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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