Practical Spirituality

Practical Spirituality


The Best Spiritual Practice: Does Practice Really Make Perfect?

posted by Jonathan Ellerby

It seems almost silly to have to say it, but to improve at anything practice is almost always essential. Right? Even if you want to get good at doing nothing, you still need to do a lot of it! Most people know that if you want to be physically fit, you need regular exercise. If you want a university degree, you’ll need to study and apply yourself. If you want to be an excellent musician, actor, doctor, parent, friend, boss, or carpenter, you have to be prepared for a process of trial and error, constant intention, and practice, practice, practice.

Why then do people not realize that this same rule applies to our spiritual life? These days I find that many people expect spiritual growth to come ease. Of course, I am more than happy to recommend my new book or my new CD set to help people on their spiritual journey -but, I’d be deceiving you and myself if I thought that one book, one CD program, or even an article or blog could change a person completely and forever. Could it make an impact? Yes. Could it make a change completely and forever? Not likely, you need to practice what you’ve learned for that to happen.

Did you ever notice how people who do yoga or meditation or even prayer on a regular basis call it a ‘practice’? That’s because they know that while each individual session has power, a long series of individual sessions add up to more than the sum of the parts. We have ‘a practice’ because in the moment we are experiencing it, it teaches us and gives us an experience of peace and connection. We also know that the real work happens when you get up and head into your day – that is when you practice what you learned in your practice! That’s why we need to go back to the practice again and again. Athletes have the off-season to practice; that is their time out. Happy, balanced, loving people have a spiritual practice, and that is their time out from the busy demands of life.

Remember, spirituality is an experience – not just an idea or a belief. It is not enough to have the right concept, you have to be able to live it. That is spiritual growth. It’s a way of being, and that requires a practice. A practice is a regular activity that helps you connect with your highest intentions: inner peace, compassion, a feeling of interconnectedness, joy, pure consciousness, or union with God. It could be prayer, going to church, meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, singing in a choir, walking in nature, helping others, going on retreat or studying with a master. In my book Return to the Sacred, I highlight and explain twelve practices that seem to be universal to all cultures throughout time.

This is where lots of people get confused. ‘How do I pick a practice? What if I don’t like my religion of origin? What if my friends all love yoga and I hate it, what is wrong with me?’ The best spiritual practice is the one that works for you. The foundation of my CD set ‘Your Spiritual Personality’ is the idea that we all have different spiritual personalities. The same way some people love to read and others love to run; some love chocolate and some love vanilla; not every practice is for everyone. What matters is that you pick something that makes a difference for you, and stick with it! In time, a spiritual practice will not make you perfect, but it will give you the wisdom and grace to manage all that life presents.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Practical Spirituality. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy:  Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!!

posted 5:00:24pm Jul. 05, 2012 | read full post »

Gaga For My Guru
Ok, so to begin, I am not a big fan of TV or pop culture in general, and while I think everything has its place in the world, I wasn’t overly interested in Lady Gaga a week ago. I certainly knew who she was and of course lots of her songs are catchy – but a “meat suit” – really??? It just

posted 9:35:42am Apr. 19, 2011 | read full post »

Does God Have a Name?
We were on the road to Malinalco, Mexico, when we came upon clusters of people of all ages walking along the highway. It was surprising and mysterious to me. As we passed families, groups, and individuals, I felt as if I were looking through the car window into a world I couldn't begin to comprehend

posted 10:57:08pm Dec. 30, 2010 | read full post »

Go Beyond Fear
Approach the world of spiritual practice with trust and an open heart. Don't be afraid of spiritual experiences. Strange sensations of energy, a feeling of deep love, vulnerability, connectedness, and a loss of ego and control are all aspects of spiritual experience that test and try people's limits

posted 2:32:37pm Dec. 22, 2010 | read full post »

A Thanksgiving Gift
For the American reader, Thanksgiving is fast approaching. Regardless of the cloudy history of this celebration, it has come to mean a time of family, food and discount shopping - not always in that order. Naturally, it's all to be sprinkled with a dose of gratitude and reflection. Before&

posted 9:19:10am Nov. 24, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.