I ended yesterday’s post with a metaphor of needing to swim daily in the river in order to be able to swim around the flotsam and jetsam that are also in the river. Of course, I was writing about spiritual practices and not actual swimming, although some will tell me that swimming is part of their spiritual practice.
What spiritual practice do you use in your daily life to help you remain centered and aligned with your core self? What spiritual practice do you attend to daily to keep you alert and aware to the stream of well-being that I suggest is the undercurrent of all things? How do we connect to that mystery that is unfolding and leading us forward on this journey?
The Buddhists practice zazen. A form of sitting meditation where they clear their minds of the rampant thoughts and seek to become aware of their present moment. To be fully present to the now is a powerful experience. It is a means to then be more fully alert to the events of the day. There is also the walking meditation where the person consciously and deliberately attends to each breath and each movement of the body as they walk. This again is a means to become more fully alert and aware of the present moment. There are two blogs that I have linked to that are Buddhist centered; Monkey Mind by my dear friend and colleague Zen Master Rev. James Ishmael Ford and Wildfoxzen by Zen Master Dosho Port.
Christians practice prayer. There are many forms of prayer. There are supplication prayers where a person asks for help and guidance. There is intercessory prayer where a person seeks on behalf of another. There are prayers of praise where the person expresses their gratefulness and thanksgiving to the wonders and love of life. There is also centering prayer which is probably the closest to zazen where the person quiets the mind while using a pre-chosen phrase to focus on. There are also prescribed prayers such as the Jesus Prayer or the prayer of Jabez or praying the rosary. These prayers assist the person to focus beyond themselves and their current strife. The act of repeating over and over again the same words enables the person to transcend their present state and connect to their core self.
Muslims have designated times, five times a day, where they pause and pray to Allah. This is an act of worship and is most central to the life of a Muslim. There are prescribed prayers that they recite. The act of designated times connects all of the Muslims together. It enables them to see themselves as connected to a larger whole, to a larger purpose than just their individual lives. This prayer is also an embodied prayer in that there are different postures with different prayers that one does while praying.
Pagans use rituals to maintain their connections to spirit. They symbolically see the elements of nature as having characteristics that they would want to be balanced in their lives. So they may focus on the four directions; north, east,south, west; and the four elements; air, fire, earth, water to help remind them of these characteristics.
There are other practices that one may take. I also incorporate nature hikes where I consciously take note of the beauty of the world around me. I notice the blooms, the song of the birds, the evidence of an abundant life around me. And give appreciation to the universe for all these wonderful creations around me. Others journal, write poetry, sing, dance as ways of reflecting, connecting, and being in this world. Blessings abound, Rev. Fred L Hammond