Spiritual Practices and Experiences

Everyone has different spiritual practices that they find helpful or nurturing in their spiritual journey. Below are some of the practices and experiences I find helpful. 

There are many different styles and types of meditation. Some people meditate on Scripture or a daily reading. Others use guided or imaginative meditation. Concentrating on each breath and using a mantra is another method. While others prefer to walk while meditating. Some traditions use meditation to completely empty the mind and just be in the presence of the Divine.

Whatever method you use, they all have physical and spiritual benefits. Time to quiet the frantic hurry of the day and be still and quiet is essential for health and wholeness. Many people seek out the correct way of meditating thinking that it will provide them with the answers to life. Each of us, however, are individual and will find different ways of meditating that are helpful. Time of the day, the place you meditate, who you meditate with and how long you meditate will depend on your life's circumstances at a particular time. 

Meditation takes discipline and a conscious decision to spend time in this way. For this reason, many people join a meditation group. Meditation takes practice. It is rare for someone who has not experienced meditation to be able to engage in a long, deep meditation the first time. Meditation takes you into your inner world in order to change your outer world. Beware - if you begin to meditate regularly, the way you live will be affected.

Mandalas are used by many spiritual traditions as a symbol of healing and wholeness. Taking the time to create mandalas takes us to a deep place. The mandalas we create can surprise and inspire us. It is not an artwork that is made, but a reflection of the condition of the soul. 

If you would like to know more about mandalas and how they can be used take a look at the following links.

Creating Mandalas

A Mandala a Month

What to expect in a Mandala Workshop

Quiet Days
I could not get by without my occasional quiet days. If I don't schedule these into my diary they just don't happen. I try to take a day a month to be quiet and still. It is a lot easier to have a quiet day away from home. I am fortunate to have some places not too far away that I can go for the day.

I take my journal, my mandala journal, some coloured pencils, my Bible and some food to keep me going. I never have an agenda. Sometimes I walk and sometimes I simply sit. At the end of the day, I may return with a new mandala or a long reflection in my journal or some new insight floating around in my head. But despite anything that can be measured in this way, I always return more centred, more grounded and more ready to enter back into my ministry. 

I would be bold enough to say that Quiet Days are essential for anyone who takes their spiritual journey seriously. It may not be once a month. It may only be once a year. It might not be deliberately planned, but might appear as an unexpected gift. I would encourage anyone not to wait for these days to be given to you, but to give them to yourself.

Spiritual Direction
People employ a personal trainer to help them get into shape physically. They go to see a counsellor to help them sort through their social and emotional issues. The spiritual aspect of our life is often neglected, however.

The role of a Spiritual Director is to help a person to become aware of the presence of the Divine in their life. The emphasis is not upon fixing problems or finding answers. Instead, the Spiritual Director attends to the directee's relationship with the Divine. 

Spiritual Direction is a journey. With today's technology, it doesn't matter where you live as we can connect using Zoom. If you would like to explore Spiritual Direction let me know.

Labyrinths are ancient spiritual tools that allow people to engage in a pilgrimage without the expense or inconvenience of long distance travel. A labyrinth differs from a maze in that there is only one path to the centre. 

As the walker makes their way to the centre of the labyrinth they are able to reflect on the journey at present. People walk the labyrinth at a steady pace, stopping along the way as they feel necessary to reflect. Once the walker reaches the centre, they are able to spend as much time as they want in this sacred space. The path out of the labyrinth allows the walker time to reflect upon what they are taking with them from the experience into their life.

As with many practices, there is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. I find that each time I walk it is different. For me, the labyrinth has great power into taking me to a deeper place. Inevitably, every time I walk (whether it is in the bush, on the beach, or indoors on a canvas) I discover something new about myself, about God or about the world. The labyrinth is always a treasured experience.

Waiting on God - Ignatian Spirituality Series
I have developed a four part series titled 'Waiting on God'. I  used this with my congregations during Advent in 2012. The seriesis an introduction to different Ignatian Spiritual Practices. This involves some teaching, some practice and some reflection. 

Each part brings to light a different practice. I have chosen to use this as an Advent Series, but it is not limited to this use. If you would like to know more about the series or receive a sample week, please let me know.

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