I’m sure you’ll have heard this phrase many times. It really means just that ‘breathe’, slow deep breath.
What I wanted to explore here is conscious breathing. But before we explore breathing just a little bit more, I want to just briefly explain what spirituality and spiritual practice is - which I’m sure you know anyway, but it will be a good reminder in this context.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, spirituality is the quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs and beliefs of a religious nature rather than the physical parts of life. It is a huge subject and I’m not even going to attempt to explore them all here.
What does practising spirituality mean and what does it look like?
Before starting to practice spirituality, it’s worth getting clarity as to why you want to gain from it. Set an intention (and you can always change your intention as you ago along). By doing this it helps to measure your success and keep you motivated.
For example, you want to build connection with your spirit guide, develop stronger intuition, increase productivity, reduce stress and anxiety or find inner peace and calm.
You can always change your intention as you go along, but having one is a great way to measure your success and to keep you motivated.
‘A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development’ - Wikipedia.
What it looks like in real life is how we treat ourselves with loving kindness, for example and, love and accept ourselves and others unconditionally. Spiritual practice is a living practice. For me, practising my spirituality gives me deeper connection with my inner being and connects me to my higher consciousness and the Universe, the cosmic power and energy out there that is far greater than me, us.
In the world of parenthood, practising spirituality on a regular and daily basis can be a huge challenge for many, especially if you’re a working parent too. However, I can assure it can be done. But it takes commitment and discipline. And it is worth the time and energy because the benefit is immense. I cannot do without mine now.
Here I’m sharing with you 5 simple ways to start practising spirituality, just pick one that suits your situation at the moment:
You can do this anywhere literally. But preferably in a quiet environment so that you can feel that you’re not being watched. Close your eyes, breath in and breath out through your nose and bring your focus on each inhalation and exhalation. Feel the the cool air your breath in and warm air your breath out. Start with 5 breaths. Then breath deeper all the way to your belly that your belly rises when your breathe in and falls when you breathe out. Again, do 5 breaths. Be with your breaths, really focus on the air that your breathe in and out. The breath connects the body and the mind. It brings you to that present moment. It calms your mind.
Every morning or every night, list 3 things that you are grateful for e.g. ‘Today, I’m grateful for…’ Maybe get yourself a lovely notebook and put it by the bedside. Being grateful has been said to be the equivalent to feeling the presence of the Divine in our lives and being in a state of bliss. It is also associated with greater happiness, contentment and connection.
Buy yourself a beautiful journal/notebook for this exercise.
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages –
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritise and
synchronise the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow”.
But, if you don’t manage 3 pages, no problem, don’t overthink, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you don’t manage it first thing in the morning, same, don’t overthink, don’t get annoyed or beat yourself up about it. Just start writing. I’d really recommend to find a time that suits you during the day so you can more or less do it at the same time everyday. It then becomes a habit.
If writing in sentences doesn’t appeal to you, see is a brain dump, just write single words.
Meditation helps calms the mind and brings you back to the present moment. It helps you to become aware of what’s happening in your life. It’s like you’re observing your life (and your thoughts) as an outsider.
Start with finding a quiet space where you can sit on the floor or on the chair comfortably and your feet touching the floor. Place each hand on each thigh. Close your eyes and bring your mind to focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, bring your attention back tho the breath and keep doing it. The fact that you’re aware that your mind wanders is part of the meditation. It brings awareness to the present moment. Start with 2 minutes every morning. If you cannot do silence, use an app. Apps such as insighttimer or Headspace is free to download. **
Connecting with nature.
This is something that I find really helps me. Everyday I go for a walk, more often than not, I take my dogs for a walk. I don’t just walk and continue my mind chatter though, I look around, at my dogs what they’re doing, I am really being mindful and conscious being in the moment absorbing nature with all my senses, expressing my gratitude at same time and feeling in awe of the vastness and magic of this earth.
It takes practice, so strive for practice and not perfection because there’s no perfection in practising spirituality.
All you need is bit of time, it doesn’t require much energy. Let your partner and/or kids know (if they’re old enough to understand) that you need such and such time to start meditation/writing journal. Let them support you. Make time for you if this is what you want. How I started my practice was setting my alarm 10 mins earlier each morning to meditate and I told my husband not to disturb me!
I’ll be sharing more of this inside my membership programme which is launching on 1st November 2019. Not only there’ll be more resources and options, you’ll also get more support to get your practice starting and more importantly continuing for you to benefit long term.
But more importantly for now, just start. I’m here to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for reading and let me know how you’re getting on. Breathe.
Lots of love
David Ji: davidji.com/