Following on from my recent post about questions and their value in our spiritual lives, I’ve been thinking about rules.
Rules can also be a useful tool in progressing in the spiritual life. I’m not thinking of rules imposed by outside agencies, but ones that we develop for ourselves (though we may choose to discuss what they might be with a group of people we trust).
Our spiritual lives need discipline to progress, just like an athlete or musician needs discipline to practice regularly; a student needs discipline to study consistently and to submit essays on time; a gardener needs discipline to dig and to sow and then to wait for the fruit and flowers in due course.
So what rules am I imposing on myself at present?
To remember to walk mindfully
To have some quiet time every day – ideally meeting for worship or sitting meditation, but it might be a mindful activity
No more than 15 minutes sitting meditation at one time (there are times when I could just go on sitting for an hour or more and it’s a temptation I feel I need to resist)
No more than an hour sat at the computer (at any one time)
Some practical, hands on, activity everyday (eg food preparation, washing up, gardening, knitting, cleaning – depending on what needs to be done and my physical ability that day)
Write a blog post every week
Go to sangha meetings once a month
To be gentle with myself – if in doubt, rest
What rule might be helpful to you?