Spiritual Toolbox (part 1)- Basic Tools
by Maria Calleja
Do you currently find yourself in a Spiritual slump and not knowing how to stop that downward spiral? Well, maybe it’s time to pull out your spiritual toolbox to help raise you from that vibration decline.
Many of us have spent our lives learning about spirituality from sources such as books, classes, seminars and through practices like yoga and meditation. However, when we need it the most, we forget all about these wonderful tools that can help lift us up when we are at our lowest. By going back to basics and revisiting these spiritual tools I would like to create a handy list that you can reach for when you most need it.
So let's talk about the tools:
1. Meditation - This is the usual go to when we think of stress relief, however, for many of us just thinking of sitting in meditation makes us even more stressed. Meditation has been proven to assist us in many ways, not just spiritually, and by forming a constant practice it will help you get into that state more easily no matter the place or situation. However, if you are currently too stressed to meditate or if meditation just doesn’t appeal to you at the moment, then I propose the following; just go sit in a comfortable place, with a straight back preferably, with no distractions, for about 10 minutes.
You can let the mind chatter but don’t get caught up in the story. For instance if you’re sitting there quietly and the mind decides to think about grocery shopping, you can acknowledge the thought, but try not to follow it up with “I have to get milk and bread and where should I go because my usual place has a really unpleasant cashier and I don’t want to get stuck on her line etc etc etc.”
So how do we stop from following the story? This is where the next tool comes in.
2. Breathing - Breathing consists of 4 parts, the inhale, the pause, the exhale and the pause. When we breathe deeply and exhale fully, we not only expel carbon monoxide but we also discharge expended energy. There are many types of breaths but to help the mind slow down the following can be very helpful:
Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4 taking the breath down into your belly causing it to expand, hold the breath for a count of 3 and release it through your mouth with a sigh for a count of 6 and hold briefly.
Do this 3 times and then go back to your normal breathing.
Now you still have 9 minutes left of sitting so if your mind is still chattering you can try to narrow your focus. If your eyes are closed, you can focus on your breathing, think about every breath as you inhale and exhale, or you can try visualizing a calming image. If your eyes are open, you can try staring at a candle, a crystal, a mandala or another point of interest.
However, if this is not working for you, maybe it’s time to pull out tool number three.
3. Sound - Whether it’s listening to sound or making sounds, such as chanting, this will engage the mind and help it focus. Keep in mind that the choice of sound is very important because the vibratory frequency of the sound will affect your vibration as well. If you are going to use music as a background, then soft, instrumental sounds with no lyrics are best because our mind tends to attach itself to words.
Listening to singing bowls or chimes are also helpful because you can try to focus on the notes and follow their vibration. To open up to your inner voice, chanting or reciting mantras such as OM will help to release any stuck energy in your throat and connect you to your personal sound.
But what about those days that you just can’t sit still? Well that leads us to our fourth tool.
4. Movement - Yes you can be moving and still be in a mindful state of tranquil awareness. Again, just as with sound, the choice of movement will make a difference. If you are trying to wind down, then gentle, rhythmic and calm movements would work best.
You can do a walking meditation being aware of each step you take, gentle yoga or Qi Gong movements, even rhythmic belly dancing or just swaying. Movement has the added benefit that it helps pass toxins out of the body and helps release nervous energy. Use your awareness to bring mindfulness to whichever movement you are making.
So, this will be your basic tool kit. Practice each of these tools for a few days, see which ones resonate with you at this moment and leave those that don’t for another time. Be gentle, start with one of the tools and add the others when and if it feels right. Try not to judge yourselves, after all this is not a competition. Strive to be consistent, strengthen your base practice and once it becomes second nature you can add to it.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post which will have additional tools you can add to enhance your practice. The end goal is to be able to layer a few of these tools together which will add their frequency to yours and help you shift and raise your vibration, especially when you need it most.