Adam Snider

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Practices’ Category

New Blog: Daily Disciplines

In Spiritual Practices on January 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

I’m not sure how many people still read this blog, if any, but I did say that if I didn’t start posting more either here or on a new blog within the first week of January, that you should all kick my ass.

No one has kicked my ass, despite the fact that, if you read this blog, it will appear that I haven’t done so.

However, I have started a new blog surrounding some of the things I discussed in my previous post. It’s called Daily Disciplines and it is where I am doing most of my “spiritual” blogging now.

I’ll likely keep this site up and running for some of my more personal and/or introspective stuff, but Daily Disciplines is the main focus for the time being. Please check it out: http://www.dailydisciplines.net.

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A New Spirituality for a New Year

In Spiritual Practices on December 29, 2010 at 12:35 pm

As the New Year approaches, I have begun reflecting on the year gone by and looking toward the year to come.

In that regard, I’ve been thinking a lot about my spirituality. This mostly falls into the “looking toward the year to come” category, but there is some reflection to be had, too.

First, the reflection.

My spiritual practices have been all but non-existent in the past year. One thing that I set out to do at the beginning of 2010 was to read the A Year With Rumi: Daily Readings from beginning to end, one poem a day, as intended. This didn’t happen. I lasted for a few weeks, at best, and then lost the practice.

More recently, I’ve tried to take up the practice of meditation. Again, I did really good for a week or two and then I let it fall by the wayside.

Essentially, I left the discipline out of spiritual discipline.

In the new year, I hope to recover that missing element. I’ve got a few spiritual “goals” in mind, which will require some discipline:

  • Reading from A Year With Rumi on a daily basis;
  • Reading the entire Bible, following the “Reading the Bible in One Year” guide in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible;
  • Meditating on a daily basis; and
  • Attending church regularly.

The last one shouldn’t be too difficult. I already do this. This weekly discipline is easy for me to fulfill. I already know that I get value out of it. Plus, it’s also a social outing, since I have friends at church who I enjoy seeing on a regular basis (some of them, due to differing schedules, are people whom I only see on Sundays).

The other items on the list require some amount of effort and discipline on my part.

I haven’t been so good at maintaining discipline—spiritual or otherwise—in my life, recently. About the only discipline I maintain is making sure that I get my ass to work everyday. And, honestly, a large part of the reason that I can maintain that discipline is because I have someone else holding me to it (i.e., my boss). If I worked for myself, at this stage in my life, I’m not sure I’d do well.

I would like to be self-employed someday, though, so training myself to be disciplined will be good for me in ways that are practical, as well as in ways that are spiritual.

I’ll be chronicling my efforts with maintaining these disciplines throughout the year—this will, itself, be another discipline to maintain. Despite the research indicating that sharing your goals can make it harder to actually achieve them, I’m hoping that writing these things down and making an effort to share my efforts on a regular basis, I will actually hold to these and other disciplines that I want to begin/maintain throughout 2011.

I’m currently debating whether or not I should create a new blog for this. I have this grand idea in my head of starting one of those “personal development/self-improvement” blogs based on my daily spiritual practices. Making a lot of money off of such a blog would be great, but I have no illusions about that.

I know that it’s an over-saturated niche; I’d be doing it mostly for myself, but also because I truly want to share my experiences and ideas with others.

Somehow, using this blog for that purpose doesn’t seem like the right way of going about it.

This blog, I feel, is more of a personal thing. And it doesn’t just talk about my spiritual disciplines and the things that I learn from them. It talks about going to church. It talks about what I think god might be. It talks about whatever I damn well feel like, to be frank.

It’s less focused than I’d want this new blog I’ve imagined to be.

I’ll let those thoughts stew for a while. In the meantime, I’ll be practicing my disciplines and writing about them—whether here or elsewhere. If you don’t see me writing about these things (or announcing a new blog) within the first week of the New Year, please kick my ass…hard.

Meditation as Therapy

In Spiritual Practices on November 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I have taken to meditating, lately, as a spiritual discipline. I find the quieting of the mind and body to be a valuable experience.

It opens me up to the possibility of spiritual experiences—whatever those may be—and I find it to be rather therapeutic. It centres me and calms me before or after a hectic day. It reduces my stress levels and I find that I am more able to “not sweat the small stuff” when I’ve made a point of meditating that day or the day prior.

Recently, I have thought about the possibility of sharing this valuable and therapeutic practice with others, as a meditation guide/teacher.

I’m obviously not really experienced enough to do this in any meaningful way, and certainly not in a way that I could turn into a business (hey, a guy’s got to eat, right?). So I have been looking for ways to gain more formal training and experience in this realm.

There are a few ways that I could probably approach this. The first would simply be to attend various classes and retreats. Learn by doing and build my own knowledge base as a result.

The second way, which would be more conducive to setting up some sort of therapeutic practice, would be to pursue a graduate degree in Counselling and then add some meditation and spiritual training on the side. This way, I would have the skills to be a true, professional counsellor, while also having the added bonus of being able to bring a holistic element to my practice, in the form of guided meditations.

With this second option, I’d also have the option of pursuing the degree from a distance, while maintaining my current job (and, in fact, my current employer would pay for a portion of my education).

The third option that I have seen is to pursue a Holistic Health Practitioner diploma from MacEwan University.

When I first discovered this third option, over the weekend, it seemed intriguing and like a great opportunity. However, upon closer inspection, it seems to be filled with a lot of pseudo-science that I just can’t get behind. I cannot take seriously a 3-term course about the therapeutic value of “flower essences.”

I try not to be judgmental about people’s spiritual beliefs, but when you start claiming that your mystic/spiritual beliefs are science, well, I find it very hard to respect that. And I can’t imagine throwing my time and money at something that I could only take half-seriously, in order to gain a designation that would allow me to be “qualified” to do the type of work that I’m considering.

What, then, does one do? It’s either option one or two, I suppose.

Either way, I’ll need to figure out where and how to get the training to develop and use guided meditations as a therapeutic tool. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find anything about this online. All of my Google searches turn up results about yoga classes. Either that, or they turn up a lot of wooey New Age stuff that claims to be science when it is, in fact, little more than a pseudo-science.

Where, then, do I begin to look for these resources? How, then, do I begin to find the teachers/courses that I would need in order to gain the sort of knowledge that I’m seeking?

If you have any information to help me along this path, I would really appreciate it.