Many years ago, at an Al-Anon meeting, someone asked, "Are we human beings on a spiritual journey? Or are we spiritual beings on a human journey?" From A Course in Miracles perspective I would say we are spiritual beings on a human journey. Underneath the limitations of our humanity, there is a boundless Light from which we can live. We can use our human journey as a classroom to learn about our true spiritual nature. There are many practices which can help us grow on our spiritual journey and, depending on your nature and circumstances, one may be more useful than another.

Below I list five practices that can access our Inner Light. Read through them and see if one or more stand out for you. Then focus on the practice to which you are drawn. Set yourself up for success. If you think you are ready to take action, make a plan to do the practice regularly for a specific amount of time. If you feel concerned about your self-discipline, or lack thereof, be gentle with yourself. Read and re-read the practice. Write it down and put it in places where you will see it and read it throughout the day. That alone will strengthen your ability to follow through down the road.

1. Chant. A very simple and powerful way to kickstart your spiritual growth is to chant, or recite, a mantra. You can try "Om Namah Shivaya"-I have been cleansed, balanced and empowered by it, and have offered it to many clients who report great results. Roughly translated it means, "I bow to the Divinity within me" but more important is the potent vibration that Om Namah Shivaya provides. It is pronounced the way it looks. You can search YouTube to hear variations for yourself and choose the one you like best. If you would prefer to use English, try "I am that I am" highly recommended by Sri Ramana Maharshi.

2. Pray. It is said that prayer is speaking to God and meditation is listening to His Answer. Most of us use prayer to beg and barter for what we want, and in this way we miss the point of prayer. A Course in Miracles says that the only meaningful prayer is to request that we be able to recognize what we already are. We already are that boundless Light which is eternal, peaceful, unified Oneness. As we ask God to help us identify with that Light rather than our personal lives, we will have a new perspective on whatever is paining, angering or scaring us.

3. Meditate. Meditation is the second part of prayer. Now we sit and listen. The way to do this is to clear our minds just like opening a door for God to enter. If we sit with the door closed, and get caught up in our thoughts, God has no entry point. When thoughts come, we can give them to God and in this way keep directing our minds back to God. Swami Chidvilasananda says that God is in the space between the thoughts. Just one brief opening and you will have a mystical experience that is beyond words.

4. Move. Some of us are too restless to sit quietly in meditation. There is the option of moving meditation, where we use yoga, dance, or qi gong, for example, to quiet the mind and help us get out of our own way. As long as we control our experience, we are blocking God. When we are willing to let God guide us, then any practice will work for us. Setting an intention to step back and let God lead the way before we start our day will accomplish this.

5. Breathe. Most of us are shallow breathers and don't know how it feels to fully inhale and exhale. We're too busy talking and running around to stop and invite a complete breath to fill us, nourish us, open us to Spirit. Spiritual energy rides on the breath. The breath carries the healing energy, like a train tranporting cargo, and deposits this life energy within us. We can direct it to specific parts of the body if that seems useful, or simply inflate on the inhale all over, like a balloon, and deflate on the exhale to empty the lungs of all toxins and the body of overall tension. There are countless breath techniques, called pranayama in yoga, which you can look into.

These five potent practices are tried and true techniques found in many spiritual teachings throughout the world. The more you do them, the more you learn from your own inner experience. If you would like more tools to help you grow in your spiritual journey, please drop me a request-there are plenty more to share.

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres
All rights reserved worldwide

Author's Bio: 

Amy Torres is an interfaith minister, Gestalt psychotherapist, yoga instructor, and teaches A Course in Miracles, which is the foundation of all her work. Do the Workbook of A Course in Miracles with Amy by watching her read the 365 lessons on YouTube. To see Amy's videos, sign up for her free newsletter, and receive a free gift, visit