Most of us don’t have the time or resources to travel the world in search of spiritual awareness. But with this simple exercise Lara Owen shows that you don’t have to travel to exotic locations – you can discover inner calm, mental clarity and spiritual strength from the comfort of your own home.
Everyone has spiritual awareness. It’s a fundamental aspect of being human and you can’t not have it. But often this natural awareness is obscured by our expectations about how life should be, our anxieties about how life might be in the future, and unacknowledged feelings about how life is right now or was in the past. While these thoughts and feelings may carry useful information and are part and parcel of being human, when we’re not aware of them they run us, and create a mental fog that stops us experiencing our inner calm, inner joy, and inner wisdom directly and consistently.
To clear yourself of this mental fog, it will help you enormously if you create a quiet, comfortable, and beautiful place in your home to sit and do spiritual practice. Make an altar or table with inspiring objects and pictures on it, to help focus your mind on peaceful contemplation.
Now you have a place to sit, take the following three steps daily – think of these steps as your spiritual multivitamins!
1. Take some time, say ten to twenty minutes, to sit in front of your altar. Try and do this at the same time every day if you can, as this creates a good habit that makes it easier to remember and stick to. Take a few deep breaths and let your body relax.
2. Sit quietly with no distractions, and kindly observe your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Without judging, simply notice what you are feeling and thinking. If your mind is quiet and your body peaceful, just rest in enjoyment of open awareness.
3. At the end of your session, give thanks for all the blessings in your life, (there’s always something to be grateful for, even on a bad day!). Then send out blessings of love to your family, your community, your country, and the whole world.
This is a deceptively simple recipe for developing inner calm, mental clarity, and spiritual strength, and draws on the key principles of all spiritual traditions. In time, the kindly observed mind/heart/body begins to calm. Give it time. As the inner chatter quietens, the mind becomes clearer. Cultivating the kindly inner witness helps you develop more self-awareness and self-compassion, which then helps you have compassion for others. Giving thanks and extending blessings helps your mind focus on the positive in your life and on the well being of others, which benefits your overall perspective on life and living.
If you are really pushed for time, you can actually do these steps in a couple of minutes. Just remember:
Step 1: Centre and relax.
Step 2: Notice what you are feeling and thinking, as a kind witness to yourself.
Step 3: Say thank you and extend blessings outwards.
Lara Owen has been learning, writing and teaching about the health and wholeness of mind, body and spirit since the 1970s. She also teaches and works as a mentor and consultant with individuals and organisations. For more information, visit www.laraowen.com.
Piatkus publishes Growing Your Inner Light on the 3rd March priced at £10.99.