in meditation:  Working with metaphor and imagery to transform inner dynamics.  For example I may feel like a my heart has a “vice grip” around it sometimes, so I might hang out with the image and feeling for a long time until it starts to transform, or I might actively work to “release” the vice by imagining an unwinding of its grip.
  6. Nature:  When I’m out in nature I feel like the static of the world is quieted, and I am able to hear my inner voice again.
  7. Running:  This is a way to channel aggressive energy for me and move intense emotions.
  8. Conversation with loved ones:  An opportunity to share mutual contemplations about life, be supported and get feedback.  This is about feeling connection and also hashing out difficulties to come to understanding and insight.
  9. Reading:  When I read spiritual or psychological literature of any sort I do a sort of read, pause, reflect process where I take a paragraph and contemplate how it relates to my life so that the wisdom is more integrated.
  10. Talk to myself:  Talk to my “selves” really.  The child, the lover, the adult, the goddess, the shadow.  If a part is exiled or ignored it really throws a fit.  Therefore a regular check in is needed and a good relationship maintained.
  11. Play:  Laugh, be ridiculous, dance, sing, roll around in leaves, make jokes, find the humor!
  12. Watch the sunset:  Here, I don’t do anything.  I just sit, and let the vast expanse of space, texture and color evaporate my small self.  This is where my spiritual journey started.