It’s a story we’ve all lived: You have a powerful spiritual experience and you commit–for real this time–to your personal spiritual practices. Perhaps the high lasts for a few glorious weeks. However, what goes up must come down. You get spiritually stuck, and you can’t climb out. Sometimes it’s because you let habits slip, but sometimes it just happens despite your best effort. The next time you feel like you’re spiritually stuck, try these 5 simple steps.
When I sense a barrier to my spirituality, I freak out. I swim against the current, desperately trying to determine how I’ve messed up. Obviously, if I were more spiritually secure, I could’ve prevented this. . . . right? Not necessarily. Fluctuations in spirituality are normal. And even though you don’t particularly love getting stuck in a spiritual rut, self-destruction is not the way out. In fact, it will only burrow you deeper. Kindly beckon your thoughts back to a neutral, curious place.
2. Identify Mental and Physical Roadblocks
When you’re mentally preoccupied, it’s hard to get things spiritually flowing. Are you angry at yourself, someone else, or God? Are you sad or stressed? Maybe there’s an obstacle in your physical body. Have you been eating a balanced diet? Are you sleeping an adequate amount (meaning 7-9 hours a night)? Do you exercise regularly? You are a human being and a spiritual being, and therefore, the various elements of your well-being are interwoven.
This doesn’t mean you have to iron out all your mental and physical kinks before you even start your daily spiritual practice. What it can mean, though, is that you use your stressors as catalysts for spirituality instead of roadblocks. Many people find that reaching out to a higher power can help when they are overwhelmed. Additionally, practicing mindfulness can ease stress and even boost your immune system.
Unfortunately, merely recognizing a barrier doesn’t get you across it, but it does take you to a grounded place. From here, you can contemplate how to get back in the spiritual game. Reflect on your past experiences. When do you feel the most joy? What has connected you to yourself, to others, and to the divine? When have you felt the most like yourself? For me, my most spiritual moments are when I’m surrounded by sacred music, nature, or other people. So when I’m at a standstill, I make a plan to listen to music, spend time outside, or talk with someone else. Listen to your intuition and follow it to devise your game plan.
One reason it’s so tough for me to encounter spiritual moments is that I struggle to make time for them. It’s not on purpose; I just let other priorities pile up until I forget. But when I’m in a minor (or major) crisis, I have to consciously decide that my wellness is worth my time. So I carve out space to reconnect with myself. I set myself up for optimal nourishment by eliminating distractions and combining as many meaningful things as I can. You can do this, too–your wellness is worth your time.
5. Keep Going
One problem with feeling stuck spiritually is that it rarely goes away instantly. Think about it: there’s no quick fix when you’re trapped waist-deep in mud. You will have to move a little slower, a little more deliberately, to get out. And that’s okay! There’s nothing wrong with being stuck in some mud for a little while.
So, if you’re unhappy that your tiny spiritual flame hasn’t exploded into a giant fire after thirty minutes of journal-writing or meditation, adjust your expectations. Patience is a form of faith. It’s not bad to go a little slower; you might see something you missed before. Keep going, trusting that you’ll make it out of the mud soon.