How can we incorporate more spirituality into our everyday lives? By truly living our religion, our spirituality, our calling.
A religion or spirituality cannot be read about, or simply thought about – it must be experienced. Like life, it is in the doing that counts. Yes, we must think – carefully and deeply, about what we do as human beings. We must also act upon that thinking with full awareness, otherwise the opportunity to really live slips us by.
There are so many ways we can bring more awareness and more spirituality into our daily routines. For instance, a prayer upon awakening is a brilliant way to start the day. Whether you believe in the gods, or spirits of place, the ancestors or nature itself or all of the above is a matter for your own path. But coming to an awareness of them physically, emotionally – through living your meditations can make all the difference. Saying a prayer, either aloud or in your head first thing in the morning can put you in the right frame of mind to be mindfully spiritual for the rest of the day. You can pray in all kinds of ways – prayers of thanks for a new day, prayers of peace and love, prayers of love for those in need. It matters not what type of prayer; what matters most is that it is done, in a way that best suits you to get into a spiritual frame of mind.
When we then get up and perform our ablutions, we are already aware of the sanctity of life. We can say a prayer of thanks to the goddess of the waters, the local water source, to the oceans of the world as we run the tap to wash our face. We create an awareness of the sanctity of water.
When we make our breakfast, or pour a cup of tea, we give thanks to gods, the spirits, to the earth for her abundance. We take time to acknowledge where our food and drink comes from, and in that acknowledgement continue in a sacred manner. We are establishing a strong relationship with the world around us by doing so. A prayer that I like to use before I eat is simple:
“I give my thanks for the food I am about to eat. To the spirits of land, sea and sky, know that you are honoured”.
I not only say the words, but honour the lands that the food and drink came from, the blessings of sunshine and rain, the people who worked to bring it food to my table. Seeing the bigger picture allows me to truly be grateful for all that I have.
I can say a prayer or chant a charm when I am about to drive my car somewhere. Equally, I can say a prayer of thanks for hearing the blackbird’s song of Spring, or upon seeing the sunshine after months of rain. Seeing the moon, or a particular constellation in the sky evokes spontaneous prayers within me, said either aloud or in my mind. Prayers to the rising and setting sun, to the rising and setting moon are said, as well as prayers before bed. Even getting into the bathtub can become spiritual, with an honouring of clean, hot water, or a pentagram or symbol of awen drawn on the water’s surface to acknowledge the sacredness. Gardening, working with others, before or after meditation – these are all good times for a quick prayer as well.
Certain times of day might be better for those who like a stricter routine. A set time in the morning, noon, afternoon and evening might be more suitable for those who can follow a tighter regime. It is all about personal choice.
It is not only prayer, but short rituals we can use – a bow to the sun or moon, the lighting of a candle upon awakening, offering of incense or food at the end of each day. Taking the time is what is most important – taking the time to connect with the spiritual world around you. We are never alone; we cannot be separate. We all live together on this planet side by side. Seeing this connection is pure awen.
Create songs for the sunrise, or write new chants for the full moon. Sing something improvisational when you see the first blackthorn in flower, or raise your arms to honour the sun dog’s myriad colours in the sky. The secular world may try to make us feel silly about doing so – but just try it. You may just find that your soul opens in response.
For more ideas on how to incorporate spirituality and devotion in your everyday life, I am holding a retreat weekend in the sacred Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury from 11 – 13 April. This weekend, entitled The Little Pagan Monastery, will be a weekend filled with prayer, devotion and ritual, visits to sacred sites, as well as discussion, meditation, and personal time to incorporate ideas into your life. For more information, see the Retreat Weekends on this site.