COMPONENTS OF HOLISTIC LEARNING
By Dave Till and Christine Lines
This is the tenth article in our series on Holistic Learning, to read the introduction and view the other components to follow please click here.
10. Spiritual Practice
If individual spirituality is acknowledged as the leading edge of the holistic process, a spiritual practice becomes invaluable.
Regular meditation, excursions into nature, singing, dancing, yoga, writing or parenting can all become a spiritual practice. These are practical methods of cultivating an awareness of the higher self, and can be quite different to a religious practice that may depend on a belief system and strict rules.
Dave Till shares, “I use my own creative writing, poetry and performance as part of my spiritual practice. Other people may use gardening or listening to music. The spiritual self is alive and well if it is acknowledged and we take time to listen to the wisdom it shares. Better still, if we acknowledge that the spirit has a role to play all day long in everything we do, then we create the basis for a truly holistic life.”
Here at the Findhorn Foundation there is the practice of using spiritual principles in every moment thus making life itself a spiritual practice. Perhaps this is the most important foundation of all, but what exactly is spiritual practice? Is it simply an approach to life, recognising the spirit within and all around us? If this is so, then every task we undertake can be an expression of love or as Peter Caddy, co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation would say, “Love in action.”
Whether we’re performing a daily chore such as doing the dishes, or immersed in our favourite pastime or creative outlet, such as hiking in the hills or painting in the studio, we can bring present moment awareness, to connect with our inherent joy and enthusiasm for life, and ‘lose ourselves’ in the art of simply being.
For several years I organised yoga and meditation retreats, fully aware I wasn’t the most disciplined of students. However good my intentions, my daily sitting had a life of it’s own and I knew deep down I was never going to be dedicated to my yoga mat. I focused on cultivating mindfulness in daily life instead and relaxed my inner critic that suggested spiritual practice needed to look or be a certain way.
We all have our unique path to follow. Spiritual practice is personal and yet can be shared in our way of being. The Findhorn Foundation is in many ways a modern day monastery where people can be in the world without withdrawing completely and live a life of service and commitment to spirit, based on the practice of inner listening to “the still small voice within,” the spiritual principle represented by co-founder Eileen Caddy.
At the heart of all paths and traditions, there is a common ground and ancient truth. Spiritual practice serves to strip away the confusion and turn our attention inward. In this way we can contemplate and transform our thoughts and actions, align with spirit and recognise our perfect imperfections. By embracing ourselves and each other together we create a more peaceful world. Dorothy Maclean, our third co-founder, expresses it succinctly, “Spiritual practice? It’s simply all about love.”
Each week we will introduce a new topic. Please feel free to add your views and comments to expand on it more fully.
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