Making time for a daily spiritual practice: how and why to devote your time
In theory, a daily spiritual practice of some kind sounds great. In theory, it’s a blessing in your busy day. Some time out just for you, to focus on your own spiritual growth, and to deepen your personal connection with your own divinity. Blissful.
In practice, in a busy life where it’s already a struggle to fit in competing demands on your time, a spiritual practice is often one of the first things to bite the dust. You can’t put off collecting the kids from school or meeting that work deadline, and you’d rather not put off date night with your partner either. But the spiritual practice? That can wait, right?
Yes, it could. And it’s not likely to ever be one of the most urgent demands on your time – but finding the time to fit in a daily spiritual practice brings so many rewards and benefits that you might change your mind about what to ditch and what to prioritise.
What is a Daily Spiritual Practice?
A spiritual practice is anything which you do regularly which enhances your spirituality in any way. This is personal to you, but common examples of a daily spiritual practice might include:
- Reading spiritual passages
- Tai chi
- Spiritual art
- Spiritual journaling
- Connecting with nature
… and many others.
What are the Benefits of a Daily Spiritual Practice?
The precise benefits depend on exactly what you choose to do, but in general, a daily spiritual practice appears to be good for your mental health and emotional balance. It can enhance your sense of oneness, which is proven to be of benefit to your health and wellness. It can alter your outlook on life, helping you to de-stress and to keep issues in perspective. Mediation has a host of proven health benefits, as do spiritual movement practices such as yoga and tai chi.
Less physically active practices such as journaling, dreamwork, divination and spiritual art can all boost your intuition, your imagination, and your creativity, as well as connecting you to your higher consciousness.
Whatever kind of spiritual practice you choose, the ideal is to spend a little time on it each day. With all kinds of habits in life, we know that 5-10 minutes a day, every day, tends to be more beneficial than one or two hour-long blocks a week.
If the point is to enhance your daily life, then a daily practice makes sense – and because most of these practices can be done quite quickly, you really don’t need to carve out a huge amount of time in your already busy life.
Here are some tips to help you find the time.
Firstly, a don’t. Don’t try to schedule spiritual time into your diary like you would schedule a meeting or an appointment. Unless you’re the hyper-organized type, scheduling meditation times or tai chi times is going to lead to failure, and then a sense of guilt. Everyday spirituality is supposed to enhance your daily life; it’s not supposed to be just one more thing to get stressed out about.
If you’re new to starting a daily spiritual practice, choose something which can be done in just a few minutes, say 10 minutes max. If you’re really pushed for time, try to also choose something which can be done while you’re doing something else.
For example, if you choose mindfulness as your daily practice, you can practice during many routine, mundane moments in your day – your commute, your shower, your dinner prep.
If you choose, for example, breathwork, you can do this while at your desk during a 10-minute break. Gratitude journaling can be done in moments, wherever you are. Reading a page or two of an inspirational text won’t take you longer than it takes to grab a coffee.
Create Spiritual Triggers
If you think you’re likely to forget to carry out your daily spiritual practice in these spare moments of time, think about creating triggers in your mind. These can be anything which suits you – for example, the smell of coffee, a number you see regularly, a particular sound which is often around you.
Get into the habit that whenever you see, hear or smell your trigger, you will do your two-minute spiritual practice at that moment or in the very next available moment. If your practice is something like noting a feeling of gratitude for something, you can do this many times a day, whenever your trigger occurs.
Think First Thing or Last Thing
Daily practices which take longer are often easier to fit into your day if you do them either first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. Yoga, tai chi, meditation and spiritual journaling are good examples of this.
Again, keep your practice relatively small though, unless you have a ton of spare time. Aim for 3-4 yoga poses or a ten-minute meditation or ten minutes of journaling.
Can You Create a Special Place?
If you think your daily spiritual practice will mostly take place at home, can you create a special area of your home for this? You don’t need a whole room or even a portion of a room – something as simple as a bookshelf or windowsill can serve as a home altar of sorts, which can be a focus for your spiritual practice. You’re more likely to commit to doing something regularly if you can do it somewhere which means something to you in this way.
View Spiritual Practice as Part of Life, Not an Add-on
The biggest key to incorporating a daily spiritual practice comes once you start to view your whole life from a more spiritual point of view. Spirituality is a way of life, not a set or exercises to be ticked off.
If you can make it a habit in your life to practice gratitude, mindfulness, kindness, intuition and so forth, then you will already be carrying out a number of daily spiritual practices without even trying. They will be incorporated into your day and will become natural behaviour for you – so much so that you’ll soon start to wonder why you ever thought you wouldn’t have the time.