Finding Time For Practice

By Rudra Shivananda

One of the greatest difficulties faced by the aspiring spiritual student is the lack of time Timethat we all face in this busy age, especially in the more developed societies. It is one of the ironies that the average adult in the United States most probably has less free time then previous generations due to the stressful work environment and distracting media culture.

Of course, all sincere seekers have heard that maintaining a regular daily practice is the key to success in any of the many spiritual systems and this often leads to doubt in the sporadic efforts they can find in their busy schedule. However, where there is a will, there is a way.

All effective systems of Self-realization incorporate certain meditations that can be performed in any environment that you can close your eyes – in planes, trains, buses, waiting in line at the bank or doctor’s office, during coffee break etc. What is needed is flexibility and determination.

Flexibility is needed to adapt to changing or adverse conditions while maintaining the essence of a practice. Determination is the will to look for and take advantage of any situation that may present itself for a practice session. Flexibility is the ability to modify or break up longer practices into short chunks to fit changing life conditions or emergency situations. Determination is the constant intent to expand one’s consciousness.

It is important to grasp that spiritual practice is not an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. If you are supposed to give 45 minutes to a session but only have 25 minutes, don’t just skip the session, make the most of the 25 minutes. Every little bit helps in spiritual evolution!

There is always some time before a meal that can be taken advantage of, especially, before breakfast or dinner. This helps to maintain a regular routine. Alternatively, take a shorter lunch break by practicing before eating a light lunch. Everyone has a different routines and constraints and must customize their practice accordingly.

Spiritual practice is a marathon, a long-term commitment and should be treated as such with forethought and planning. Make a plan for creating and maintaining this ‘good habit.’ The plan should consist of a series of possible practice sessions.  Start with the ideal session – let us say, it is for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Now make a session set that is only half an hour long in the morning and half an hour long in the evening. How about a fifteen minute long session? What can you do if you only have five minutes to sit on the park bench or a bus stop? What can you do if you have a one hour drive? Plan for these different scenarios and implement the one that fits the situation. You will always have some meditation or practice that you can make use of and so maintain the consciousness towards your spiritual goal.

One cannot make more time than one has, but we can take the skillful means to make the most of the time that presents itself for practice.

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