survive and thrive quote from Maya Angelou
 
Align Yourself With Your Purpose Through Meditation And Prayer
 
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
 
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach 
 
Aligning yourself with your purpose isn't always easy. We get busy. We get stressed out. Let's face it, we sometimes just get distracted by life! It happens to all of us. And when it does, we no longer hear that little voice in our head (or in our heart-space) that tells us what we should be doing instead of feeling so distracted.
 
Without a clear purpose and solid intentions to live our lives around, it becomes all easy to get off course. To find inner peace, though, we have to find a way to get back on track and realign ourselves with whatever purpose we may have in life.

A great way to do that is through prayer and meditation. (I like to use both.)

Spiritual and religious leaders have used these two techniques for millennia. There is a reason why they have remained in use after all these years. Simply put, they work
 
Spiritual leaders of the past (Jesus, The Buddha, Muhammad, Confucious, Krishna), as well as those of the present (Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, etc.), are all examples of those who have come close to perfecting their ability to commune with their higher power by going deep within themselves in moments of profound silence.
 
What all these people have in common is that they have lived or are living purpose-driven lives.
 
You may not aspire to reach that level of spiritual enlightenment (if you do, good for you). But it's good to know that we can take cues from these individuals and learn how to live our lives with a greater sense of equilibrium.
 
Both prayer and meditation allow you to tune out more mundane distractions of day-to-day living. These practices can give you clarity of mind, shutting out the problems of the day that can cause so much inner turmoil.

Once your mind quiets, you can start to listen to that inner voice in your head or your heart-space.

That inner voice tells you what's truly important to you and what you value most.
 
When I am coaching clients on how to find their next career in life, I urge them to go within and seek the inner wisdom that lies there. That is what I did when I made my career change. I used both meditation and prayer to good use during that uncertain time. I didn't know where to turn in my next profession. I was sure of the things I did not want to do moving forward. But I lacked any clarity about what I did want. 
 
Meditation is what finally offered me the answer. The idea of becoming a coach and helping teachers like myself who did not want to teach anymore but didn't know how to plug in the skills and experience we have gained over the years in a new professional endeavor popped up one day and would not go away. I tried to ignore it. I honestly didn't know enough about coaching at the time to think it was even a "real job." 

So, I resisted the notion at first.

But the idea would not go away. Each day that I went into meditation, it came back up. Every time I went to God in prayer, it was there.
 
Finally, I decided that perhaps I should give the notion of coaching serious consideration, and I am so glad I did. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life right now.
 
For me, the "path" seemed to open up right away. I love to tell the story of how within a week of deciding to explore the possibility of coaching seriously, I met a real life coach (my first). She told me that there was a whole group of coaches who met monthly in my city. Who knew? Not only is it a "real job," but it has given me real pleasure in the five years since I started this journey. I can't imagine doing anything else!
 
It doesn't matter what religion or spiritual practice you follow. Maybe you consider yourself a spiritual person rather than a religious one. What matters is the time you put into your meditation or prayer practice. Prayer and meditation can benefit anyone.
 
One of the most accessible forms of meditation is a simple breathing exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere. (I offered the balloon exercise in last week's message as a stress buster. It can help you practice the breathing technique that is so useful in meditation.)
 
No matter what practice you choose, you should find a calm and quiet spot. This will allow you to focus on it and get used to it without too many distractions.
 
Set aside just five minutes at first. Don't try to become an expert on meditation right away. It takes practice. That is why they call it a "meditation practice" after all.
 

Once you've practiced for a little while though, you can use it to calm and clear your mind whenever you need it.

 

zen garden with running water

Here is a simple breathing meditation you can use:

  • Focus on your breath.
  • Try to tune out everything else and focus on breathing in and breathing out.
  • Notice how the air feels flowing through your nose.
  • Pay attention to how your abdomen rises and falls, expands and contracts.
  • Whenever you get distracted, bring yourself back to your breathing.

Don't be disappointed with yourself if your mind starts to wander.

You may start to think of something else. That's okay.
 
Keep bringing yourself back to the breath. Start by practicing it for 30 seconds to a minute and expand the time with practice.
 
Give this a try and see if you find it helpful. To expand your understanding and your practice, read up on other meditation techniques that are available to you.
 
There are lots of great books available on the topic. There are guided meditations and even mobile apps you can download for free or a small fee. YouTube may also offer some great tips.
 
apps - the word written in app icons on white background
 

Click here for a list of the best meditation apps of 2018.

 
Finally, you might like the Top 10 Meditation Techniques for Beginners.
 
Just be sure to give yourself time to develop your practice. Don't be discouraged if you find it difficult at first. Like with anything, you need to give yourself time to learn. You didn't become an expert swimmer or tennis player when you first started out, did you? Of course not. First, you must determine the fundamentals. And then, over time, with practice, you become better and better at it.
 
News and information bombard us at an unprecedented rate. It can be both fabulous and awful at the same time. While it is great to live in an era when we have so much information at our fingertips, it is far to easy to become overwhelmed with all of the noise that vies for our attention. Our brains become log-jammed. Our systems become overwhelmed. We get side-tracked and then wonder why we aren't happy.
 
One way to combat the noise and to find some sense of inner peace and calm is to develop your meditation and prayer practice. It has helped millions of people over the years, and it continues to be something that people want to learn because of its many proven benefits today.
 
Good luck with your practice. If I can help, let me know.
 
Until next time.
 
 
 

Kitty Boitnott
Boitnott Coaching, LLC

Glen Allen, VA 23060
United States of America