Over the years I have engaged in varied practices which have been meaningful for me. I used to be a runner but had to give up that practice following knee surgery. Running was a physical and mental release for me. As I would run, I would go over the minutiae of the day and eventually my thoughts would drift and calm. Sometimes I even came upon solutions to gnawing problems. A dear friend once said that if I were a minister, I would write my sermons during my runs. I had not always thought of my running as a spiritual activity, but her words helped make that connection conscious for me.
“Living with intention (not in self-absorption or obliviousness), trying to do the best we can for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our planet is a spiritual endeavor in which we all partake.”
We live in a beautiful region with abundant trails for hiking. Hiking on our trails is a soul-satisfying, spirit-filled activity for me. Physically exerting myself, especially in a natural setting, gives me a spiritual lift, a sense of well-being. Someone else might experience this contentment through an artistic endeavor, such as painting, writing, photography, or music. For me to transcend mundane and daily tasks and feel spiritually connected and renewed, the physical exertion and setting are significant.
If I look beyond running and hiking, I realize that keeping a journal over many years has also provided a time of sanctuary and chance for reflection. There is an ebb and flow with my journal. Sometimes I am pouring thoughts and feelings into the pages, sometimes I am merely making a fleeting entry to hold the “place” of an event. Sometimes I need to put the feelings into words within my journal to release the angst and be able to move forward.
“Just living each day is a spiritual practice.”
I wish to affirm that each of us is living our lives the best way we can. When in survival mode, the concept of “spiritual practice” may seem a luxury. Perhaps we might consider that just living each day is a spiritual practice. Living with intention (not in self-absorption or obliviousness), trying to do the best we can for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our planet is a spiritual endeavor in which we all partake.
Deacon, Canaan Congregational Church, UCC