How many people do you know who have a daily spiritual practice; one that they’ve been doing for many years? Most of us are aware of devotional practices, but how many of us actually put any devotion into practical application? Counting myself, I might know of four or five people who have some form of a spiritual discipline. If we profess to love God, then why don’t we make the time and effort, daily, to show that we do care enough to remember Him?
I personally have been practicing a daily spiritual routine, on and off, for over three decades now. Being a student of A Course in Miracles, I begin my day with a reading from Karen Casey’s Daily Meditations for Practicing the Course, which I keep on the toilet for this very reason. I’ve read this 365 Book daily now for over four years straight. It hammers home, in a simple condensed way, many of the Course’s finer spiritual concepts. This is a good way to start my day, by reminding me again why we are here and what it is all about.
Next, I have my ritualistic morning bath – not shower – to cleanse my body and soul before beginning my sadhana. After drying off, I sit crossed legged on my bed, facing my altar. I too have had an altar, wherever I’ve lived, for over thirty years. On it are pictures of my deceased parents and sister, along with Jesus, Yogananda and Mahavatar Haidakhan Babaji. Other special stones, brass statues and candles decorate the altar. Every home in India has a family altar, which is maybe why I loved India so much. They remember God and their loved ones daily there. My advice is to be creative in designing your own altar. Make one that reminds you of how much you love God and your Self. My altar is not some kind of false idol set-up, but a daily visual reminder of everything sacred to me.
Now it is time to pray. I’ve used this daily prayer my whole life:
Heavenly Father, Divine Mother, Friend, Lord, Beloved God-Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Paramahansa Yogananda and sacred Peyote; I humbly bow to you all. May Thy love and light shine forever, on this, the sanctuary of my devotion, and may I be able to awaken Thy love within my own and within all hearts and bring them to Thee. Amen
Being a singer/songwriter, I sing to God on my two stringed Indian dotara- a simple pumpkin gourd mounted to a long bamboo neck; both strings are tuned the same to produce a hypnotic drone effect. As a devotee of Yogananda and Babaji, I’ve learned many chants over the years, both in English and Sanskrit. I begin with the Gayatri mantra, then the Om Shree Ram mantra, both three times, before concluding with Om Namaha Shivaya in a soulful rendition. I’ve been working with this mantra for many decades now, and chanting it daily has helped greatly to get it programmed into the hard drive of my subconscious. After hearing my own voice sing to God, I then sit quietly to meditate. That is how I start my day, every day, year-in and year-out. I love having a daily spiritual practice and hope others will consider making it an option in their lives too. It’s sweet to return God’s love to Him.
Singer/songwriter Rob Rideout is the award winning author of Still Singing, Somehow. He lives on a farm overlooking Colville, WA with his three cats Baba, Maya and Olive. He just released a second book of poetry, based on his song lyrics and has a CD of original songs scheduled for release May 2011. These songs of three decades are meant to accompany both books. Rob’s books can be viewed or purchased @ www.stillsingingsomehow.com He can be contacted there too.