How I nourish my spiritual self


Day 6: How I nourish my spiritual self

“My spiritual self” – what does that curious phrase mean? I think that maybe it means something like “the part of me that feels in connection with the world around, and the people and other beings within it”.

Perhaps my most important spiritual practice is spending time in nature: walking in the mountains or on the beach, and swimming in wild places, rivers, sea and lochs. We’re blessed with such beautiful, fragile wild places here in Scotland! Swimming in particular is a powerful spiritual experience: an intense shock, waking me up, bringing my right back to the here and now, being held by the ocean.

I also have a more conventional mindfulness meditation practice. At present I’m using the Waking Up app, by Sam Harris (with contributions from lots of other teachers) – I really like his straightforward approach. Using an app really helped me develop a meditation habit: getting into the swing of just doing it every morning without making excuses of “I’m too busy” or “I don’t feel like it today”. Sometimes I’ll sit with housemates and we’ll read a poem and then sit in silence for half an hour.

Quaker Meeting for Worship is also important for me: it’s another kind of meditation practice, but something we do as a group. We start in silence and sit for about an hour, but anyone who feels moved can speak out of that silence.

I also like to celebrating the festivals that mark the wheel of the year: we’ve recently marked Imbolc, the time when the first signs of spring begin to be visible (here in the northern hemisphere at any rate). This is something we do as a household: we might light candles, have a fire, share some special food, and share songs and reflections appropriate for the time of year.

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