August 8, 2018 — 9:25 AM
I've received messages from clients all over the world saying that they'd rather keep their spiritual life separate from their everyday life because the idea of combining the two feels completely overwhelming. I totally get it. It seems strange to think that every little mundane thing we do can be a path to spiritual expansion.
I mean, can you really be a "woke" person and still go to work every day? Can being stuck in traffic or going to the dentist be a soul-enriching practice? Yes. When approached in the right way, nearly everything we do can be a spiritual practice. There is absolutely no need to separate the spiritual from the everyday.
And not only can you integrate spirituality into these activities, you must. Because if you’re only spiritual for 15 minutes during your meditation, you’re not really doing the work. Here's your primer to "spiritualizing" different aspects of your routine:
Until I started on my spiritual path, I remember feeling like each sexual encounter was like a dark cloud of shame that would stay with me for weeks, sometimes months—and one time for over a year. But then I started actively noticing the negative stories I had told myself about sex and everything changed.
A simple practice that can help you change your narrative around sex is to bring awareness to your sexual organs, and repeat this mantra in your mind: "I release shame and guilt." And if you find yourself exploring your sexuality outside of what you initially thought was "OK," don’t judge yourself—make a conscious choice and go for it. Always ask yourself, "Does this act lead to healing?" or "Does it keep me stuck?" and keep this mantra with you: "Good sex is healing."
This part can be tricky—but it starts by introducing new topics during conversation, opening that door to get to know your friend's stories on a deeper level. Challenge yourself to ask people questions they wouldn't otherwise hear. What are you excited about? When was the last time you cried? What's the dream?
At the same time, start to notice how being around certain people makes you feel. Do they make the quality of your thoughts become sticky and confused? If so, then you need to slowly spray that spiritual Clorox, so to speak, and spend more time with the people who make you feel lighter. Trust your gut here.
Here's a simple spiritual exercise: Try to notice the stories of comparison and competition playing out in your mind as you scroll through social media—and let it guide who you follow. Anyone who triggers jealousy has got to go! And as for a shortcut for finding people on social media who support you, try to commit to sharing your authentic feelings, good or bad, and what you’re excited about, at least once a week. That way, at least you'll know that the people who like and comment are reacting to the real you.
This one seems to be the hardest for spiritual seekers. But ultimately, money is just another exchange of energy. There is nothing wrong with asking for what you are worth (plus tax!). Instead of approaching money with feelings of guilt or fear, try approaching it with gratitude and generosity. Try this to get started: The next time you receive your paycheck, commit to taking a moment of gratitude. Allow yourself to feel it through your whole body and repeat the mantra, "I’m worthy of having an abundance of money." And remember, a great way to attract the flow of money is to share yours often.
Choosing how you present yourself in the world is definitely a spiritual practice. If you look at all the revered deities, they each have a distinct flavor to their style. Wear clothes that embody your authenticity. Spiritualize your closet, starting by getting rid of everything that you keep saying, "I’m gonna wear this when..." but you never do. Ditch everything that reminds you of past negativity or keeps you feeling stuck.
I found this one really hard: I grew up in Brazil eating ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread and chocolate milk for breakfast and meat for lunch and dinner. To go from that all way to a whole-foods-, plant-based lifestyle took years. Food is so closely tied to culture and identity that people sometimes feel nervous about shifting their relationship to what they consume. But consciously choosing what to put in your body can be so healing—as long as you don't guilt yourself if you don't end up eating the way you'd like for a meal. Just take a moment to look over what you’re about to eat and express gratitude, whatever it's for.
You don’t have to be a yoga teacher or work for an NGO to spiritualize your job. Before you read on, please promise yourself that you won’t be mean to yourself if you’re guilty of more than one of the following: Do you take part in office gossip? Do you make passive-aggressive comments? Do you eat lunch at your desk and stay inside all day?
The first step is to notice that these things happen, and then take little steps to make work a more positive experience in whatever ways we can. Taking walks outside, taking a few minutes to meditate when you feel things getting too heated, and doing your best to stay positive with others are all great places to start.
So how do we know if we’re succeeding in spiritualizing our lives? We feel lighter and things are more at ease. Our speech becomes gentler and a little more inspired. Negativity doesn’t have the same hold on us as it used to, and we start to make decisions for the benefit of others.
These four quick rituals will help you slow down long enough to tap into your spiritual side each day.