We heard again and again that people would have amazing, transformative experiences at Clear Sky, and then inevitably struggle to recreate this strong container for themselves in their daily lives.
It’s understandable. After all, we can only spend so much time in retreat; most of our time is spent in everyday activities, with the inevitable busyness and distractions. And this is where our energy leaks and where, despite best intentions, we lose focus on our spiritual aspirations.
Yet, we know it doesn’t have to be that way.
In 2015, we started what became an 18-month project to answer a question; How do we help people maintain nourishing spiritual practice in their day-to-day life?
Through this project, we came up with five principles to help people feel support like that of a retreat centre, a concept we call a “spiritual container.” What we share here, we’ve taken from what works at Clear Sky, and in our lives away from Clear Sky, to contain the magical exploration we call our spiritual life:
Have you noticed how you feel when you enter an environment, like a Zen Garden, that’s beautiful, spacious, and well-cared for? There, it’s no accident that your mind naturally moves towards calm, curiosity and joy. Right there, in that ‘aah’ moment, you’re feeling the aliveness and focus of attention to detail.
Without a healthy outer structure, it’s hard to maintain the energy for sustained growth and breakthrough. Consciously chosen structures and routines – counter-intuitive as it may sound – give you a tremendous amount of freedom. They also give you the space for creativity, and where you can form new, healthy habits.
With conscious and skillful speech – and by being aware of our effect on the space – we can co-create a loving, honest container where deep connections can happen. What comes out of our mouths, or doesn’t, has a powerful effect on the space we share with others. Do we listen, for example, and create a safe space where others can speak from the heart? Or do we fill the space with unnecessary words? Do our words open up a space for inquiry and creative conversations, or do we close things down by defending a fixed view?
Each time you bring outer clarity to a major aspect of your life, you free up enormous amounts of energy. This energy is otherwise is locked up in anxiety, or leaking away through distraction. Need some examples? Cleaning up your blocks and views around money frees up energy. Learning to prioritize and manage your time well – including time for playfulness – frees up energy. Gaining clarity of why you are here – uncovering your unique life’s purpose – frees up energy.
That whole independence thing – it’s an illusion. Yes, the spiritual path is an inner journey, one that you must ultimately do alone. Yet, with others your container for practice becomes more loving, strong and rich. It connects you to a deeper joy and vibrancy that comes with learning together, gives you compassionate feedback, and when you need courage to meet your shadow, the shared vision and support of others helps get you through.
By paying attention to both our outer world and our inner world, we create a balanced and supportive container for our energy and growth. Sign up to our mailing list, and get a free three-page guide of tips on when you’re feeling stuck or off balance.
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