monk blowing bubbles

Image by babasteve

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.

4 Comments to “Two Ways to Connect with Spirit”

  1. Barbara says:

    Hi Evan,

    I don’t necessarily have a label for what I write. A journal has an element of historical accounting for me. In that respect, I guess I journal. I record things in the moment. However writing to you today is as much about journaling as anything I write that is not “published”. I don’t think there is anything that I have written that I wouldn’t be willing to let someone else read. That wasn’t always the case though.

    I think the one thing that writing has taught me is that spirit must be the motivational force behind it, as it just flows if I let it. It is when I stop and think, when I consciously interupt the flow, that I am using what I have learned in school rather than what spirit is always teaching me.

    Like now.

    Writing is a tool in whatever form it takes. For me, it is a better one when it is not the conscious me directing it.

  2. Hello Evan,
    Those are excellent ways to connect with the spiritual, but to be honest, neither works for me, personally. The way I connect with the spiritual is through Walking Meditation and Music Immersion.

    Walking Meditation is just that – I walk alone to clear my head. Sometimes I set out to meditation while walking, but most often it isn’t intentional at all. My mind begins to clear, and my consciousness shifts.

    Music Immersion is also pretty self explanatory… I put the headphones on and zone out. I usually come out feeling more balanced and focused.

    Namaste.

  3. JohnD says:

    Writing is also a good fit for me, and using journals has been a practice of many years. Your description of attention and the focus on what occurs to you matches what I experience. For me, the creativity of expression that is evoked through this sort of writing comes close to a form of spirituality, but I don’t approach it with that in mind. It’s just what happens when I write imaginatively – it’s the way I make discoveries drawing on those deeper inner sources we can call spiritual but which I at least don’t really understand.

    I turn to the natural world for some of the deepest spiritual experiences. There are places I go that have been became the sites of shrines, churches, temples, mosques because people were drawn to them over the centuries. Others were named as places of spirit by indigenous peoples but renamed by Christian settlers as associated with the devil. Or it may be a place of no special fame where I just find the right balance for me to meditate and pray.

    There are also guides to spiritual knowledge whose books have the effect of meditation. Rudolf Steiner is one of the most important of these for me.

    JohnD

  4. Evan says:

    Thanks Barbara, Stopping and thinking can disturb the flow for me too.

    Thanks John, When I go walking it is usually with someone else so I haven’t ever tried this. Music immersion has happened for me a few times – usually with blues – but this has only been on occasion.

    Thanks JohnD, I don’t know why but the natural world for me is relaxing but not often a way of connecting with spirit. I’m afraid I’ve never read Steiner though I’ve heard of him (especially bio-dynamics).

    Thanks to all for your comments.

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