Explore Spiritual Practices of all types right here. Some of these have videos and links, while others provide step-by-step guidance to enhance your private or public ways of connecting with the sacred. Feel free to create your own ways for connection and reflection.
Creating Sacred Space and Spiritual Practices
Three essentials for creating sacred space
1. Know how, when and where you experience the Sacred
2. Commit to a regular time, frequency is individual, consistency is key
3. Incorporate your desired rituals and tools
How, When, Where
What is your learning style or spiritual type? Maybe this a new question. Here are few ways to begin exploring your own personality and type which will help you create sacred spaces and begin spiritual practices. Can you locate yourself in any of these four descriptions?
Sensate - music, incense and/or candles, singing bowls, public or private nature setting, chapel, praise worship, etc…
lntuitional - inspirational reading, devotional scripture, guided meditations, centering prayer, public and private, candles, imagery, labyrinth
Mystical - music, meditation, contemplative, private, Sacred words, sensate and intuitional experience, imagery, Labyrinth.
Experiential- Charismatic, public or private, felt experience
Maybe one, a few, or all of these apply to you in some way. The purpose is to identify a type or style to help you participate in selecting items, actions, or locations for creating sacred space and engaging in spiritual practices.
Tools of the Trade
Daily, weekly, monthly varies with individual. Type of practice may vary according to day, individual, or situations.
Monthly a retreat, daily a devotional, semi-annual retreat... . Consistent practice of seeking sacred time and space to be with and experience your God is needed. . Explore unfamiliar practices to keep the practice vigorous.
Explore new methods of prayer or spiritual practice individually and with others.
Mindfulness Meditation as a Spiritual Practice
Mindfulness Meditation is a spiritual practice just as other forms of meditation and exploration are. Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the most well-known proponents of Mindfulness describes it this way: “Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.”
Mindfulness is about discovering the sacred in the present moment and letting go of the past and worries about the future. THich Nhat Hanh, well-known Buddhist monk that “the present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” The Judeo-Christian scriptures are full of references to the Breath—Ruach—the force of life that inhabits us all. Is it no surprise that living in the moment requires us to focus on that very breath. Amit Ray tells us, “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath."
As a spiritual practice Mindfulness “Mindfulness is a quiet mind, an aware mind. Mindfulness itself is not about ‘arriving,’ but about being.” (Jean Moreau, Abbey of Kervennec, France) As we discover the complete joy of the present we are able to see the life we are living in that very moment as complete and whole.” The dance of life is ours to behold. From Amit Ray we hear, “Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.”
The premise of Mindfulness as a spiritual presence is simply this: “remember, there's no greater gift than the present.” (Don Santat) As a spiritual practice, Mindfulness is among the easiest to learn and achieve. If you breathe, you can practice Mindfulness. As a form of meditation, it has the effect of bringing us into the absolute presence with complete non-judgement and absolute unconditional love for yourself and all others. It is based in Buddhist thought that suffering is caused not by the events occurring in our lives, but in our attachment to those events—the outcomes, the projections, and the tearing down of self and others. Learning the way of being in the present with no regrets for the past or worries for the future is compatible with every religious tradition that emphasizes wholeness and universal unconditional love.
“Mindfulness meditation doesn't change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart's capacity to accept life as it is. It teaches the heart to be more accommodating, not by beating it into submission, but by making it clear that accommodation is a gratifying choice.” (Sylvia Boorstein) As we come into this understanding that Mindfulness is about allowing the here and now to penetrate our fears and concerns and keep us focused on the present, our greatest gift of all, we are reminded that this—this present moment—is when we do our living, our loving, and our serving others. It is in this present moment that we pray, or work, or simply be. Mindfulness Meditation simply gives us a way to train ourselves to revel in the present and know absolute compassion, through non-judgement, for ourselves and for all others.
To begin, focus on your breath; that’s all, your breath. As other things enter into your busy mind (and they will) bring your attention back to your breath. This webpage will be providing specific meditations in the future. For a good basic understanding go to any of these youtube videos for a longer and more complete explanation:
Rev. Carol Chambers
Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice
In short, this is a sacred prayer walk with the hope for self-knowledge and knowledge of the Divine. Labyrinths are ancient. There is evidence of labyrinths being used in pre-Christian times. Christian pilgrims, when wars or other impediments restricted their holy pilgrimages were known to walk the labyrinth, as a substitute pilgrimage.
How do you walk a labyrinth? There is no “right” way to walk the labyrinth. You can not get lost, it is one path to the center and back. If you encounter someone on the path, just step aside, or stop to let them by. Walk slowly, or at a moderate pace, paying attention to your steps, breathing and how your body feels. The point is to open yourself up to God in a prayerful walk.
Preparing for the walk
What fears are standing between the labyrinth and me?
Am I willing to greet them and ask them to move out of the way?
What will I bring into the labyrinth with me?
What are the desires of my heart?
Between the Threshold and the Center
What am I becoming aware of?
What do I hear when I listen to the voice of my steps?
What emotions travel with me on this path?
What words and phrases are bubbling up inside?
In the Center (time for prayer and meditation)
How might I become more open to the love that surrounds me?
What is flowering in the center of my life?
Between the Center and the Threshold
What, if anything, have I left in the center?
Is a particular word or image coming into my awareness?
What thoughts are moving in and through me?
What do I most want?
Breathe in for one count. Breathe out for two counts.
Breathe slowly. Breathe normally, focusing on who you are in this moment.
What words, symbols, feelings or sounds express this moment?
Virtual Labyrinth Walk
Journal Keeping as a Spiritual Practice
Central to the process of spiritual growth are reflection, self-observation and self-questioning. Keeping a journal is a helpful tool for cultivating these powers in ourselves.
Journal writing-is a form of disciplined reflection. When we commit observations to writing, we are taking what is inside us and placing it outside us. We are holding a piece of our life in our hands where we can look at it, and meditate on it, and deepen our understanding of it.
It is important to remember that a journal is not a diary. It is not primarily a record of the day’s events. It is more a tool to help us listen to ourselves and see God in our lives.
Journal keeping provides an opportunity to reflect on our experiences and feelings. It is a tool for paying attention.
When journaling, it is important to keep the following in mind:
1. There is no "right” way to keep a journal. Some people write in a journal each day, others once a week, some once a month, and others less frequently.
2. Before beginning to write, it is helpful to take a few deep breaths, to relax both your body and mind.
3. Keep it honest. These thoughts should be for your eyes only.
4. Forget rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation. Focus on what you are thinking and feeling.
5. Journals are not limited to words. Drawings can be useful tools for reflection, too.
6. It is helpful to review your journal periodically. Read what you have written and reflect on where your journey is leading.
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