Taking time out for our spiritual growth often becomes a low priority amidst the noise and busy-ness of our daily lives. Since inner growth can neither be measured nor are the results immediately seen, everyday activities and preoccupations crowd out the highly important time for our spiritual pursuits.
If you are a spiritual seeker, genuinely trying to learn and grow in life, what daily habits can you cultivate to bring peace and balance in your life?
Your Most Important Daily Appointment: ‘Quiet Me’ Time
On a daily basis, it’s important to make an appointment with yourself. I call it my ‘quiet me’ time. This is time to sit in quiet solitude connecting with your inner self.
The purpose of this ‘quiet me’ time is to:
- Bring peace and uplift the mind
- Reflect on your life
Read, Reflect and Introspect
Read: The mind which is full of worldly cares, concerns and knowledge has to be turned in a different direction. It has to be turned inwards. During this time, read something inspiring and spiritually elevating.
You don’t have to read a lot, just one sentence or saying, a paragraph or a page or two. The idea is to take those thoughts and reflect on them. Reflecting on what you read is to churn it over and over in your mind , and then shine those ideas on your own life.
For example, here’s a simple, yet powerful sentence: An attentive mind avoids the mindless repetition of negative thoughts and becomes free from their hold— Swami Tejomayananda
Reflection: Having read this sentence, you could ask yourself,” Am I repeating negative thoughts?” “What am I saying to myself that limits me or does not serve me?” “What can I affirm instead?” “How can I be more vigilant of my negative thinking?”
Introspection: When you start reflecting on the wisdom of the words into your own life, you will naturally become introspective. You will become aware of your own shortcomings, patterns and choices in life.
Once an awareness comes, it’s only natural to want to change for the better. I’ve noticed that when I sincerely and genuinely resolve to change, solutions and strategies come effortlessly in my mind. What’s more, I am supported in my life by a benevolent and divine universe.
Prayer, Forgiveness and Gratitude
Reading, reflection and introspection quiets the mind and readies it for prayer.
Prayer is an invocation, a mental attunement and a loving surrender to God or the divine.
At the altar of prayer, you drop your ego and selfishness and ask, not for worldly things but for greater peace and love in your heart. My Guru, Swami Chinmayananda advised us to sincerely pray to God, and not to ‘prey’ upon God, begging for favors, striking up ‘deals’ where we beg for a lot and promise to give back some paltry thing.
He taught that the best prayer is to ask for more and more love to love God who could be any form of the divine that you resonate with.
When love for the divine is kindled within us, we begin to see the divine in all things and beings around. This is the essence of spirituality and religion— to live seeing the one divine source or God in all.
Forgiveness: When you become aware of lapses in your behaviour or attitudes during self-introspection, you may feel that you would like to ask for forgiveness. A sincere prayer for forgiveness brings great inner peace and release.
Gratitude: When you have read, reflected, introspected, prayed and asked for forgiveness, a natural wellspring of gratitude bubbles to the surface. Counting your blessings and being grateful brings you joy, and attracts even greater blessings into your life.
Now, when the mind is uplifted and made quiet, it becomes easier to meditate. Sit quietly, keeping your body very still. Focus on your breathing. Allow your thoughts to pass quietly through your mind, trying your best to not get involved in them. Stay in this peace for as long as you can. You can end your practice by bringing your attention to your heart center and filling it with a sense of love and gratitude. Mentally ask for guidance as you surrender your day to the divine.
Work Your Daily Routine Around Your ‘Quiet Me’ Time
The best time to sit quietly by yourself is whenever your mind is the quietest. It could be first thing in the morning or late at night. Decide what time works for you and then stick to it.
I would suggest you work your daily routine around it, instead of working it into your daily routine. That way, it will be a priority in your mind. It will be the most important appointment in your day.
Having spent time in quiet solitude helps you to meet your daily life with a peaceful mind. With a peaceful mind, your daily interactions and life will become harmonious and loving.
If you are a Conscious Evolver, sincerely striving to learn and grow in life, your ‘quiet me’ time will bring you great inner growth and fulfillment. Try it for a month and experience the results for yourself.
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