I’ve observed that many people now turn to holistic practices such as yoga and meditation in times of turmoil and this is wonderful as they offer a way to heal without trying to numb which has been the dominant approach for us in the West for some time. But with time, these practices tend to be pushed to the sidelines as we begin to feel better, get busier and generally get sucked back into what we consider to be the ‘real world’. This is unfortunate because the value in finding such time for ourselves extends far beyond healing what already hurts. It can also provide us with motivation, mental clarity and meaning so we can aim to be our best more consistently.
My own practice slipped in the past couple of months as I spent all my time travelling and given the chance to reflect on this recently, I noticed my usual levels of intention and mindfulness lower too. My mind can provide a thousand excuses for why this is OK but thankfully I know better than to listen to that. I know I should make at least a little time for my yoga practice every day because it’s an investment that will make my day better and usually, more productive. It grounds me and helps me think more clearly. It keeps me healthy, strong and flexible. I had simply let my discipline slip and now know that I need to work on finding ways to keep it stronger, especially when my usual routine is disturbed. When I did put in the extra effort to find this time daily, the transformation was instantaneous, I felt better and noticed the quality of my thoughts improve drastically too.
The definition of ‘spiritual’ is personal to all, but one explanation that resonates with me most, is spiritual being the process of transcending from automatic to conscious. When faced with something challenging, our mind has a tendency to immediately react, draw conclusions and usually, play the victim. When you catch those thoughts in their tracks and choose to see the bigger picture, when you choose to see things as they really are without pre-conceived conditioning or judgment, that’s magical and the definition of spirituality for me. It’s very difficult to achieve this level of thinking however, especially when we are so busy with life without actually having any time to ourselves. Maintaining a daily spiritual practice that includes holding stillness and having some time for reflection can therefor be life changing; it can better equip us to be the integral, love centered individuals we are all meant to be.