Meditation, healing practices, silence and stillness, being in nature are all efficiency engines. When we give ourselves quality attention and replenish our body, mind and soul we’re happier, lighter, clearer and sharper. After including spiritual practices, we approach everything else in our day with calmness, nonattachment, and contentment.
As a result whatever the day holds doesn’t seem insurmountable, and when we’re in the thick of it, because there’s a foundation of peace and clarity, we operate at greater efficiency and often produce more in less time. It also gives us a healthy perspective that ‘producing more,’ or ‘doing’ at the cost of being aren’t what culture and society have elevated these to be; that they can be harmful and counterproductive.
The basic truth is that spiritual practices make us leaner and freer so we can go about our days in spaciousness and without pressure.
Yet the clock is a reality. It’s not a big reality, but it’s there. In making time for our spiritual life some ideas from standard time management can helpful.
- Track activities: Keep a log for 3 or 7 days of ALL activities, however small. Learn where time goes.
- Identify time-wasters or useless distractions: Be honest when reviewing this log.
- Change behaviors: Say no to nonessentials. Only continue activities from the log that have real value.
While there may be 24 hours of clock time and it may seem rigid, there are ways to create time as well. Friterring time away makes less of it available, and we certainly do that. If we can ‘lose’ time, we can also ‘create’ it.
All of this is ultimately connected to our values and how we want to live. If our values are clear and strong, and we know them clearly, then there isn’t even a question of finding the time to meditate. We just meditate.
You have to make room in your heart and in your life for the things that matter. It is not enough to dream. The dreaming comes easy. You have to do things. You have to make choices.
— Jamie Tworkowski
There are many recent studies that show meditation’s effectiveness in developing concentration and mental clarity, elevating mood, removing stress, and energizing the human organism. Meditation helps us listen and relate better. It opens up the mind to creative solutions and frees us from mental ruts.
Meditation is not the only spiritual practice there is. The mental and physical states seen in meditation are very similar to what other spiritual practices encourage as well.
Without stress, we simply function better. With concentration and clarity daily tasks and work projects could take less time. We may also enjoy them more. If we’re calm and listen well, it will probably improve work and family relationships.
Spiritual practices are to be single-tasked. There’s some debate as to whether multi-tasking is really even productive in a workday, but it happens and can come in handy. When it comes to our quiet time however, it must be single-focused. This is the only way that the precious gifts and benefits of spiritual ‘time’ can positively impact our lives.
It’s called ‘practice’ because all of us are in process with spirituality. There isn’t a culmination point with spirituality anyhow, and essentially we’re all babies on the path. So we have to practice. This bears results, not that we’re practicing for results.
We practice to uncover the natural spirituality we carry inside us and let it flow into our entire life, into its every detail.
Practice itself has some defaults. Single-tasking it is probably the most important. What this means is that we have a solid routine for the duration of at least 20 minutes, once or twice a day. It doesn’t matter if this is meditation, prayer, self-healing or a form of spiritual movement.
These 20 minutes periods are regular, everyday is best, or 75% of a seven day week. With this foundation, other choices are become available. Need extra sleep one morning? Skip. Add extra time in the evening or note it missed and restart the next day. Traveling somewhere special and want to use all your time sightseeing? Again, skip or reduce the time. The same applies when we’re sick.
The point is that with a solid and regular practice under our belt, we’re able to move through these times gracefully. There’s also continuity, in the sense that the day is dotted with moments where we’re able to activate a practice. These spot practices are effective and helpful, but usually only when we have a strong routine at home.
The other factor to consider is that just as we may need to skip sometimes (as long as this doesn’t become a too-easy excuse), we can be on the lookout for longer stretches to deepen our practices. There may be a 2-hour window on a weekend, an opportunity to go on retreat somewhere beautiful, or practice silence on a day off.
Nature also provides sanctuary, one that we don’t utilize enough.
How you slice up your time also reflects how you identify yourself.
— Iris Sangiuliano
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