Lesson 1, Topic 1
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Spiritual Practice as Effortless

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Spiritual Practice as Effortless

Introduction

In today’s session together, you will be invited to consider your basic perception of “having a spiritual practice.” You might have considered all the many well-documented benefits of having a regular spiritual practice—lower blood pressure; lower heart rate; less anxiety; lower cortisol levels; and increased feelings of general well-being.


However, you might also carry a sense that spiritual practice is “hard,” or that it is “tedious,” or that you are “just not that good at this kind of thing.”

 

But what if spiritual practice was easy or effortless? And what if when you engaged in spiritual practice you felt known and loved?

 

Richard Rohr said: “The people who know God well—mystics, hermits, prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator.” This spiritual practice will open you to God’s love as you release all other expectations about spiritual practice and simply rest in Divine Presence.

Sequence

Sit in a relaxed posture both at ease and alert.

Close your eyes or look down softly. 

Bring your awareness to the sensations of your body.
Allow your breath to deepen – breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Again a few more times– breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.
Shoulders relaxed.
Facial muscles at ease. 
Allow your mind to quiet and open to the deepest wisdom within you.
With your body grounded and your mind clear, soften your heart space and sense your deepest authenticity.
In this state of presence, imagine yourself at a trail head—with a beautiful sign that says: “Your Journey to Fullness.” You have decided to go on this trail today but you also know you need to leave some things behind—some ideas that often seem to weigh you down on this particular journey.
You notice a treehouse nearby—and you decide that you are going to put up in that treehouse all the ideas that might be barrier to your spiritual practice journey.
With some tenderness, put these away in the treehouse as you begin again. These barriers might include ideas like: thinking spiritual practice is hard; I do not have time in my life for this; I have never been good at this kind of thing.
Imagine that you turn to the trail with your mind completely clear, your heart flowing with warmth and your body ready for a new journey.
As you walk on this new trail, imagine that those treehouse barriers have less and less pull on you as you walk. You feel lighter and more and more at ease with each step on this journey.
Pause
You come around a curve and see an inviting hammock . . . and you climb in and melt into it. You feel completely safe and held.

You sense, as you gently rock in the hammock, that you are being held by God—by the goodness and grace of Divine Presence.
Stay here for awhile.
Experience letting go into God’s Love for you.
Pause
Hear the words of Jesus as you linger just a bit longer in this hammock:
“Abide in me and I abide in you.” – John 15:4
Pause
When you are ready, return to the trail head.
You have experienced an effortless “hanging out” with God—which is really what all spiritual practice is about!