By Sarah Roberts, Guest Contributor
Do you always feel like you have too much on your plate, too many tasks to do and not enough time to get to everything? With the modern pace of life we are all busy, but it is also possible to be busy without letting our spiritual selves suffer.
Whatever spiritual journey you are on, just like every other journey (weight loss, a new course of study, starting a new business) it doesn’t just happen, but requires time and effort. It is easier to find the time you need if you structure your life in such a way that prioritises your spiritual journey. This isn’t a crash diet, just like a fitness journey, you need to change your lifestyle and your habits to integrate the things that you need to do.
Once you have decided that nurturing yourself and pursuing your spiritual journey is a priority in your life, now begins the task of finding the time you need. Here are some ideas for opening up space for your spiritual journey in your busy life.
Start your day with intention
Do something at the start of your day to make a connection with your spiritual practice. This doesn’t mean waking up at 4am to squeeze in 2 hours of meditation before the normal alarm time. You can start by simply taking 5 minutes to think about your spiritual priorities and what is important to you. This helps keep them in the front of your mind for the day.
Be honest about how you spend your time
Take an honest and brutal look at how you spend your time and be honest with yourself about here there is space. How will your life be improved if you manage to finish that Netflix series this week as opposed to if you devote that time to your spiritual journey? How much time are you spending flicking through Instagram and Facebook at night before going to bed? Is this having a negative impact on your mood and self-image and how could this time better be spent. We all have things like this in our lives that we could cut back on to make space for the things that are important.
Washing the dishes, or doing the laundry, automatic tasks that don’t require you to think? Use this time to contemplate your spiritual challenges. Psychologists suggest that we do some of our most profound thinking when we are occupied with tasks that we can do on ‘autopilot’ as the task-oriented parts of our brain are occupied with doing, the creative parts of our brain can come to the fore. This is why many people report having their best ideas when they are driving.
Also use your time in the car or walking. You probably don’t want to embark on a deep spiritual meditation while behind the wheel, but you can listen to relevant audiobooks or podcasts that feed your soul.
Sometimes our schedule suffers interruptions that we cannot control. We have to wait 45 minutes for our doctor’s appointment. Our train is unexpectedly cancelled or delayed. Rather than getting frustrated, think of these as unexpected opportunities to focus on yourself and your spiritual journey.
Set yourself small, achievable goals
Often, we fail at things because we come up with a grand goal, and our progress towards it is so slow that we lose motivation. Or we set ourselves challenges that are too great – such as aiming to meditate for an hour a day when you don’t feel like you even have 5 minutes to yourself. While you may have some ultimate grand goal, daily set yourself small, achievable goals. Meditate for just 5 minutes if you are starting out. Write just half a page in your journal. Find one new reading such as mindfulness and calming books that are relevant to your goal.
While these actions may seem small and insufficient for us to reach the vision of a spiritual life that we have for ourselves, remember that they are just a starting point. For example, once you start meditating and see its benefits and start to enjoy it, your will be amazed how you manage to find more time for it as it becomes more important to you.