My Spiritual “Practice”
Someone once asked me, “what is your spiritual practice?” I replied, “doing the laundry”.
I could easily have said, “making lunch, petting the dog, driving my car, taking a nap, buying groceries, reading posts on Facebook”, etc. All would have been equally valid.
Every moment of the day there are thoughts and emotions that enter my consciousness to work (and play) with. Some I allow to pass through me, others inspire me to action. There is also an energy which underlies these thoughts and emotions. In every moment, I have the choice of whether I am going to relax into this energy and allow it to deepen, or whether I am going to cloud over it by obsessing on things on a mental level. I can also freely choose to breathe deeply and allow this energy to move freely through my body.
Here comes my old friend anxiety. Do I magnify it by fighting or cultivating it; or do I lovingly allow myself to feel it and let it go? Here comes some old emotional pattern, whispering that I need to do something in order to be approved of. What do I do with this deep, partially buried emotion? Do I allow myself to spin out and start feeling guilty about how “unspiritual” I am for feeling this way? Do I let it cloud my judgment and start to act from it? Or do I just ackowledge it, see if for what it is, love myself, and let it go? The man down the street is having a bad day and yells at me while I am walking the dog, saying that the dog touched his grass? Do I nurture the reaction that is welling up inside of me? Do I act on it and yell back at him? Do I get down on myself for having this reaction and paralyze myself with guilt? Or do I simply do my best to breathe deeply, observe it, and acknowledge that I am something deeper than all this?
For me, this is what spiritual practice is all about. Don’t get me wrong, meditation can definitely help us to replenish ourselves from the wellspring of energy which is our birthright. Yoga certainly helps us to align all of the levels. There are a myriad other disciplines that are enormously helpful. But the heart of my practice still gets back to doing the laundry; and to the consciousness that I cultivate as I put my clothes in the dryer, and as I make my way through the folding.
Ah, the folding.
Always the hardest part!