The Perfect Spiritual Practice
First, let’s be clear, there is no such thing – LOL. However, I think some of us (me included) think we can somehow “perfect” our spiritual journey. When I finally create the perfect morning routine, with just the right mix of spiritual practices, and I’m praying hard enough and long enough, and…and…and…then I will feel connected to God and consider myself worthy of that connection. Lord Have Mercy!
I was thinking about this on my run this morning because,
for some reason, I was thinking about someone who often elicits an eye roll
from me because I perceive the way they talk about themselves and their
spiritual practices and spirituality, in general, to be “overly religious” and “holier
I wondered, “Why does this person get under my skin?”
Then I realized that part of me feels “less than” in
comparison to this person who has more theological education, knows more about church
history and other religions, has been much more dedicated to their spiritual
practices than I have, etc. Compare and despair; I do it a lot. That part of me
doesn’t like feeling inferior or less competent or “not spiritual enough” and
so it makes itself feel better by sending out an eye roll and declaring, “Oh,
please! Give me a break!”
Comparing our spiritual journey to someone else’s spiritual
journey is not a life-giving exercise. We are all on different spiritual
journeys and our job is to support one another not compare ourselves to each
other. The spiritual practices of someone else might not be life-giving to me,
for any number of reasons. I must find my own spiritual practices.
I believe in the mental, physical, spiritual benefits of
meditation, but sitting in silent meditation for an hour with legs crossed does
not feel life-giving; it may be for some people, but it isn’t for me. Instead, I
sit in silent meditation, focusing on my breath and the sensations in my body
for 15 minutes each day; that feels very life-giving to me, so that is one of
my spiritual practices. It is no less a spiritual practice and no less
life-giving because it’s of shorter duration. It’s no less a spiritual practice
and no less life-giving because I’m not using meditation beads, etc.
The point of spiritual practice is not to compete for a gold
medal or be “more spiritual” than your friends or even to be holy. The point of
any spiritual practice is to help you connect to God. It’s not even FOR God, it’s
FOR you (and me).
When I think I can craft the perfect spiritual practice, I’m
making it all about me. I’m basically saying, “Stand aside, God, while I build
this thing that will allow us to connect.” Thank God for the grace of God or
she would be rolling Her eyes at me all the time.
Pick any practice or two or three or whatever. If it feels
like it’s bringing you closer to God, then do it. God will meet you where you
are. All you have to do is stop trying to control the relationship and open
your heart to receive whatever God would like to offer you.
May you feel the love of God in all that you do
and may that love encourage you to make the world a better place.
By Sibling Michelle "MJ" Johnston, CFA