We all know the benefits of keeping spirituality in our life, but we all know as well how difficult it can become sometimes. It’s easy to get inspired and to understand the effect of practicing on a regular basis, but how easy it is for us to actually do that?
Distractions are everywhere, and sometimes we feel like our self-discipline just sucks, but that’s not true! Self-discipline is attainable; all we need are just a few changes in our perspective.
1. Generate a Greater Motivation
Many times we practice wishing to gain what are merely the side effects of spiritual practice. We want to lower our blood pressure, become more efficient, reduce stress, lose weight, and the list of benefits goes on and on. But we tend to forget the real reason these practices were invented: internal inner freedom.
The original goal of all spiritual disciplines is to help us to free ourselves from our own self-made suffering. ~Or Shahar
It might be very hard for us modern folks to believe internal freedom to be possible, but how do we know if we don't try?
Unlike when we focus on some short-term gain that might or might not arise from the practice, when we focus on the long-term, internal benefit, our mind expands and becomes more flexible. When you continue in your practice, all the benefits will occur and they will be your signs to keep going even further.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
With all that said, it should be clear that the spiritual journey is a persistent one. When you embark on a great journey, you don’t come with the expectation that it will be short and easy. You know it might take a while and some obstacles might come, but you are willing and prepared. You know that the journey will be sweet and that the destination is totally worth it.
In order to gain the sweet fruits of spiritual discipline, we need to come with realistic expectations. Not just about the path itself but mostly about where we are now. We need to start working with the time, wishes, and abilities we have.
As a yoga teacher, I often see people in and outside of class being very dishonest and unfair with themselves about how much and what they should practice. Instead of setting the bar way beyond your limits (or way below), you’ll be much better off starting where you are and progressing gradually.
Even if it means that you start with just five minutes of meditation three times a week; if this is all you feel you really want and can do right now, you should start with doing just that and see how it goes. It might not sound like much, but it is still so much more than nothing.
3. Take Immediate Action
We always think that later everything will be better, now isn't a good time, and we still have a lot to think about. However, the opposite is true. Knowing whether this practice is going to work for you will not come from thinking about it even longer; it will come from trying.
Now might not be the most comfortable time to start, but often spiritual practice is exactly what we need in the uncomfortable times in our life.
And there is absolutely zero guarantee that time will fix everything for you and that later it will be easier to practice. Things can get even busier and crazier, and even if they don't, some other distractions will come. They always do.
We tend to believe that when everything falls into place, we will find the spirituality and peace of mind when the time comes to practice. But again, truth seems to work the other way around: When we make the time and space for spiritual practice in our life, peace comes and with it, everything else falls into place.
Start today and make peace your first priority.