The art of practicing spirituality
Lee Sin Toh felt a love for astrology and trance channeling ever since he was in his early teens. Toh began exploring spirituality more formally in his early 20s just before he was about to graduate and begin his working life. He began briefly with Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism, and then spent quite some time in Zen, before spending even more time in New Age Spirituality. Currently in his late 40s, Toh has been on the spiritual path for about 25 years now. His day job is organizing the HMB (Heart, MInd, Body) Festival. For more details, click here.
I stumbled upon this piece written by Lee on Facebook. And as is with the Universe, I read this piece as an answer to my struggle to explain the importance of having some kind of faith and practice of faith to replace fear. ‘The art of practicing spirituality’ is a beautiful perspective that I hope will help you choose faith over fear.
As long as we have a spiritual practice, particularly if it is as simple as chanting a mantra or repeating an affirmation, we shall find that even unfortunate or unpleasant situations are not to be feared but can instead also be opportunities for spiritual practice.
This is because, first and foremost, it doesn’t matter whether we are sitting, walking, running, or even driving, whether we are cleaning toilets or sweeping floors, or whether we are in a pleasant or an unpleasant situation, we can always (either verbally or silently) chant a mantra or repeat an affirmation – or even practice being heartful, mindful, or truthful, or learn to become more self-empowered by asking not only “what do I think” but also “what do I feel”, and not just in our heart but also in our gut and our hara, and even in our other chakras if we so choose.
As we explore and experiment with different practices, we also get to experience and enjoy different kinds of awareness as well as some measure of our own multidimensionality. For instance, when we are in our head and doing a mathematical calculation, we go into contracted awareness. When we are centered in our hara (or lower dantian) and being an observer, we go into expanded awareness. When through our third eye we are perceiving the equality, universality and oneness of all things, we go into pure and absolute awareness and become a witnessing, loving presence – especially when our heart is also open.
It is not difficult to move beyond contracted awareness and experience these other more expansive kinds of awareness (and subtler versions of ourselves) as many of us are already doing so every now and then – although usually unknowingly. Thus the challenge is in becoming aware of them and the even greater challenge is in mastering them, and that is where spiritual practices can really come in handy.
Second, difficult times are oftentimes more conducive for spiritual practice because we tend to become too besotted with our physical reality (and also become haughty) when the going is good and will pay more attention to the spiritual (and have more empathy) only when the going gets tough.
Third, negative or traumatic experiences are sometimes necessary in order to help trigger and bring up old (or past life) issues and emotions for processing, releasing and healing. Or they could be here just to help us learn new lessons and bring our spiritual practice to another level.
And fourth, challenges and crises are indispensable if we are to test the efficacy of any particular method or modality in helping us solve our problems, be they internal or external, worldly or unworldly, real or imagined.
As dedicated spiritual practitioners, our main abundance is in having opportunities for spiritual practice and given that all situations – both good and bad – are good situations for spiritual practice, we are thus always abundant just by virtue of being here on this earth plane.
We therefore can really find no excuses for not being spiritual – and being spiritual here does not mean becoming a saint but simply being conscientious with our spiritual practice.
It usually takes a while before we are able to find a spiritual practice that works for us, and it is alright to adopt or try out a different practice at a different time, or change our spiritual practice as we evolve, but it is extremely vital that we must have at least a spiritual practice at any one time.
Whatever our choice, it will be a tremendous help to take up a practice that we not only resonate with but also enjoy, or are capable of enjoying, so that our spiritual practice is not just work but also play, and does not become a chore but an activity we look forward to everyday. Given that our soul is at a higher and lighter vibration, being lighthearted will also greatly improve our chance of matching its vibration and meeting it.
We can learn from others or we can experiment and create-innovate our own, but we cannot be said to be on a spiritual path if we do not even have any spiritual practice or practices.