The Importance of A Daily Practice
Perhaps I will go into my story at some point in the future, but right now I want my privacy and I doubt anyone would be interested in such a rambling, depressing tale. I will simply say that I have had a tough time in the past, leading me to develop some strange quirks that aren’t very healthy or conducive to a happy life. C’est la vie.
Besides, I would rather focus on what helps me stay on the right path and keeps me sane. My daily practice has been an invaluable gift in that regard.
What is a daily practice?
It’s a set of rituals done each day to promote your health and clear the mind. While it is often connected to a spiritual practice, it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t believe in that, feel free to skip over anything overtly spiritual or adapt to your own beliefs. I will try to minimize the ‘woo woo’ and keep it practical.
Why have a daily practice?
- To keep oneself physically healthy
- To keep one’s mind clear
- To contemplate and have a chance to ‘turn off’.
- To strengthen your whole being.
- To engage spiritually (if applicable).
- To stay at your highest level (without getting burned out).
- To heal yourself.
- And so many other possibilities…
What does a daily practice consist of?
That varies, but I think the best ones have a physical component, a mental component, an action component, and finally a spiritual piece (if applicable). I will use mine as an example:
I do physical exercises and yoga in the morning, and for the better part of the last year, I’ve been taking long walks. I make sure to take care of myself by eating well, drinking lots of water, and careful grooming. That’s something everyone should be doing, but I try to add an element of awareness to the process.
For my mind, I make sure to keep myself informed about what’s going on in the world, do something challenging (reading an in depth book on a subject I’m not familiar with, work on a online course, puzzle out a complex problem), giving time to relax (meditation is a huge part of my practice, I also do tactile things like sewing/knitting, long walks), and expression (writing!).
Action is best compared to the idea of service. It’s a commitment to do good and help others each day. Though the traditional ways of doing this are all great (volunteering, donating, etc.), there are many other methods. You actually can change your favorite hobbies or even your job into your action practice. I personally write about useful and motivating topics, volunteer locally, and try to always be considerate of others. Lately (and understandably), I have been incorporating a lot of political action into my practice.
Lastly, the spiritual. The others that came before are part of it for me, but in addition I meditate and contemplate. I read about philosophy, cosmology, and religion at least once a week. I pray occasionally (I’m a bad devotee), and that’s it. Well, it isn’t, but I’m not sure how to put it down on the screen.
Why am I writing this?
The world is in chaos right now. We have become more polarized and separated, we are dealing with technology that we haven’t mastered yet, and the ‘old ways’ are crumbling. It’s exhausting, crazy making, bewildering beyond belief.
The near future could be a disaster or an opportunity to reinvent. We can’t take advantage of the opportunity unless we are healthy, strong, and clearheaded, and the method is the most powerful I know of. It may have literally saved my life, and it definitely saved my mother. Many of the most influential people in the world have one, and it has been part of all religions and many philosophies.
I hope you will consider constructing a practice that works for you and I’ll be happy to help. Feel free to ask questions in the comments! I will also be happy to offer resources if anyone is interested.