In my many years of working with people on their spiritual journeys, one objection raises its head over and over again:
I don’t have any time!!!
I get it. I really get it. After all, before I had a job and a toddler and a business and the responsibilities of a spiritual community and my neighborhood community… Oh. Right. Well, before then, I was normally working 20-30 hours a week while doing either a Masters degree (or the year I was doing 2 Masters at the same time for different schools), or other post-graduate research and teaching, or I was working full-time and volunteering about 20 hours on the side.
So I get it. Not only do I get it, but I actually LOVE being busy. So I’m not going to sit here and rant and rave about the dangers of busyness (although if you’re really into that, you could read about that here or here or here). Because I get that your life, most likely, has commitments and things going on that you actually have chosen to be a part of. Right now, I’m at one of the busiest points in my life, and while I can feel overwhelmed sometimes, in general I’m thriving and super charged!
But to be completely frank with you, the reason I’m able to sustain my super-charged, completely busy lifestyle is the conscious choice I make each day to ground myself in my spiritual journey. By focusing on the Presence in the Present, I find myself able to keep all those balls juggling.
And the time commitment can be minimal – in just 5 minutes, you can radically change your awareness, your balance, your sense of purpose and productivity. Honestly, these are five minutes that you can do after you hit your snooze button on your alarm in the morning, or when you’re brushing your teeth. Five minutes that you can do while you’re brewing your coffee. While you’re sitting in traffic. And I’ve made it even easier for you by providing a downloadable mp3 that walks you through the process.
So, without any further ado, here are 3 steps – in 5 minutes – to keep the Presence in the Present and give yourself the needed spiritual juice to keep those balls flying in the air.
1. Breathe – one minute
It seems so simple, right? We do it automatically. It’s an instinct. But studies show that there are enormous benefits to conscientious breathing. Even one minute of conscious breath can change your mood, improve circulation, and in general improve your day. Use an egg timer, or download this free audio mp3 to help you keep time. All you need to complete this exercise is the ability to count to 3, and your willingness to give up one minute of your time.
As you breathe in, count to three. Hold your breath for three seconds, then exhale over the count of 3. Then hold for another 3 seconds. Repeat this process five times.
Amazing, right? So simple. Ready for another one?
2. Gratitude – one minute
In this exercise, we simply take one minute to be grateful for something – anything, really – that catches our attention in the moment. If you are brushing your teeth, you could be grateful that you don’t have any cavities. If you are stuck in traffic, you could be grateful that you have some alone time to think and reflect. If you are waiting for coffee to brew, you could be grateful for coffee. Easy, simple. Just start with “Today, I am thankful for…” and insert your thing into that moment. Then, if you still have time, repeat the process. For example, this morning I was thankful for coffee, my daughter’s laugh, friendship with a someone I’ve known for over twenty years, and that the weather is a bit cooler and cloudy – my favorite!
That’s two minutes, now. You’re almost there.
3. 5 senses – two minutes and thirty seconds
This one takes a bit more awareness, and if it’s something you haven’t done before, I recommend that you try a guided meditation the first time. But it’s not really complicated. It just takes intention. In this exercise, you focus for 30 seconds on each of your five senses. All you are doing is cultivating an awareness of your experience. There’s no judgment or emotion attached to this process, it’s simply data-collection. If you find that you’re having an emotional response, that is completely ok, but recognize that this is a different process and a different practice for your spiritual journey. For this one, we are simply observing.
Sight – what are you looking at? What colors, light patterns, and shapes do you see? Does anything stand out to you? Is it clear or blurry?
Sound – what noises – or silence – do you hear in the background? Is there music playing, or do you hear birds singing? If it is silent, what does it sound like?
Smell – are there smells in your vicinity? Can you smell yourself? Is it something recognizable or familiar? What does it remind you of?
Taste – have you had anything to eat or drink recently that lingers? Is it bitter, sweet, sour, salty? Does it remind you of something? Is it familiar?
Touch – what sensations are you feeling in your body? Do you have pain anywhere in your body? What textures or textiles are in your vicinity. What are the parts of your body touching at the moment? Are your feet grounded – on what kind of surface? Are you sitting – on what kind of seat?
30 seconds isn’t much for this exercise, but it’s a great place to start. As you develop these muscles, you’ll find you’re able to spend a few minutes on each one with ease.
We did it! 5 minutes to a better spiritual practice!
Actually, it’s only 4 minutes and 30 seconds of actual meditation, so you have an extra 30 seconds to relax and smile, knowing that you’ve just done yourself a huge favor – body, soul, and spirit
If you’d like to download your free mp3 guide to this process, or subscribe to receive updates, please feel free to signup by clicking the image below: