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The Invisible Spiritual Practice: Are You Doing It?

photo: Diza Ramli on flickr

photo: Diza Ramli on flickr

What’s your spiritual practice? Do you meditate? Do you pray or say affirmations? Do you spend time in nature, absorbing the beauty of the Divine?

My spiritual home is Centers for Spiritual Living. At CSL, we have five practices that help us align with the Divine.

They are as follows:

1. Meditation
photo: Wonderlane on flickr

photo: Wonderlane on flickr

We spend time each day in quiet contemplation. We may count our breaths, watch a candle, or repeat a mantra. There is no one right way to meditate. There are as many forms of meditation as there are people on the planet.

2. Prayer
photo: digitalpimp on flickr

photo: digitalpimp on flickr

At CSL, we teach a form of prayer called affirmative prayer, or treatment. It’s a five step process, and it goes like this:

Recognition: Spirit is all there is. 

Unification: I am one with Spirit. 

Realization: I claim, accept, embody and welcome my good. 

Thanksgiving: I am grateful. 

Release: And so it is.

As with meditation, there is no one right way to pray. Meditation is listening to the Divine, and prayer is talking to the Divine. Both sides of the conversation are important.

3. Study
photo: john miller on flickr

photo: john miller on flickr

Immersing ourselves in the words of spiritual seekers who have gone before us can provide immeasurable support. We can find inspiration, solace, and laughter in books and poetry about the Divine.

4. Service
photo: Kyle Taylor on flickr

photo: Kyle Taylor on flickr

One of the best ways to connect with the Divine is by seeing it in other people. Serving others is serving the Divine. Plus, it’s a great way to get us out of our own private dramas and connected to the larger Whole. And it feels good too.

5. Circulation
photo: epSos.de on flickr

photo: epSos.de on flickr

We give where we are spiritually fed. This may be our spiritual home, or it may be an organization that uplifts humanity. Sharing our resources is a powerful way to connect ourselves with Divine flow. And, like service, it feels great!

So what’s missing from this list?!

Yes, there’s one more thing that needs to be added, an invisible spiritual practice that many of us ignore.

What is it?

It’s the body.

photo: camera eye photography on flickr

photo: camera eye photography on flickr

Honoring the body temple is, in many ways, where spiritual practice begins. If we desecrate the temple, there’s nowhere to worship.

Depending where you are in temple maintenance, it can feel overwhelming to make changes.

So start with one.

Diet and exercise, along with sleep, are the key components. If your diet is a mess, start by eliminating one unhelpful item. If you never exercise, start by walking ten minutes a day. Take a friend with you. If you don’t get enough sleep, start going to bed fifteen minutes earlier a night.

Little changes can go a long way. And they can lead to bigger ones.

These days, my personal practice is one that some might view as “hard core.” I sleep nine hours a night. I don’t do sugar, caffeine, drugs or alcohol. I exercise four to six days a week – usually an hour-long walk. I eat a primarily vegan diet, though I take occasional forays off the vegan palate.

I don’t do these things so I can brag about them, though that is a fabulous side benefit!

Every aspect of my health routine is in service of my spiritual practice. I take care of the temple so that I have a clear and tranquil place to worship. I take care of the temple so that when the Divine shows up, I can recognize It.

I take care of the temple because it feels good. It makes me happy to be in my body.

photo: NeilsPhotography on flickr

photo: NeilsPhotography on flickr

It can be easy to miss the point. We’ve all met people who worship their particular way of eating or exercising.

The emphasis on the temple takes over and there’s no room for the Divine.

Keeping things in perspective goes a long way. And being gentle with ourselves when we trash the temple from time to time is helpful as well.

The last time I binged on sugar, I got really sick. I was unable to write for a few days, and that was the last straw. My writing practice is a fundamental part of how I stay consciously connected to the Divine. Sugar was getting in the way of that. So it had to go.

Whenever I am tempted to pop a little piece of sugary stuff into my mouth, I remember this incident.

And I pause.

And I am grateful.

Our bodies are incredible. The things they do for us – digest our food, eliminate waste, take in oxygen, circulate our blood – are astounding. All we have to do is be here, and our bodies are performing amazing feats, 24/7.

