Q: I’ve tried a lot of different practices over the last few years. I like some of them more than others but none of them bring me the kind of fulfillment I’m looking for. Do you have any advice?
A: Thanks for asking, friend. My advice is to let go of most of them. Perhaps you’re snacking too much and not getting the depth of nourishment your soul is seeking.
What I have gleaned over the years from studying great spiritual teachers is that it’s not important so much which spiritual practice you choose; rather, it’s important that you pick one and commit yourself to mastering it. Seekers often fall into the trap of wandering around filling their plate with spiritual appetizers from this table and that one and they never get down to sitting down in one place and enjoying the whole experience of the meal.
It’s called a practice for a reason. You have to commit to it daily and stick to it. Spiritual practice is also called a discipline. You become a disciple of the teaching of your choice and use it to master and move beyond the needs and desires of ego-self to connect with the Higher Self.
I have friends who are musicians who practice for hours a day. Whenever they sit down to play, the experience of the music is so much sweeter because they’ve put in the work to master their craft. I also know some ‘wannabe’ musicians who could make some great music were it not for the fact that they keep jumping from one instrument to the next. They think the problem is that they haven’t found the right instrument. I think it’s because they never commit to a daily practice of any one of them.
Law says that you get back what you give. If your experience of a particular thing feels shallow and less than satisfying, perhaps it is because the level of commitment and attention given to the thing was low.
I know (and believe me – I know!) how easy it is to get frustrated in our culture of instant gratification. We want everything NOW! But it doesn’t come that quickly, does it? We need to plant seeds and water and cultivate and weed and wait. A lot of waiting. Eventually the harvest comes.
If you choose to follow a particular religious path, find something within that tradition and go with it. If you are a seeker, find a practice that resonates with you. Maybe it’s a form of yoga. Perhaps it’s tai chi. It might be qigong, breath work, or a type of meditation or centering prayer. The point is to focus on one and give it your full attention. In the end, the practice or tradition you choose is only a tool. It only matters in that it is what works for you. It’s a vehicle that carries you to the experience of the Divine banquet within. And that is the feast you don’t want to miss.
I hope that helps. Blessings on the Journey.
breathe Peace ~