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Over the years I’ve found two ways that work for me to connect with spirit. One is solitary and the other involves other people, or at least one other person. I don’t know whether they will work for you or not, but they don’t require much equipment and aren’t dangerous, so you may want to give them a try.
They aren’t conventionally religious. I was brought up an evangelical christian – and there were religious practices that we were meant to do. I spent years feeling guility that they didn’t work for me. I thought it must be my problem. I eventually figured out that it was better to do what worked for me and that god probably wouldn’t mind. So here are my two main practices for connecting with spirit.
1. Journalling. When I journal as a spiritual exercise it isn’t diarising or writing about something – it is an investigation of something that has captured my attention. It may be words from a book, an experience I have had or an incident I have remembered. It is investigating something that strikes me, that feels important. Sometimes I find out quickly that it isn’t really important – I write down a sentence or two and that’s that. This doesn’t happen often. Usually pursuing what strikes me is quite a fruitful process.
The process goes like this. I write down what it is I am investigating. Then I write down my reaction or what it is that has hooked me. Then I write about this hook, why it is important to me. This sounds more directed than it is. I stick with what occurs to me. Sometimes thoughts come quickly and I can’t write fast enough to keep up. For me it works to stick with what comes up. If thoughts that seem random occur to me I find that usually leads me to a deeper place. Following my thoughts and feelings in this fairly free-flowing way I arrive at a place of stillness, where I feel that I have got to the bottom of what it is that I am investigating. My breathing will be relaxed and I will feel light.
Will it work for you?
I don’t know. For me journalling works better than just sitting. I find the writing helps me to stay on track and focus. I find it natural to express myself in words. So, journalling is a good fit for me.
I guess journalling won’t work for those who don’t find it natural. It also probably won’t work for those who feel they have to work at getting words write – journalists, writers and so on. For journalling to work for me the words need to be able to just flow – to stop and have to get them right would wreck the process for me.
2. Talking to someone in depth.
I have sometimes done ‘counseling’. During some of these conversations I have had insights that seem to have ‘come out of nowhere’ – they have been out of my mouth without my planning what to say. And they are usually spot on. If I had thought them up I could be proud of them. But they come from a quite ‘thoughtless’ space.
During other conversations there are moments of spirit when the other person and I are conscious of being very present to each other and feel that there is something more present as well.
These moments have only occurred when we have been dealing with what is closest to our sense of who we are – our ‘core issues’.
This is not something we can do just anywhere anytime. This way of connecting with spirit requires someone else. And someone who is willing to be close to their deepest self – and me being willing to connect with the deepest part of me as well). Whether it will work for you I don’t know. And you probably need to be in a secure place to do this. So, it’s not an everyday kind of thing.
These are my two main ways of connecting with spirit. There are others I have used. There is a small library of books on journalling now. I have found the process described in Paul Rebillot’s The Call to Adventure to be quite profound. I have also found very beneficial retreats in the spirit of Taize (a christian community in France) that are mostly silence mixed with times of group singing (mostly of chants). But for me journalling and talking to someone are the ones I keep coming back to.
I would like to hear if you have ways that you connect to spirit. I’d like to know what they are, however unconventional they may seem.
I have written the text of a report which I will release to publicise a course I am running. It will be opening for enrolments in a month or two. The course will be on living with authenticity. The report is called “Its Not About Success”. Either click on that link or on the link in the side bar on the left under the heading “Site Info”. It is fairly long (17,000 words). I would be grateful for any comments and reactions. Suggestions for improvement are especially welcome.