An Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring at the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there.” – Rumi
A spiritual practice is defined as an endeavor that one undertakes regularly in order to connect with the deeper meaning of life. Though meditation and prayer are the most common forms, one can do many other practices. I will list here some samples of practices and invite you to try them out. Many have cautioned me against too quickly jumping from one to another and never finding depth – so I just put out that caution to you as well. But, my own experience is that I seem to like a variety to draw upon. I do dedicate myself to a more or less daily practice. But, the practice sometimes varies! You can tell if it’s “working” if it’s something you actually enjoy doing and look forward to. If any practice becomes a “duty”, it is not likely serving you well. I will post a rotating variety for you to sample from – so check back as the list will change!
You do not have to be an artist to draw mindfully and find peace in the practice! You are not so much trying to produce a picture as to ENJOY the process of drawing for its own sake. A simple way to begin is to select a natural object that is not too complex – a twig, a simple seashell, a feather, an acorn, a leaf. Begin by looking at the object very closely and breathing slowly. See how much you can notice about it. Where does it turn, where are the holes, where is the widest part etc. Then. looking only at the object, not your paper – put your pen on the paper and slowly begin to draw WITHOUT LOOKING AT YOUR PAPER. If you run off the paper, look just long enough to get your pen back on the paper. When you’re done, look at the drawing. Of course, it will hardly look anything like the object – but, this “blind contour drawing” does sometimes have an uncanny sort of life to it. Maybe this is all you do. Or maybe you try it again. On maybe you then try drawing VERY slowly this time looking back and forth between the object and your paper.
You can keep a sketch book of these daily drawings. Date each one. Maybe write a sentence or two about the practice. Someone I know of titles her sketchbook “The miraculousness of the mundane”. She sketches mundane objects each day – a salt shaker, a pillow, a box of cookies etc.
Remember that the idea is to do something small but regularly. And, it should be relaxing and enjoyable!
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