Many of us can entertain ourselves with all sorts of spiritual practices– including drumming circles, crystals, angel cards, energy balancing, chakra cleansing, full moon meditations, singing bowls, prayer groups, and countless other things.

I call it entertainment because we often use these activities to keep us busy and yet they don’t change our lives in any significant way. They become one more thing to keep us distracted.

It’s ironic that these practices that are intended to help us connect with ourselves can actually serve to distract us from what is going on in our lives that keep us disconnected from our Souls.

There is an important difference between using these tools as entertainment and using them for transformation.

With the increasing interest in spirituality and spiritual practices, it’s a difference we need to be aware of.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using these practices for spiritual entertainment as long as they fit with our intention.

For example, I have many women coming to me who have been on a spiritual path for a long time. They may have read a lot of books, attended numerous workshops, and joined different meditation groups without having found what they are searching for. This is because meditation and mindfulness can also be used as spiritual entertainment without resulting in lasting and significant changes.

Expanding our toolkits in the service of our Soul is different than using these practices to keep us distracted from our growth and evolution.

This idea is explored in the book, Living Deeply: The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life. Marilyn Mandala Schlitz, Cassandra Vieten, and Tina Amorok highlighted the findings from the Institute of Noetic Sciences’ decade-long study into transformation.  The study found that a transformation of consciousness comes from “profound internal shifts that result in long-lasting changes in the way you experience and relate to yourself, others, and the world” (2007, pp. 14-15). It goes on to explain that this shift doesn’t make you a different person, rather it helps you connect with who you are at your core “independent of the social expectations and cultural conditioning that had previously shaped” your sense of Self (p. 15).

Imagine knowing who you are and being able to shed all the beliefs and thoughts about yourself that are holding you back from stepping fully into your most authentic and amazing Self.

The authors identified four essential elements for a practice to result in a transformation. When the practices that you’re integrating into your life contain these four elements, you are most definitely primed for transformation. These elements are intention, attention, repetition, and guidance.

The transformation I’m talking about, and that I underwent in my own life, was a process that included these four elements.

When we use meditation and mindfulness for transformation, we’re using the practices to find answers within ourselves.

We will never awaken or connect with our Souls when we don’t have the tools to do so.

Meditation and mindfulness are the only practices I’m aware of that help you look deeply within yourself so you can get to know your Self. They also help you connect with your intuition so you can be guided by your Essential Self.

The practice of mindfulness, which is all about awareness, helps us to see things and feel things we hadn’t previously seen or allowed ourselves to feel. Without the ability to develop this attention and awareness, our lives are primarily about living out pre-programmed conditioning in a mindless fashion.

As Socrates pointed out, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  We must examine our life to change it—and to feel fully alive.

The need for repetition is essential for us to experience the transformation we may not want but know we need. Growing into this new way of being involves creating new habits.

In the same way that one day of strength training won’t transform our muscle mass, one day of meditation won’t result in transformation. Instead, once we begin our short daily spiritual practices, we begin to feel shifts. We begin to feel different inside and more empowered.

It doesn’t take long before we need our daily practices to feel our best. When we get to this stage, the practices become an integral part of our life, much like brushing our teeth.

Having guidance is critical for transformation.

Anyone can lead a meditation and provide a nice experience in the moment, but not anyone can lead a transformation.

Transformation is about integrating what we’re learning into our real life and being different. It’s not about doing more; it’s about being different. This is one area where many women fall short.

In addition to knowing how to do the actual practices correctly, the process of transformation is often hard. Without a mentor we often get stuck, and it takes women longer if they’re trying to figure it out on their own.

Without the tools and the right kind of support, it can feel almost hopeless—as if you’re trying to build a house and you don’t have the tools or the necessary materials. One of my clients put it this way: “The process of change and transformation was really hard. The change was hard because I was seeing things for the first time and I was literally having to go through a period of purging, which was really hard.” It is particularly hard for those of us who have never tuned into ourselves and have spent most of our lives tuning out or focused on other people.

When we learn how to tune in to ourselves and engage in practices that help us shift to a way of being that honors our souls, that’s when we really begin to thrive and not merely survive in our lives.

(Excerpt from the book, Awakening a Woman’s Soul).