Each morning, when I wake up, I switch on the coffee pot (or the tea kettle—I’m trying to replace my coffee with chai. It’s a process.), punch up YouTube on my television (cheerful, morning music), and jump in the shower.
After a few sips of caffeine, I’m ready start my daily spiritual practice.
I live in a tiny apartment, so I have to make the most of my space. I have converted a tiny television stand into an altar. It is important to have a space that is designated for spiritual work. As soon as I kneel before my altar, my mind wakes up and knows something important is about to happen.
My altar holds four important items:
1. a candle. I like having a candle with three wicks. So many good things come in threes—mind, body, soul—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—thought, word, deed…
2. smudging sage to clear the negative energy from this space,
3. some scented oil, (Before I lose my Christian friends, let me remind you that oil is used in the Bible as a tool to indicated the anointing of God and is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Why would I not want some of that?)
4. and a prewritten list of prayer affirmations.
I kneel, straighten my back, and take a nice, long, deep, slow breath.
I light my candle and sage.
I touch a drop of oil to my forehead.
Finally, I read my list of prayer affirmations.
I have included my list below. You will probably want to create your own, but feel free to use anything you see here for inspiration. First, let me explain what the list is and why it is important.
God loves to hear us pray. I pray all the time. I whisper prayers all day at work. I love the idea of being able to talk to God whenever I want. But those prayers are somewhat one-sided, because I am not sitting still and really engaging with God. Also, my casual prayers are not structured at all.
Don’t get me wrong. Yes, prayer should be spontaneous and from the heart, but I also have things that I want to include in a faithful, consistent way. I believe that doing something consistently builds our faith and makes positive ideas second nature. These are things like gratitude, affirmations of strength/patience/wisdom, and reminders of God’s Love and protection.
Here is my list:
Thank you, God for being with me in this moment.
I am hungry for your Love.
Thank you for this body. I am strong and healthy.
Thank you for my progress.
Thank you for everything I have come through.
I am free from bondage.
I am free from fear.
You have broken every chain.
Thank you for my beautiful life.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment.
I surrender my day to the higher good.
May the work of my hands reflect Love.
May the words of my mouth reflect Love.
Every moment of today is working for my good.
I Love you, God, with all my heart.
Your Love sustains me.
Today, I will take one more step on the path you have already cleared.
I have a calling.
I have a purpose.
I have a job to do.
I am Loved.
I am never alone.
Of course, that list can be read in about 30 seconds, but that would defeat the purpose. I want to engage my mind and think about what I’m saying. I read each line over and over until it clicks. There will be a moment when my mind checks in and recognizes the truth of what is being said. These are not just words. They are real. This is really happening.
I usually spend about ten minutes on this list.
When I stand up from my altar, I feel mentally ready to take on the world. I am motivated, confident, and fearless.
Check back for the next post: “Daily Spiritual Practice for Beginners (Part 4: Engaging the body)”.