Why not show a little love for these incredible manifestations?

Because when we’re loving the temple, we’re loving the Divine.

photo: NRico on flickr

photo: NRico on flickr

How do you honor your body temple? How does taking care of your body allow you to be closer to the Divine? Share your comments below!

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6 Responses to The Invisible Spiritual Practice: Are You Doing It?

  1. sherry vierra May 14, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    I have not made a decision to abstain from anything but I have learned to practice moderation in all things. Just learning to listen to my body and then honoring what is obvious. It has taken several hang-overs to teach me to listen. Sometimes it’s a hangover from too much of what one might consider healthy, sometimes it’s sugar, it used to be alcohol. I appreciate the encouragement to think of my treatment of my body as a spiritual practice. Trying to remember to stay connected to my body is often a real challenge. Learning to slow down and not crowd my days with stuff will help….I’ll try to remember it is part of my spiritual practice. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Z Egloff May 14, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Sherry!

      Nice to see you here. :)

      I like your reminder about moderation. I once heard the phrase, “Moderation in all things, including moderation.” This works for me.

      The body is an often-neglected part of spiritual practice. Remembering this truth has helped me immeasurably. As you say, learning to listen to your body and honoring its needs is a huge part of staying spiritually sane.

      Thanks for stopping by. Come back again any time!

      XOZ

  2. Natasha May 14, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Hi Z:

    What a wonderful gift it was to see your blog today. Our temple! As I heal my temple I do give gratitude for the miraculous things it does everyday we are alive. I too am working on eliminating the foods that make me feel sick, i.e. sugar, flour, anything white. What I have noticed by eliminating is I do have more clarity! Knowing that these foods make me feel foggy and don’t nourish my body, I give thanks for this knowledge and taking the steps to remove them. I am healing from a left thyroid removal and really honor my body for all the work it is doing to heal right now. Not such a simple task. I take one breathe at a time, with each breathe, I feel more healing powers. I am grateful for my temple! Thank you for all that you give to our community. Thank you for all that you give to me!

    • Z Egloff May 14, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Natasha,

      Great to “see” you here!

      It sounds like you are in a real healing and cleansing phase. It sounds awesome. I’m glad that you are taking the time and the space to allow your body to heal itself.

      Our body temples really are a gift. And the better care we take of them, the more they have to give us. What an incredible journey. Thank you for being a part of it with me!

      XOZ

  3. Karen May 14, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    I’ve always been disciplined when it comes to my spiritual practices. But since encountering (you guessed it) Abraham-Hicks, I’ve become much more flexible about everything, including my approach to rendezvousing with the Divine and taking care of my bod.

    My primary spiritual practice is to be happy, and I do that by deliberately choosing good-feeling thoughts (including those of gratitude) throughout each day.

    Other than that, I eat what I enjoy, sleep like a baby, and do a little yoga every day. I also slowly ride my exercise bike while I’m on my laptop (including right now). Wow, do I rack up the miles, because I’m on this wondrous contraption a lot. :) I also putter around in the yard every day, tending my posies in the Florida sunshine.

    I take good care of myself, and I’m ever inspired by my feller, Mark, who is in the health and fitness business. But I don’t think there’s really any action journey that can hold a candle to working on our vibration — our habits of thought. When we make that our tippy-top priority, we’ll be inspired to do alll the other things that serve our bodies well, and it will feel so doggone easy.

    Thanks for another beautifully clear and thought-provoking post, Z!

    • Z Egloff May 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Tending to your posies in the Florida sunshine sounds simply marvelous. I suspect that this alone could keep you in good spirits 24/7. :)

      I agree with you that it all starts with vibration. For me, I was inspired at the very beginning of my spiritual journey to let go of certain things that weren’t working for me – especially sugar. But it all started with that instigating energy of the Divine.

      I appreciate your reminder of Abe’s work, and the ever-powerful practice of working on our vibration. What’s really cool, like you say, is that this work filters into every area of our lives, including the body.

      Thank YOU for another wonderful and thought-provoking comment! :)

      XOZ

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