keeping practice, holding faith
Spiritual practice is exercise for the "soul" and stability for your path. In the process of developing and deepening your spirituality as an individual, spiritual practice strengthens and expands your understanding of your faith and deepens your capacity to process life from a spiritual perspective. At the same time, regular “spiritual exercise” is self-reinforcing. It becomes a source of stability for you in times that are rocky, helping you to find your way more quickly, and respond to events intuitively.
Think of the effects of regular physical exercise, and how it creates an upward trend toward a healthy state. That healthier state depends on many other factors besides exercise, but the regular exercise spills over into so many aspects of the body’s physiology that it alone is enough to initiate an upward trend. You can increase the size and density of your bones, which reduces your likelihood of fractures. Regular physical exercise improves the strength of your muscles, tendons and ligaments, which in turn helps stabilize your joints. It also improves muscle endurance, and strengthens the muscle of your heart. It improves the efficiency of your breath and your brain, and improves mood. That’s the upward trend that affects health on so many levels.
Spiritual exercise has a similar upward trend. The idea of practice includes: 1) regularity and repetition of a skill that we learn and become more skillful at over time. Eventually, that regular repetition becomes a way of maintaining the skill we have achieved. Otherwise, we lose the skill. 2) The next level is the ongoing expression that maintains the skill, but at that point, that’s not why you do it, you do it because that’s who you are, that’s what you do, your way of life. Keeping practice, holding faith is central to the spiritual life. We may start with belief, but practice, and living faith makes a sustaining way of life. Continuing spiritual practice, even if it is infrequent due to distractions, time constraints, family and job responsibilities and even health issues, has a way of rearranging our circumstances. Time opens up, we learn new ways of practice that we can incorporate into daily life, we remember more often, practice more often...we are on an upward trend.
There are thousands of possible "practices" and most people explore various forms before committing to what spiritually nourishes them and their personal circumstances. Here we simplify practice by looking at three components or general principles: turning inward, giving way, and positive participation. Within those categories, there are many possible ways to practice, a bit of all three provides balance for your inner and outer life. On these pages you will find commentary and ideas to help you maintain a regular practice of your own.
Relationship as Spiritual Practice
Meditation, Contemplation and more
Release, Surrender, Forgiveness
Maintaining Spiritual Practice through Thematic focus