Does your spiritual path include a practice? There are various forms of practice on every spiritual path, and many of us don't take them seriously. Instead of engaging in a discipline of spiritual practice, we grab them when needed. This inconsistent pattern keeps us from deepening. It keeps us where we are.
Not unlike an alcoholic or drug addict. An addict's habit of numbing themself when uncomfortable stagnates their emotional development, their ability to deal with anxiety, and other normal developmental behaviors required to be healthy, balanced, and functioning. This avoidance of standing face to face in the tough stuff robs us of maturing, leaving us emotionally stunted.
The same thing happens spiritually. We rob ourselves of the growth and maturity that comes from an ongoing spiritual practice. It grows us from the inside out, giving us increased sight/knowing of who we are in relation to God and the supernatural. We are moving,evolving. If we pray only when we need help or meditate only when we're anxious, we're using the practice to alleviate discomfort. This does not lead to growth. It's a crutch, not a practice.
Practice is repetitive action.
Daily practice is not necessary to benefit from it. You can practice 2-3 times a week for just 20 minutes to get spiritual results and continue moving forward. It's the doing and repetitive pattern that sets the growth in motion. The repitition and intention creates the deepening.
In order to build energy, we have to feed it energy. This is a law of basic physics. If we don't, entropy happens. Entropy happens to anything that's alive if it doesn't continue to receive energy. When something is dynamic, it's alive. In order to remain alive, it must be given what it needs to sustain itself. Nothing alive exists without being in relationship with or dependent on something else.
Like all life on earth, our consciousness also requires food and an environment that supports it. The absence of this relationship causes it to go backwards and it degenerates. This is entropy. The laws of thermodynamics tell us this is necessary as it relates to matter. All matter requires energy in order to evolve, grow, and exist.
Our consciousness is supported by our physical body..(don't know if this is true, but why then? can it then be called entropy if it is not matter as it relates to thermodynamics?) The recognition of our spiritual experience is made known to us by our mind, and our mind is matter. The mind and heart are our communication system to our spiritual awareness. (?)
If you are stuck, get unstuck. Don't let yourself go into decline. You are more important than that. Take yourself on the adventure of finding practices that feed your soul and spiritual life.
Whether it's prayer, meditation, expression or contemplation of any sort, set a time each week to practice, no matter your mood. Whether you're anxious, depressed, exhausted, or happy - do it.
The awareness and connection with your inner self and God can take you to a personal understanding of your life that is cannot be achieved anywhere else.
Balancing your practice between meditation, prayer, mystical and other types of ritual, lectio divina, centering or contemplative prayer and mediation, being in community, and worship if that's a preference for you, are all forms of practice that create forward movement and feed it what it needs to sustain and be dynamic.
The key is to do it with an intention to grow, to become more and more familiar with God as you understand God.
The various forms of practice described in more depth and detail, as well as resources to help you learn more, will be the subject of upcoming posts this month.
In the meantime, simply pray or meditate in a quiet place, for 20 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week for now. Release your mind of thoughts as they arise, and if you choose, pick a short scripture or word that speaks to your heart. Say it each time your thoughts begin to distract you. Some repeat it the entire time. Try different things to see what suits you best.
That alone will make a difference.