Inspirational Articles

Spiritual Practises - April 2017 Newsletter

Spiritual Practises

A Message from Gord Riddell - April 2017

With absolute certainty that Spring is securing her grasp on the Northern Hemisphere and winter again has retired to plot his eventual return, we breath out a collective sigh of relief. It has been a very bumpy winter for a great many people and I am not talking locally but globally. These last months have stressed out many people. Experiencing the uncertainty of the times, the lack of tangible security, the lack of facts whose veracity is questionable, find a place inside our bodies and minds. The unsettling vibrations of stress make us question our own abilities to navigate this landscape to a positive outcome. This is the place and time that we need to embrace our spirituality and be diligent with our own spiritual practises.

Spiritual Practises encompass a great many activities including meditation, prayer, breath work, visualisations, creative expression through art, dance, music, group energy circles, walking in the woods, or by the sea and gardening. These are all active things we can do as part of our spiritual practises. As Carolyn Myss pointed out though, reading a book about spirituality is not a spiritual practise, it is reading! Practises require us to do something and that includes going into silence, into contemplation and self-reflection. It isn’t something you watch from a distance or tune into from an electronic devise. It is something you do, and it doesn’t require practise, you just do it.

While the previous paragraphs dealt with practises we do, there is another part of spiritual practise that involves our mind. It is our attitudes and awareness’s which form a solid foundation in our lives, they also are proving to be pivotal to our mental health. Research studies from such renowned facilities as Harvard University, UCLA-Berkley, Stanford University, UCLA-Davis, NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) all report in study after study, the profound impact of such attitudes or traits as gratitude, compassion, empathy and vulnerability on our mental health. Those who embrace these qualities and work with them as part of their daily spiritual practise showed a substantial decrease in the incidence of depression, anxiety, prescription medications and had minimal hospital stays when compared to the control groups whose members did not practice gratitude etc.

The simple act of being grateful for what we have received in our life, from our health, our friends, spouse, children and fabulous food at the dinner table produce hormonal changes in our brains and that in turn elevates our sense of self- esteem. Reaching out and helping others, not as our job, or money, or for a reward but because someone needs help and you are an obvious choice is indicative of both compassion and empathy. These traits elevate our mood proving what the research is showing, that when embraced, enormous benefits occur for the recipient and the donor.

Our spirituality is the anchor we need so that our soul can fly. It sounds paradoxical but it is not. For our spirit recognizes we are on the earth for a time of learning and it also knows our brains’ ability to try to find truth in people, places and things, where there is none yet hold our self accountable for all that is seemingly slipping through our fingers. Spiritual Practises are our tool kit to ground into who we are. Our immune system is fortified and our heart is embracing and our mind strengthened.

We need to look at the belief that spirituality will change everything about us. We are constantly being encouraged to change, to let go, to transform and that is something we humans don’t do easily, and the fear of being radically different does not encourage us to pursue spiritual practises or even therapy.

However, let me share these ideas: “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you so that you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. The goal is not to change who you are but to become more of who you are at your best.” (found on Pinterest)

I like that idea a lot. Some of us like the idea of change, others do not. It is not our place to judge those who choose to sit and rest for a while. Who knows, at some point it is we, who may choose to sit this next one out. 

I bring April newsletter to a close and wish you strength and resilience in your spiritual practises. May they bring you the calm and clarity we all need in such uncertain times.

Be Well and Live Well

Gord Riddell