I love gardening. There is something about getting my hands in the dirt that calms my mind and allows feelings from deep within my soul to take root. For me, the gardening metaphor is perfect for my spirituality practice. Both gardens and spirituality need to be planted, nurtured, and tended to on a regular basis if you want them to flourish.
Here are three daily practices to help you cultivate your spirituality:
1. Tend to your thoughts.
A gardener pulls weeds in order to maintain a healthy, thriving garden. Similarly, when you spend time quieting your mind, you become aware of the weeds of criticism that hold you back and cut off your air supply, limiting your spiritual growth.
As soon as you identify a thought, ask yourself if it's serving a good purpose. If the answer is no, then visualize yourself pulling out a garden trowel and digging it up. Observe the roots being pulled out of the ground, and then see yourself planting a more loving thought. You may even choose to visualize this as you're planting your favorite flower.
The benefit of this exercise is that when done in small increments each day, it can be helpful in removing the negative chatter and replacing it with more positive thoughts.
2. Connect with your body.
Just as a gardener watches for pests that can damage their plants, we need to be tuned into what our bodies are telling us at any given moment. When you experience any type of pain, ache, or discomfort, it's your body's way of telling you that something is off balance and that it needs to be addressed immediately. If you ignore these whispers, your body will turn up the volume until you can no longer deny that something is off kilter.
When you experience pain or discomfort, take the opportunity to sit quietly for a moment and ask yourself, "What's really going on here?"
Focus and try to isolate where the pain is coming from. Is it due to some physical ailment, or is there something emotional going on in your life that could be causing it? Spending even a few minutes a day checking in with your body will enable you to develop a stronger connection with your true needs.
3. Spend time in nature.
Nature is an extraordinary gateway to spirituality. In today's culture, we pay a steep price for being so disconnected from nature.
Re-establish a relationship with nature by taking your spirituality practice outside. All you have to do is find yourself a patch of grass, take your shoes off, and let the grass tickle your feet.
Your connection with the earth makes something magical happen. You naturally begin to breathe more deeply, your mind quiets down, and you experience a feeling of peace. The health benefits are significant: When done with intent, your stress level is significantly lowered and, at the same time, you awaken all your senses.
Integrating a spiritual practice into your daily life is a choice that only you can make. The persistence, intent, and commitment you make are the foundation for a grounded, more aware, and connected version of yourself.