Why have a spiritual practice?


A student in one of my Yoga classes recently asked me at the end of class, what is the significance of spiritual practice, such as Yoga? Is spiritual practice necessary? Should I feel 'bad' if I don't practice Yoga/Chi Gung/Tai Chi/Tantra/{insert spiritual practice} ?

I thought this was a really good question and it made me actually really come back to the essence of my own practice and get clear of my highest intentions, so I will share with you now my insights on this very topic.

So firstly, in my interpretation, spiritual practice is just that, practice. To me, spiritual practice is simply playing in the awareness of who you truly are. It is an opportunity for the rational mind to stop, reflect and come back to pure awareness. By awareness, I mean being aware that we are separate from the self we think we are and identify with. Simply being the 'observer' and surrendering to each and every moment and to a greater force knowing that we are just a player in this game, our bodies are just a vessel for this soul to operate its highest potentials. Trippy huh! Just breathe it may not make 'rational' sense right now, but your intuitive wisdom will light up & resonate after scanning these words.

This is what great Yogi masters, Jesus, Buddha etc mean when they use the term 'enlightenment'. Self realisation (or if you prefer enlightenment) are both terms referring to unveiling the truth of who you are. It is to realise or put light on what is already there. Therefore it is within each an every one of us this potential for 'self realisation/enlightenment/nirvana'. Enlightenment is not a far out thing that only special saintly types in robes can achieve, nor is it some quest we have to arduously work towards for years and years by living in an Ashram isolated from the world, no...it can be accessed when we simply live in pure awareness, presence and dissonance of our egoic self.

So, spiritual practice, such as Yoga is just a tool, a vessel that we can tap into in order to shed light on that which is already there waiting to be born. Spiritual practice, to name a few ~~

~ holds space in order for us to quieten the mind, connect to our breathe ~ our life force,

~ allows us to integrate the polarities within us

~ creates space to unify the trinity of mind body and spirit as one

~ allows us to realise we are not separate from one another, yet interwoven in the dance of the cosmos

~ takes us out of the head and drives us directly into our heart.

Certain self development regimes out there are totally onto this, yet they play on the 'one day I'll be happy when...' psyche of so many of us that they deliver promises of 'enlightenment' and 'happiness' - (because essentially that is all we all really want to be, is happy), only when we first pour out thousands of dollars into course after course, and chip away at this "quest to enlightenment/happiness". Again I will state that in the new paradigm life is not about self development, the new paradigm is all about self acceptance! You are already enough, and perfect just the way you are, spiritual practice just is the spot light allowing it to shine in, you can easily switch on or off the light whenever you chose.

What we have to always come back to is that happiness / enlightenment / your true nature(all the same thing) is accessible in every single moment. The mind can only aspire to happiness, freedom, ease of being and fulfillment, but never reach it. The aspiration keeps it in the future, yet what we need to realise is happiness and freedom only ever exist int he present moment.

A beautiful excerpt from Love's Alchemy by Sky (a book I highly recommend) as follows ~

Spiritual practice is the way to the fulfillment of who you truly are. It is the way to the realisation of your true desires and your true purpose. It is pointless paying attention to the finger and not to where the finger points. Practice helps us pay attention to where the finger points.
— Sky - Love's Alchemy

What Spiritual Practice do you practice, or are drawn to and would like to try? Leave a comment below...