Developing a daily spiritual practice is vital for our wellness. See how you can use the nine essential elements to create your own balanced plan.
The ongoing worldwide pandemic requires the development of new health practices. We need to incorporate all nine elements to achieve the right balance. Climate change and political upheaval add to the complexity, but we can achieve balance if we strive to find the proper mix of ingredients.
We’ve put together some ideas to help you create your own plan. These are elements you can integrate into your daily routine. Some take no time at all.
Daily Spiritual Practice Ideas
For some people, even the necessities of life are hard to maintain. We’ll discuss some of these obstacles, social inequities, and disparities that affect our lives. They make it challenging to create a healthy, holistic approach to life.
There is a lot of talk about human, and countries, like the U.S., promote the idea that everyone has the right to pursue happiness. However, this right is restricted by your race and socioeconomic status. You can only seek the happiness you can afford and only if you have the right gender and race. Those at the high end of the scale can pursue many avenues of happiness. At the low end of the scale, you find those living week to week and struggling to survive.
Developing a Daily Spiritual Practice
If balancing our path was easy, everyone would do it. The body and consciousness are complex and delicate instruments. The body is a machine designed for the study of reality. As your practice evolves, you will need to refine and adjust depending on your results. Keep your plan flexible. Don’t be afraid to change it accordingly to yield the best experiential results.
The key to developing a daily spiritual practice starts with identifying the obstacles. Some of these obstacles may be part of our environment and culture. This makes it hard to find workable solutions. But many of the roadblocks are things we can address by re-prioritizing and making some small changes to our habits.
Our culture is performance based. We are measured on our return on investment. The culture wants you to be busy all the time. The idea is, the more you work, the more value you create for those in charge of the culture. So, we need to learn how to carve out time for ourselves.
Nine Essential Elements of a Healthy Spiritual Practice
It’s not a surprise that our spiritual lifestyle and wellness are connected. Everyone will have a unique mix of the primary elements. We may share the same ingredients of a spiritual path, but we each have different needs. Which elements you need and which ones are available depends on several factors.
The first six of the nine listed below are the foundation elements. To these we add three which focus on the mind-body connection. Physical exercise is part of the basic foundation, and we add the exercise of the mind. Developing a daily spiritual practice is a matter of priorities. Everyone has different priorities.
1) Clean Air
2) Clean Water
3) Adequate Sunshine
4) Proper Diet
6) Exercise Tailored to you focusing on durability
7) Seated Meditation
8) Moving Meditation
9) Analytical and intellectual training of the mind
Above all, we must tailor these elements to meet our unique needs. One size does not fit all. How much of each and the level depends on a variety of factors. It involves your age, experience, lifestyle, time available, resources, environment, and general health.
It’s best to include all nine to some degree. Leaving out one or more will have a detrimental impact on your health. We know this because humans are designed to operate in the environment of planet Earth. Balancing your life is balancing your physical and spiritual health and wellness.
Think of these nine essential elements like the ingredients for baking a cake. These daily spiritual practice ideas will help you develop your own recipe. That way, your plan will be something delicious you look forward to.
Overcoming Inequities with Water, Air, and Sunshine
Clean water and air are not always available. Unhealthy societies allow industry to pollute the environment. Clean water, air, and sunshine are three of the nine essential elements are the hardest for the individual to control. You may need to bring fresh water with you. Wearing a mask and hat help with UV sun exposure. A mask can help reduce some of the larger particulates.
People often live near work. It is a necessity of life that can put them directly in harm’s way of environmental toxins. So, it’s essential to assess your situation and institute the appropriate remedies that you can find. Bottled water is a way of life for many people, and we are not talking about third-world countries. There are communities in the U.S. where the water is unsafe.
Air pollution is a growing concern. Some gains we achieved by legislation in the 1970s have been reversed. When profits are more important than the environment, we all suffer.
Many people suffer from “seasonal affective disorder.” When you don’t get enough exposure to sunlight, it causes problems with your internal clock. The results are depression and fatigue. We’ve found that sunlamps don’t work as an effective treatment. They can actually worsen symptoms.
