There are many magazines, articles, books, and speakers that expound on the importance of making time for a spiritual discipline. Spiritual discipline being anything from yoga, meditation, mindful doodling, or preparing a steamy pot of tea. Authors and speakers encourage the discipline aspect with easy to follow exercises to be added to one’s daily routine, “Carve 30 minutes out of your schedule and de-stress your day!”. Further, they insist on the effectiveness of little daily dedications, “See what a difference just 5 minutes each day can make!”
I’ve been wondering: Can such little time make any difference? Just 5 – 30 minutes a day? Can we make any true headway when our spiritual efforts are squeezed into an already packed schedule, and sequestered to their allotted minutes within the day? Many will say yes; and I agree to a point. I feel that these little moments in a hectic day serve to keep us on an even keel. I believe these moments of quiet introspection through the daily madness help keep our spiritual goals and inclinations at the forefront of our minds as we move through life. On a daily scale, I agree that these minutes make a difference. But are these snippets enough to make deep, lasting change?
Thomas Moore writes that the easiest way to lead a spiritual life is to reduce busyness (pg. 357). We’ve been told that we can do it all. We’ve been told that with planning, organization, and commitment we can become efficient enough to keep our worldly commitments and pursue spiritual goals. But do we actually need more unstructured time instead of a schedule filled to the hilt? Rather than operating at max efficiency, maybe we in fact need to do less. Perhaps if we slow down enough, a spiritual life will find us. Rather than being squeezed in and forced, spirituality will occur organically and be more likely to grow and thrive.
If this is so, then a new set of questions emerge: Is efficient scheduling a hindrance on spirituality with its free-flowing nature instead of a tool to ensure steady progress and practice as we’ve been told? With less pressing on us, could we venture further into the depths of self? If we did less and moved through life at a slower pace would the spiritual life find us? Is our fast-paced, modern lifestyle getting in the way?
What do you think?
Moore, Thomas. The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, 1996. New York, USA: Harper Collins.