I remember when I first considered meditating. I was stressed and overwhelmed. I had just launched my business, and life as an entrepreneur was more challenging than I had anticipated.
While I knew I had to change something for my health and sanity, the idea of making my mind go blank and sitting cross-legged on a cushion for an hour intrigued me, but seemed unbearable.
Heck, even trying to find two minutes in my day to do some deep breathing exercises felt weird and impossible to squeeze in.
Yet, I kept hearing more and more about the benefits of a spiritual practice. But, I had a lot preconceived notions of what spiritual practices were supposed to look like. I was letting these crazy perceptions stop me from reaping the benefits.
Then, I started to notice more subtle things about my yoga teachers and spiritual friends: their ease and smiles. And I liked the vibe they emanated. I wanted to have more of that peace and positivity in my life too. Yet, I still wasn’t’ sure where to start or how to make the time.
Through my curious questioning and kind conversations, I discovered that a spiritual practice doesn’t have to be rigid or overly structured (unless, of course, you like structure). In fact, we can make our practice effortless and simple enough to weave it into our busy day.
After two years of contemplating how to create some me-time, a free 21-day meditation course landed in my inbox. Something inside of me said, “Yes I am ready!”
This course gave me bite-sized meditations and spiritual teachings that made it easy to incorporate into my day. I learned that I could easily start my day with meditation and that it didn’t require any special tools or cushions.
I got up earlier in the morning, before everyone else, and began to get quiet, listen, and savour this time with myself.
Something shifted in me during this experience. I felt happier, calmer, and more peaceful throughout the day.
While I began with meditation, there are many spiritual practices out there to consider, ranging from drumming to being creative with adult colouring books. When we let our soul guide us rather than making choices with our mind, our practice unfolds more fluidly.
Whatever you choose to begin with, here are five tips to create your spiritual practice—even if you are a busy entrepreneur, like me:
1. Let Go of the Idea of How it Should Be
The first important step is letting go of expectations. Often times we stand in our own way by telling ourselves that we cannot do a particular practice because we don’t have the right tools or that we simply don’t know how to do it. It is like we expect to do it perfectly from the beginning.
Remember that Olympic athletes didn’t start off doing flawless flips and jumps on the ski hills on their first attempt. They began simply skiing. Then they progressed and got better with practice.
2. Just Get Started
When we begin to try something, wherever we are, with whatever we’ve got, it starts to build momentum. It just takes that first push.
Think of trying to push a car along a road: It takes great effort to get started, but once you get it moving, it’s easier to push it along.
The same applies to our spiritual practice: Take that first step to begin despite of how impossible it may seem.
3. Be Prepared for Success
A little preparation goes a long way. The easier we make it to begin our practice, the more likely we are to succeed at it.
If we intend to start doing yoga at 5 a.m. as a spiritual practice, then having our yoga clothes and mat out of the closet, set-up, and ready for the morning removes barriers to success.
If we have to fumble around in the dark looking for things, then we worry about waking up others in our home, and that gives us the perfect excuse for why we can’t do it.
4. Repeat to Create the Habit
Repetition is how we train our subconscious and create lasting habits. For instance, creating a routine of consistently getting up at 6 a.m. builds new neural pathways in the brain.
This helps to develop an “auto pilot” spiritual practice. We do it effortlessly and without question.
I mean, we don’t ask ourselves, “Do I need to brush my teeth today?” We do it without hesitation, as part of our daily routine, and out of habit.
5. Eliminate the Time Excuse
The most common excuse for not beginning a spiritual practice is not having enough time. This was my excuse for years, and it is the same story I hear from stressed-out colleagues.
The truth is, we have enough time for whatever we believe is a priority in our life. In fact, a friend once told me that the busy days where we feel like we don’t have enough time to meditate are the days where we need it the most.
When we choose to make ourselves a priority in our life we are better able to take on life’s challenges.
My spiritual practice has changed my life.
I feel more grounded, less stressed in my business, happier in my relationships, and my intuition has exploded too.
I know that the time I’ve invested in my spiritual practice has saved me time in other areas of my life. Solutions to problems come intuitively. I speak and act with more care rather than reacting with frustration, saving me time from having to fix bad decisions or clean things up in my relationships.
My practice brings more ease into my life.
A spiritual practice is simple to create and anyone can begin with no cost, even you.
Author: Jennifer Lyall
Image: Author’s Own; Unsplash/Brook Cagle
Editor: Travis May