Studies at the Mayo clinic (1) show the most effective treatment is combining psychotherapy, medication, and in some cases, a special Lightbox. Psychotherapy helps identify triggers and develop healthy coping skills, while medications ease some physical effects. And, a special Lightbox can be helpful as a substitute. The best is to view natural sunlight. You don’t have to be outside, but you need “to see it.”
Some parts of the world experience “polar nights” (2), where darkness lasts 24 hours. The closer to the north or south poles, the less sunlight you will have during the winter. We can only do what we can afford to do within our sphere of influence.
Obstacles to Proper Diet and Sleep
Finding the right diet and exercise programs are two of the most difficult elements. This is because you need to change your plans to account for injury and aging. We all have different needs, but there is one common formula. Our caloric intake needs to be in balance with the calories we burn to maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than you use. This is hard.
Learning to work within your calorie budget is the key, but it’s not easy. Diet is more than half the equation for weight loss. We’d say it’s more like 80% of the formula. If you can eat within your budget, you can lose and maintain a healthy weight. Learn to track your calorie intake. Of all the daily spiritual ideas, this one will pay off immediately. There are many smartphone applications for tracking calories and exercise. This can really help you see how you need to change your diet to fit the amount of calories you need.
As far as exercise is concerned, we recommend an exercise routine right for you that combines all the elements of strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular training. The focus should be on becoming more durable. We see durability as the ultimate health goal.
Our exercise routine is separate from our practice of moving meditation. But, you choose the best way to organize your training. We include martial arts and physically oriented Yoga Asana as a form of moving meditation. Adding as many physical exercise forms will improve your ability with many spiritual technologies. This practice increases mind-body integration.
You are looking at one of the biggest obstacles to good sleep. It’s a computer or mobile device screen. The blue light from computer screens tells your brain it’s daytime. So, even though it may be nighttime, the body doesn’t release the hormone melatonin. This is off-switch for the mind.
Stop using TVs, computers, and mobile devices at least 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. Read an old-fashioned book instead. You’ll get to sleep faster and have a more restful night’s sleep.
Obstacles to Critical Thinking
Beliefs and expectations are the most common obstacles to our spiritual and intellectual development. Don’t allow your opinions to be a barrier to your development. The focus should be on learning to think and analyze rather than memorizing data. One of the most important daily spiritual practice ideas is to include an activity which enhances critical thinking.
Obstacles to Meditation
In many places, there are few social barriers to the practice of meditation. Some exceptions again relate to religious objections and beliefs.
We don’t recommend using psychotropic compounds to achieve non-ordinary states of reality. It’s a path for an experienced spiritual explorer. Psychotropic compounds are unpredictable in strength and purity. Use them only under the supervision of a qualified guide.
The Ingredients for Developing a Daily Spiritual Practice
Always look for tools, processes, and methods, not belief systems or becoming a follower. Find a teacher or source that can show you how to open your spiritual gifts. It can be confusing because there are several people and organizations that use the right language but then use the classic bait-and-switch tactics. Here are some things to watch out for:
They have free stuff, but the quality things that will help you are secret. You can only get access if you buy a membership, an expensive membership. It’s the favorite of organizations that have become known as cults like Scientology, LifeSpring, and EST.
Other organizations offer legitimate awareness training, consciousness exploration, and self-development tools at reasonable or no cost. We group these kinds of tools in four categories, and those that don’t require personal instruction you can find for free here in articles on our website. There are some technologies best learned by individual instruction. Martial arts and some advanced meditation techniques like the Siddhis can be learned via virtual learning if necessary. As the pandemic stretches into the future virtual learning is becoming a standard practice.
Here are the four major tool groups with links to get you started.
We recommend a plan that these daily spiritual practice ideas to create your own plan. Put your plan in writing because it will increase the likelihood you will be successful. However, if we focus on them as ingredients, we can adjust them to fit our use. This approach aligns with the pattern Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. (3)
Balancing your path is something that will speed up your development. Since we are continually changing, you will need to make adjustments in your practice to compensate.
Despite all the advances of technology, it is becoming harder and harder to achieve a healthy balance in our lives. These ideas will help you create a strategy to find the best ways to get as close as possible to the ideal. Don’t wait. Start developing a daily spiritual practice. You’ll be glad you did.
(1) Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722
(2) Polar Nights, wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_latitude
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia