A lot of people get disillusioned with their spiritual practices because they feel they are working hard at it with little or no results. The first thing to point out here is that the minute your meditations become a means to an end, you have already missed the point. There is no action-reaction, activity-reward program going on in the spiritual realm. Meditation is done for its own sake, and in letting go of all desires and expectations you will find what you think you are looking for.
However, having said that, it is also true that if spirituality is important to you, it will be reflected in your life in how much of your time is dedicated to yourself and your inner world versus what is dedicated to the external world. Participating in the activity below will help you to see how much the external world is demanding your attention. This is why all the great Masters are always saying that there are plenty of teachers but very few dedicated disciples.
To get an idea of where your spirituality lies on your priority list, try actually making up your priority list as follows. I recommend doing this on your computer so that you can copy-paste as you need to adjust the list:
Make a list of everything you might do in a week. Include things like shopping (groceries, clothes, gifts etc), socialising (incl phone calls, emails to friends etc), eating (incl preparing food & washing dishes), travel (incl getting to work and back), sleeping, spiritual practices (incl meditating or attending church / temple / satsang, reading spiritual books, conscious breathing, etc), bathing & dressing (incl make-up, hair, brushing your teeth etc), working, entertainment (watching tv, movies, playing games, reading), sport or exercise, family time, etc.
Then allocate the amount of time spent on each activity every week. If it is something you do daily, like brushing your teeth, its easier to first figure out a daily time and then multiply this by seven. Be honest with yourself. Don’t say that you spend 2 hours a day on exercise (you wish) when in fact its more like 15 minutes.
Then rearrange your list with the activity you spend the most time on at the top and that which you spend the least on at the bottom, and number them starting with 1 for the top priority.
Your list will end up looking something like this:
1. Sleeping - 56 hours
2. Work - 35 hours
3. Eating – 35 hours
4. Bathing – 14 hours
5. Spiritual – 12 hours
6. Entertainment – 5 hours
7. Exercise – 1 hour
The last task is to face up to where your spiritual practices fall on your priority list. You can then also use the list as a brainstorming session to see where you could increase awareness in other areas of your life to start moving spirituality up to Top Priority!
Some ideas to get you going:
- try downloading talks by your favourite spiritual teacher on You Tube and watch these instead of arb TV
- read a spiritual book instead of a novel
- buy audio books by spiritual teachers and listen to these in your car or on your ipod as you travel to work
- sleep for an hour less and dedicate this time to meditation
- do all your arbitrary tasks like brushing teeth, shopping and doing dishes in a state of awareness
- take up a spiritually inclined exercise program like yoga or tai chi
- socialise with people who have similar priorities to you and with whom you can chat about spiritual topics
The list should give you a good idea of what is really important in your life, and can be a great exercise not just for your spiritual life, but also for seeing where other areas of your life could use some increasing in priority. To use the exercising as an example, you may be trying to lose weight but see that eating is #1 on your list and exercising falls to #15!
Remember, life is your spiritual practice – anything done in awareness will not only raise spirituality to the top of your priority list, but will also raise your level of consciousness.