I’ve always believed that our spiritual practice should not end after 30 minutes on our meditation mat. It should leak into all aspects of our day. That’s how transformation happens. And that’s what I want – transformation.
There are so many ways to bring consciousness into our day. Here are just 13. When I dedicated myself to practicing these 13 small things every day, I started noticing changes in my life and in myself within just 2 weeks.
Waking up consciously
When you wake up in the morning, take a moment to feel yourself come back to life again. Don’t reach for your phone. Don’t numb your mind instantly with the chatter of the world. Don’t mute that which is in you that is truly awake. Take a deep breath and fill yourself with this air that your lungs adore. Know that – you are alive this morning. Someone you love is alive this morning too. You made it another day. This is no small thing. This is a blessing. What will you do with this next 24 hours that you have been gifted?
2. Meditation/Kryia in the morning and evening
I find that my morning Kriya switches me on for the day. Its like brushing my teeth. It’s part of what I need to do to be ready for the day. It is part of what I need to do to release the day after it is done, and I am ready to sleep. In my opinion, the quality and intensity of your kriya/meditation is the most important part of it. When I am simply meditating (instead of doing Shambhavi maha mudra kriya) sometimes it takes me just 5 minutes of meditation to be “switched on” and sometimes it takes me 30 minutes. It all depends on how much heaviness I’m carrying with me that day.
For me, meditation and kriya does much more than simply make feel more grounded and balanced – which was once the most significant benefit I gained from it when I first started meditating. Nowadays – my kriya practice can some days make me feel truly and purely joyful, but most of the time, it unlocks a part of my being that is responsible for noticing a different dimension and energy of life. I experience my entire day differently after it.
The highest form of yoga is meditation – and so a yoga practice brings a certain level of awareness into your day, and helps to align your body, mind and spirit into the same direction.
4. A Cool shower
A hot shower to cleanse your body and a cool shower to cleanse your mind. I find that bathing in water around room temperature, or a couple of degrees cooler (depending on the season) is the most beneficial for my psyche. It puts my system in a fresh, cool state.
5. Meal times
Meal times offer the the opportunity to be conscious. It is a time where you feed and nourish this body that carries us through life. It is an act where we take something from the earth, and transform into ourselves – that is a spiritual act in itself. Acknowledging this process raises your consciousness. Ways to acknowledge this – choose and prepare your food with awareness and loving energy. Practice eating mindfully, chew slowly, truly taste your food. Practice not watching TV while you eat – this is a really hard one for me to implement, because I am so addicted to watching something while I eat. But eating a meal is an act that takes around 15 minutes when done purely. It’s something I want to keep working on.
I try to begin each meal by saying (to myself):
Om sahanaa vavatu
Saha veeryam karavaa vahai
Tejasvi naa vadhee tamastu maa vidvishaa vahai
Om Shaanti Shaanti Shaantihi
Om, may he protect us both
May he nourish us both
May we work together with energy and vigour
May our study be enlightening and fruitful
May we not hate each other
Om, peace, peace, peace
I learned this mantra from Isha.
6. Before doing any task
Parting bringing consciousness into your day means being aware of how you spend your time. A good way to do this is to take a moment to acknowledge the task you are about to engage in, and decide what kind of energy you wish to infuse it with. I try to do this with all the variety of tasks that fill my day – from the small, menial things to the larger, more time consuming tasks. For example, even just drinking a glass of water is something I can do consciously.
Or if I am about to begin a bigger task, such as studying and working through a set of 40 Questions (which can take up to 3 hours) – I take a moment to acknowledge this task and what it will take from me, I set the standard of how I will work – with alertness, with a receptive mind, with confidence, with calm and clarity. And when I am being ineffective and decide to take a break from studying, I once again make the choice of how I would like my break to be – relaxed or energetic, long or short.
Practicing this simple act of mindfulness means I don’t ever just tumble or fumble through my day, without knowing what I am doing or why I am doing it.
7. Think before you speak
Thinking before I speak is an important practice for a number of reasons, but the main benefit is that over time, being conscious of my words brings a certain consciousness over my thoughts too.
If someone told you to “be conscious of your thoughts” – it would be very difficult to do so, wouldn’t it? What does that even mean? How do you do that? How do you even begin to detangle yourself from your thoughts that are everywhere?
The first step is to be conscious of your words. Pick your words carefully. Say what you need to say, speak your truth with strength. Say the right words, at the right time, in the right way. Not a word too many or a word too little.
8. Spend time in Nature
The energy that nature radiates – from the grass, the trees, the breeze, the birds, the dirt, the rain, the sun, the moon – is very conducive to bringing consciousness into your system. Use it. Spend a little time outside every day, breathe it all in.
Walking barefoot can be incredibly grounding.
When meditating (and infact, in general), the closer you sit to the earth the better, so from time to time – put aside chairs, carpets, cushions, meditation cushions, mats, and just sit.
Having plants in the home, and spending time near them, either during your meditation/kriya also infuses a certain kind of life energy into you. As we continue your spiritual processes, the more sensitive we will become to these kinds of subtle energy too.
9. During Mundane tasks – just be
Our day is often filled with little mundane tasks – watering the plants, washing dishes, waiting for the bus, or waiting to fall asleep etc. These too, can be used as a tool for our transformation. While you engage in these activities, instead of trying to fill them with something engaging – such as listening to music or a podcast, or talking on the phone etc – practice just being a completely still, alert and vibrant presence.
Use these little pockets of time, to indulge in life, and not in distractions or even your thoughts. Just be.
10. 10 minutes of pure awareness every day
Another simple practice you can incorporate into your day, is dedicating just 10 minutes of your day, every day at the same time, to simply sitting in awareness.
11. Chanting/ Sacred sounds
I like to end my 10 minutes with some chanting or listening to some sacred consecrated sounds/music. It changes the energy of your home. I love Sounds of Isha for this. Check them out on spotify or soundcloud.
My favourites at the moment are:
This is what I chant to Reya when it is time for her to go to sleep at night. It works like a charm.
And this one:
12. Notice the sunrise and the sunset
The sunrising and the sun setting signify the beginning and the end of another beautiful day that was not promised to us, but that we have been gifted. I find that acknowledging these sacred times fills me with a daily gratitude that is so important to me. I don’t make the sunrises (maybe one day soon?) but I like to step out on our deck with my daughter in my arms during the sunset and we look at the sky together.
Not to mention that these times of day have a tremendous subtle energy to them – making a beautiful time to engage in spiritual practices at that time. Kriya practiced at these times is powerful. Try it for yourself and see!
13. Going to sleep
Even going to sleep can be a transformational process. It is an act of letting go – putting aside your day, your story, your identity, yourself, and finally your awakeness/alertness. It is an act of receptivity – you cannot force sleep to come, you can only be receptive to it.
Reya just woke up – I must sign off quickly…Story of my life now!