There’s this cycle that my spiritual life takes. The bare bones, when I’m practicing the way that is ideal to me, looks a bit like this:
I wake up in the morning and set tea water to boil. While it’s boiling, I stand before my shrine, light a candle, and say my morning prayers. Depending on my mood, and depending on the time of year, these prayers can be formal (I started on a Prayers to Poseidon book last year) or they can be a wordless opening up of myself to His presence, or anywhere in between. I then sit and move through a gentle yoga routine, which is both touching upon a foundational devotional practice and tending to my physical needs. At then end of that I perform the shielding/raising awareness of my connectedness with the worlds/chakra cleansing thing that I do.
Once the tea is steeped, I offer Poseidon the first bit of it. At His insistence, His libation is taken from my mug. If I could tolerate the still very hot tea, I’d have to drink some first before giving His libation, but my teeth are sensitive and so we make do by having it spooned from my mug once I’ve added the sugar and cream, rather than before, so it’s clearly the “same” as what I’m drinking.
Lunch is taken away from my day job, so I have so buffer time, and when I’m not enthralled with either a book or a project, I journal and keep Him in my mind, bringing Him more into my day, and bringing my awareness more in line with Him. There are songs I sing to help with this.
In the evening, there is a “closing of the shrine” which is more like a formal saying goodnight. Depending on the time of year and how I’m feeling, it can be formal or informal and wordless. I wash out the tea mug, I get ready for bed. I’d like to say that I go to bed with Him in the center of my mind, but I go to bed plotting the next bit in whatever writing I’m working on.
The key word here is, ideal. In actual practice, this varies. It fluctuates. But when I’m tending to my needs and when I’m focused in the manner that I strive to be, most of the above happens in any given day. That will continue until something happens. Sometimes it’s a moment of epiphany that shakes me to my core. Sometimes it’s something as mundane as a migraine that outclasses all migraines. What tends to happen is that I let some of the above (sometimes all of the above) slip. I’ve noticed over the years that, if everything else falls away, if I only keep Poseidon in my mind, if I only keep a meditation practice, I don’t stumble as much, or for as long. But, that something does happen, and then, slowly, I have to start building up the practice again. It is always slowly, one piece at a time.
For years I resented this. It made sense, right, when i set things down of my own accord. But those moments of epiphany? When I reach a greater understanding of my God, when I reach a deeper place with Him? Why does that cause me to set things down and move into stillness, in my practice? Why does that not propel me into greater regularity with my acts of devotion? Shouldn’t it do that?
Shoulds aside, it doesn’t. The awe generally moves me into that still place, and I have to build momentum, once again. And, maybe it’s obvious to others, but to me? It’s only been the last year that I’ve realized that this constant return ‘back to the basics’ is a crucial part in integrating those deeper understandings, those moments of closer connection, into my life lived with my mind on my God. It’s gaining new perspective and then going back to the beginning with that new perspective. It’s actually quite awesome. This particular perspective has made me realize that the process of returning to foundational work, again and again, is something that I enjoy, is something that I can now savor. Hurrah for that.