By Jolene Baney
What does “Spiritual Practice” mean?
For me, it brings to mind my time as a basketball player, running drills over and over again, to prepare for the big game. Every year, we catch “March Madness,” witnessing the passion of those few college players who make it to the Sweet Sixteen. A lifetime of dedicated practice has prepared them to perform at the top of their game.
So in life, is it the same? Do we need to practice to be ready to play the game of life? Don’t we just have to show up and be “spiritual”?
In one sense, yes; we are all born as perfect beings. Babies seem to have that pure loving heart – trusting and joyful, expressing emotion from a place of non-judgment. But then, somewhere along the way, we lose this innocence. As adults, we must continuously clear out the vessel – our own thoughts and actions – through a daily practice of prayer, meditation, and gratitude. For those of us in recovery from addiction, this is a cornerstone of our successful partnership with health and wellness. In the game of recovery, we have to play until the final buzzer sounds!
Several years ago, I went through a very difficult time, with three immediate family members faced with near-death medical emergencies, one right after the other. To top it off, the death of my mother and treasured aunt was thrown into the middle of it. As I moved through the emotional, mental, and physical effects of these experiences, every moment was a conscious decision to let faith guide my choices – not fear, not doubt, not anger or sadness, and not physical exhaustion and depletion. Faith. Because I have a daily spiritual practice, I was ready when life threw me the ball and shouted, “Game ON!”
It was a long and intense game, but in a strange way, I enjoyed playing it, knowing faith was my teammate. I didn’t play a perfect game, far from it, but in the process I found moments of grace, and in grace, saw beauty and purpose in the experience. Just like a child, I had the faith to believe that life is good, loving, and joyful.
So how does one practice their spirituality?
What are the spiritual drills that keep us on top of our game?
Just like in basketball, you don’t learn how to play by sitting on the sidelines! It takes intention, commitment, focus, and spiritual practice. Take a personal development workshop, go to your twelve-step meetings, deepen your meditation practice, journal, read a book, make decisions that evolve you. All help in gaining insight into what it means to lead your best life, to sharpen your spiritual skills. You’ll then be prepared to suit up, show up, and play when life yells, “Game ON!”