"You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience." This quote is from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin... 20th century philosopher, mystic, and Jesuit priest. As a spiritual being, you are an extension of the infinite Universal Spirit. The Universal Spirit has become you, embarking on a great journey to experience and enjoy this magnificent universe from your unique perspective.

Remembering your connection with Spirit is at the heart of virtually all spiritual practice. When you are able to remember your connection with Spirit and your spiritual nature - even just a little - you tend to feel more buoyant, more alive... you act with greater clarity and self assurance... you are likely to attract more positive circumstances into your life... and your presence has a subtly uplifting effect on all those you encounter.

Universal Practices for Staying Connected

Most spiritual traditions have included some means of remembering ones connection with Spirit throughout the day. When you see a Buddhist or a Hindu turning a set of prayer beads, that is what they are doing. As they move from bead to bead, they are generally repeating a mantra with each bead... a mantra to remind them of their connection with the Divine.

Instead of using beads as a reminder, some Tibetan Buddhists use a prayer wheel... a cylinder on a stick which turns as they wave it in a circular motion. Written on the wheel is generally the mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum, which means: I am the jewel in the lotus... I am the jewel of pure Spirit dwelling in the lotus of my heart, or the lotus of my body and the physical world. Turning the wheel while repeating the mantra serves as a constant reminder that the practitioner is a spiritual being.

In the more orthodox and mystical branches of Judaism, nearly every facet of life incorporates some sort of ritual or prayer to help one remember their connection with God. This includes special items of clothing, such as the yarmulke or skullcap, designed to remind one of their crown chakra - their connection to Spirit and the spiritual realms - throughout the day. Everything serves as a reminder of the Divine.

In Catholicism and various orthodox branches of Christianity, the rosary is used along with a repetitive prayer, such as the Hail Mary prayer, as a way of staying connected with the Divine.

Muslims engage in formal prayer five times a day in order to maintain their connection, and they too use prayer beads as a reminder.

You don't have to be a follower of a particular religion or spiritual tradition to do this... anyone can choose to stay more connected. All it takes is to incorporate one or more simple practices into your day that will help you remember your spiritual nature. And even if you remember only a few times throughout the day, it is an extremely valuable practice.

Staying in a Higher Vibration

One way to look at this practice is from a standpoint of vibration level. Staying connected keeps you at a higher vibration level, and the higher your vibration is at any given moment, the better you feel, the clearer you are, the more you are in the flow of life.

When you are on a higher vibration level, your awareness is more expanded, and an expanded state is a relaxed and flowing state. The lower your vibration, the more contracted your awareness tends to be, and contraction equals tension, resistance, holding on and stopping the flow.

Fear exists at a lower vibration ~ love exists at a higher vibration.

Upward Pull - Downward Pull

Currently there are two powerful forces effecting us. One force is pulling us upward... working to raise our vibration. The other force is exerting a downward pull, to a lower vibration. There is no reason to label these forces good and evil. They are simply natural cosmic forces - the force of evolution and its opposite force - serving the purpose they were created to serve.

If you observe your changing moods and mental states throughout a typical day, you may notice these opposing forces at work. You have a choice. You don't have to automatically go along when the downward force is exerting itself. You can choose to make a little effort to keep your vibration up. Staying more connected is what will help you do this.

If you choose to make a little effort to stay connected there are various ways to do so. Included below, is a simple but effective exercise you can use. The exercise itself is fairly easy... the trick is remembering to use it. The more often you can remember, the better. But it would be counter-productive to get down on yourself for not remembering.

The exercise will combine two of the most effective and most universally used means for staying connected... breath awareness and the use of mantras. While practicing this exercise, you are not aiming for a clear, deep experience... just a slight awareness that you are a spiritual being... an extension of the infinite Universal Spirit.

A Simple Exercise for Staying Connected

This exercise does not require sitting with your eyes closed. It is designed to practice in the midst of your daily activity, (although it can be used as a sitting meditation as well).

The mantra for this exercise is: I am That
The word "That", as we are using it here, represents Spirit. You are affirming that you are a part of Spirit. I am That is an ancient mantra... used for ages in both eastern and western spiritual traditions. However, if the term "That" does not resonate with you, you can substitute another term - preferably a concise one - such as "Spirit" or "the Light"... I am Spirit, or I am the Light.

Each time you inhale, think "I am That" once.

As you think the mantra, think of the limitless light of Spirit - pure unbounded awareness - focussing here and now, as you - your essence - your pure inner awareness.

Variation 1
You can use the Sanskrit version of "I am That", which is: So Hum
So = That -- Hum = I am (Some traditions reverse the words: Hum So)

Variation 2
You can use "I am that I am", which has the same essential meaning.

When are the best times to practice this exercise?

Anytime you find yourself getting stressed is a good time to take a few moments to re-connect and remember that you are a spiritual being. While you are waiting in line is also a good time - at the market, in the bank or post office, etc. - or when you are "on hold", waiting to speak to a customer representative.

If you can remember to do this periodically throughout your day, it will make a significant difference. There are a variety of good reasons for making an effort to stay connected. On a practical mundane level, it will reduce the amount of stress you pick up in the course of a day. On a more cosmic level, it will accelerate your spiritual growth. But after trying it for awhile, you may simply find it's worth making a little effort to stay connected, because when you do, you just feel better and enjoy life more.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Malloy is a meditation teacher currently living in Gainesville, Florida. Trained in 1973 by the International Meditation Society, Jim has been teaching meditation for 35 years. He has taught meditation classes throughout the western and south-western U.S. and in the U.K., and now teaches in north-central Florida and via the World Wide Online Meditation Center.

He has been practicing daily meditation for 42 years. To deepen his practice and further his teaching skills, he has studied with some of the world's foremost experts on meditation from India, Japan and Tibet... including Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Muktananda, Zen Masters Joshu Sasaki Roshi and Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and the 16th Karmapa.