Spiritual practice at work and in daily life
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
A client asked me this question some time ago. I thought I’d share the answer here with you in case others may find it interesting or insightful.
Most spiritual problems manifest physically—what are good spiritual habits to adopt that will manifest physically in a positive way?
I agree. In fact, I would suggest that all spiritual problems manifest physically. This can be seen in the body in the form of physical tensions and disordered health. It can also be seen on a larger scale in a society’s shared values and behaviours as well as the subtle energy of an environment.
If you take the time to look closely though, you may find for yourself that humanity’s suffering or “spiritual problems” are hinged on a few basic misunderstandings about reality.
These misunderstandings are most commonly rooted around our sense of individuality and desire for approval, control and security. We take ourselves to be individuals; individuals with free will, preferences, problems and a personal story. Likewise, we assume all others to be the same. However, I would suggest that things are not exactly as they appear, and this misunderstanding can lead us to experience life in a contracted and uncomfortable way.
So, if I was to suggest any practice, it would be to explore this. Realise that these “spiritual problems” are a clue; a guide towards what’s true, what’s real. Become interested in any emotions or physical responses in the body. Notice the shifts and tensions. Welcome them and let them show you where you are stuck in your spiritual path.
We habitually push these feelings away or distract ourselves from them with various forms of sedation and stimulation. But if you really want lasting peace and happiness, if you really want the truth, I encourage you to turn around and face these feelings, openly, lovingly. Let them come up. They can be our greatest teachers,
A brief example:
You are spoken to rudely by someone you work with. You notice a dramatic change in the body, such as a mild muscular tension, increased heart rate or laboured breathing. Recognising that this indicates a form of resistance or defensiveness developing in the body, it now becomes the primary focus of your attention. You allow the feeling to open up more; open up entirely. You embrace it, even appreciate it, knowing that it is helping to show you where you’re still stuck.
Having allowed this feeling to blossom fully, coming to see it for what it is (i.e. just a feeling), a feeling generated from ignorance, you drop it. You drop it entirely, completely and just be. Just being here and now, allowing everyone and everything to be exactly as it is in this moment. No more story, no more resistance, no more desire—just open and embracing.
During or even after this process, once the dust has settled you may get sudden insight into the erroneous thoughts and confusions that caused this response. Hence, seeing past and moving above them to what’s true.
In this example, you may come to see that this person spoke rudely to you simply due to their own issues; that in fact they were suffering and behaving poorly due to their own conditioning. You realise they couldn’t help it in the moment; they weren’t seeing things clearly. This insight may move you from anger to empathy and even compassionate understanding.
Of course, this can be a little weird at first, perhaps even uncomfortable. But as you open up and gain clarity, it becomes a beautiful process. So play with this for a while and see what happens.
I’m here if you have any questions or want a little guidance.