You prepare meals. You wipe noises. You organize the house and run kids to school, doctor’s appointments and extra-curricular activities. Do you really need to add one more thing to your already busy schedule? Do you need a spiritual practice?
The short answer, in my humble opinion is YES.
Let’s examine why it is one of (if not the most) important aspect of our lives.
Remember that list of things that you do everyday to nurture your family? That is precisely why YOU need a spiritual practice.
There are several benefits to taking time out to nourish your own spirit, but let me point out just a few here:
1. Quiet time
This is the most exciting benefit for me. We all know the house is rarely quiet when you have children. And while that lovely “organized chaos” is what I had hoped to have as a mother, committing to a daily spiritual practice gives me some much needed peace and quiet.
I’m not saying that it is easy to find such a time everyday, but I find that it is absolutely vital to my sanity.
Here are some ideas to help you fit in your quiet time.
You could find your quiet time while your younger kids nap.
Or you could send your older kids to their rooms for an hour or so and require them to have quiet time just like mommy. (Kids need to spend time with God as well).
If you have kids that are school aged and out of the house all day, find a few moments to practice while they are out.
Another option is to wake up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than the rest of the house and commit to your practice at that time. Or even take the first 15 minutes after you have put your kids to sleep to pray and meditate.
Remember, you may need a spiritual practice but it should not be one more thing to cause stress in your life. So fit your quiet time in whenever it works best for you. It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes at one time. You can stretch out three 10 minute sessions throughout the day whenever you have a moment.
2. Peace of Mind
Ultimately our spiritual practice should help us mature into more loving and patient people. And to radiate peace to those around us, we must first have peace of mind for ourselves.
Setting an intention for peace and meditating on that thought for just 10 minutes can do wonders to remind ourselves of the simple truth that we ARE peace.
Whatever your issue is, whatever your biggest challenge is 10 minutes of meditation can bring a sense of peace and calm to your life.
3. Restore Hope
One of the things that a consistent prayer life and spiritual practice does for me is remind me of all the things that are good in my life. So even when things are going crazy, my prayers of gratitude allow me to come back to the truth that there is PLENTY to be grateful for. It also reminds me that the future is always hopeful no matter what chaos is surrounding me in the present.
4. Keeps you Evolving
Reading and listening to speakers (pastors, ministers, and other spiritual leaders) is a big part of my spiritual practice.
How would you ever learn about most of the things that you believe if someone had not taught them to you at some point?
More importantly, how will we ever continue to grow if we stop studying and learning from different people.
I truly believe that life is a journey in which we continue to grow and spiritually evolve. The beliefs I clung to as a child may not be a part of my current belief system.
As we grow and experience more of life some of our beliefs grow stronger, while others that no longer serve us, drop by the wayside.
This is okay, because this life is about evolving into the HIGHEST expression of who God made you. So keep reading, listening and learning.
5. Reminds us of the ABUNDANCE of life
Another aspect of my spiritual practice is giving to others. This could be giving of my time doing volunteer work (which I admit I have very little time for in this stage of life), giving money, or donating items (such as food, clothing or the like).
Many of us get stuck in a rut, thinking that we are barely making our own ends meet so how in the world could we possibly give something to someone else?
This is wrong and backwards thinking.
The truth of the matter is that we live in an abundant world. There is no such thing as lack or limitation.
Now you can read those words. You can even agree with those words. But you don’t start to truly KNOW the truth of those words until you start giving.
For instance in my own life, I too have felt that I didn’t have anything to give to anyone. So I ran a little experiment. (I’m always experimenting with spiritual laws).
This particular law is the Law of Circulation. Also called the Law of Giving and Receiving. Or the Law of Reaping and Sewing. No matter what you call it the truth of it is this: That which you give you will also receive MULITIPLIED.
That is to say, when you give (with a glad and generous heart) you will receive back what you gave, only more!
This sounded awesome to me. Why not give it a try – Right?
When I decided to begin a monthly donation to my favorite spiritual community , something I thought I could not afford, not only did God enable me to make the donation every month, but I started to get more offers to do work and earn more money.
As a matter of fact I was bringing in much more “extra” money than I was donating to this organization.
Likewise I recently started donating food to a local food bank right around the corner from me. When I go to the grocery store each week, I simply buy a little extra to put in the “donation” box.
Now we have always been fortunate enough to have plenty to eat at home, but I have noticed that our family has been receiving other little “gifts”. Not money. Because remember God returns your giving in kind. So I have gotten things like, unexpected tickets to the zoo from one of my students. Or when I’ve been a few dollars short to pay for my groceries, before I’ve gotten to the register a stranger hands me a couple of coupons for items that I have in my cart, taking my bill down to what I can afford.
There is more than enough of everything in God’s world and sharing our time, talents and resources as a part of our spiritual practice demonstrates this truth.
6. Restores and Grows our Faith
It could be argued that there is NO spirituality without faith. Faith is the glue that holds us all together.
Everyone, spiritual or not, has faith in something. Even an atheist has faith that the sun will rise everyday and that it will set each evening. How else could you plan your day, if you didn’t have faith in this basic truth?
But faith for the spirit seeker is even deeper.
When we first learn, for instance, that there is a spiritual law that acts upon our thoughts and our words, we may find it intriguing.
Then we start to learn a little more about this law and realize that, what we think and what we say (positive or negative) manifests in our personal experience.
Wow this is an interesting concept!
Then we learn that we can use this spiritual law for our own good purposes. If we choose, we can manifest whatever our hearts desire, be it money, friendship, whatever.
But at this point, we have little or no faith in the matter. It’s just something we’ve heard about or read about.
It’s not until we commit to a spiritual practice, in which we begin to actively use this law that we fully understand.
So we spend our practice time affirming the presence of what we want in our lives. Or we visualize the presence of such things.
We focus, we set intentions, and we let go, letting God work on our behalf.
At this point, there still is not much faith there.
But when those desires show up in the physical world: when you get pregnant with and deliver that baby you affirmed; or you notice your marriage is on smooth terms again; or all of a sudden you are debt free. THIS is when we know!
This is when our faith has grown.
This is when the understanding of this spiritual law is set in our minds as truth. No longer is it simply a belief. No longer is it just a nice idea. Now, with a clear demonstration and manifestation or our desires, we have faith in the truth of the law.
And with this truth comes a deep since of knowing and understanding of God.
So, do you need a spiritual practice?
For me, my spiritual practice is literally the best thing that I can do for myself, for my family and for everyone that I come in contact with.