There is a lot more to spiritual practice than what we do in Yoga or meditation sessions. In fact what we do off the mat is actually more important, since that is where we spend most of our time (unless you are some kind of Yoga fanatic!). The idea of being “spiritual” in our daily lives may be attractive, but it is not so easy with the millions of distractions, tasks and interactions we experience in the modern world. Often we end up on auto-pilot, reacting to whatever happens with little awareness. This is exactly the opposite of the attitude we want to have if we are to progress on the journey inwards – we need to be aware of what is happening.
One way to bring spirituality to our daily lives through “on spot” practices. These can be thought of like a box of tools you carry around to make sure that you can retain awareness while going about your day. One very powerful, yet simple tool to use is pausing. Whatever you are doing, you simply pause, take a deep breath and bring your awareness to the present moment – simply asking, “what is happening right now?”. If you like you can take the practice a little deeper by asking the following when you pause:
a) If things are going well, what can you do to keep it this way?
b) If things are not going so well, what can you do to change it?
This way you can not only cultivate awareness, but improve your daily life. And yes, feeling happier IS part of spirituality (a mind filled with worries and doubt is much harder to tame than a peaceful one).
If you can remember to do the pausing practice a number of times throughout the day, that’s great. However, as we have said, the modern world often pulls our attention in many directions, so it is easy to forget!
Often technology distracts us, but with a little creativity, we can turn it to our advantage. By setting several alarms throughout the day, you can remind yourself to do the practice. There are even smartphone apps that makes a gong sound at random times throughout the day, so install one if you can (also uninstall angry birds and candy-crush saga while you are at it!).
So please give the pausing practice a try, it is surprisingly powerful!
If you want to take things even deeper you could try a tantric breathing exercise at regular intervals throughout the day. One practice requires that every 30 minutes, you do three deep breaths to the navel. As well as maintaining the awareness throughout the day this exercise will build navel power – increasing your confidence and ability to turn your ideas into reality. These types of practices are really putting spirituality into action, in line with the tantric approach which favours doing rather than reading endless philosophy.
Anyway, it is up to you how far you want to take it, but simply pausing throughout the day, taking a breath and asking what is happening is a great place to start.
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