As I’m ageing I’m more interested in using things like Buddhism to help calm my busy days down but I’m so busy I never get time to meditate or anything. Do you have
any tips for finding time to be spiritual?
Dear Timeless Seeker,
Can you see how you assumed that your regular life was separate from your spiritual life? Have you ever travelled to Asia? If so, unlike in North America or Europe, did you notice how people’s spirituality is sprinkled throughout their day? In places like Thailand or Cambodia etc. there will be little shrines everywhere with offerings of Coke and Twinkies and chips etc. You see monks all over the streets and in general a much larger percentage of the population is somewhat engaged with their spirituality on a daily basis. Only in the West did we fit spirituality into a single day with only the most devout doing any work the rest of the week. In fact, far too often people are praying for the weak on one day and preying on the weak every other day.
If you’re alive you’re being spiritual. The only question then is, how conscious are you? Do you realize that your business dealings have a spiritual nature? The way you raise children and interact with friends is spiritual in nature. Even the way you drive is spiritual, which I referenced last year in my past blog, Inevitables. In fact a lot of the issues people are struggling with are precisely because they keep seeing their spirituality as separate from their life rather than than seeing their life as a manifestation of their spirituality or lack thereof.
So the fact is, you have ample time to be spiritual, you just have to understand spirituality differently. It is a prayer to show patience. It is a spiritual offering to be generous. In bed, rather than re-hashing your day or planning tomorrow, you can be developing a quiet mind, or during a stressful time you can meditate on gratitude. Kindness, friendship, compassion, appreciation, laughter, joy, creative work and especially love are all very spiritual acts. Rather than thinking about these things while you do them, instead invest yourself completely in the act and forget about judging it. The only self-talk debates you should be having would be to self-debate/meditate yourself out of a state of ego. So if you want to use your thoughts to put yourself back on track that’s fine, or to use self-talk to help to understand a spiritual concept—those are all meditations. But the rest is simply your ego judging and wanting and complaining about what is.
Do not cove your spirituality into parts of your day, have your day emerge from your spirituality. Yes, it will feel odd at first to prioritize things like patience or assistance or generosity. You’ve been sold your entire life on the ideas of selfishness, separation and accomplishment. Rather than joining others as an equal and falling in love, you’re encouraged to win. And what you win is ego-status or materialism. You get stuff or you get things that only exist in other people’s consciousness like a good reputation or status or wealth. These are not things that exist on a spiritual plane. There are no coffins with storage spaces for your reputation, title or money. Instead invest in the real you. The eternal you. Because that’s who you really are, and that’s who you’re always Being whether you’re choosing to be conscious of it or not.
I wish you every good fortune in your exercises. Make it a game to find more and more ways and times to be consciously involved in your spirituality. Let rushed people into line-ups, work on being kinder and develop healthier relationships with co-workers, spend your lunch being quiet-minded rather than on social media.
The upside is that this blog is spiritual in nature, so at least the time you spent doing this was a complete success on the being spiritual front—good for you! Now go do that with the rest of the day. Turn your phone off at lunch and just experience the world itself with your five senses. Shut your yakking monkey-mind up and just Be. You’ll be surprised how just that one small change will alter your life.
Following a childhood accident should have left him dead, Scott McPherson spent his life meditating on thought, consciousness, reality and the self. Seeing the emotional damage done by ego-based overthinking he began dedicating a part of his life to guiding students toward more peaceful and rewarding lives. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, Canada.