How to focus on spiritual practices when pressed under work deadlines

[Solved]

7

I would like to know from people whose jobs/businesses require long working hours/tight deadlines, or householders who are pressed to care for the elderly and kids.

I personally fail to stick to my spiritual/chanting practices when there is a tight deadline or work-related stress. Even if I am in chanting practice I would still be thinking about my algorithm or problem at hand to solve. My chanting or time spent in meditation would be very low quality.

How to break free of this pattern?.

14 Answers
27

My husband is well suited to answer this question but he's not active on this forum. So, his spokesperson-wife will answer it on his behalf! 😊 

My husband holds a senior position in a reputed but super stressful company. He puts in 11-12+ hours of work each day and even works on the weekend. Still, he has managed to sneak in plenty of spiritual practices into his life.

1. He has a solid morning and night routine. He sleeps and wakes up at the same time every single day, with utmost discipline and no excuses. That discipline helps him deal with his mind well.

2. My husband's day starts at around 3:30 AM and ends at 9 PM. For 2-3 hours in the morning, he meditates, dedicates time for his workout, reads books, and even practices his hobby. The morning time, before starting the busy day is perfect for quietening the mind. So, that's his mental and physical training time. 

3. He doesn't have the time for lengthy Sadhana, so he tries to do his work with utmost mindfulness throughout the day (which acts as a great Sadhana in itself).

4. He spends as much time as possible with his son and me. He takes care of mandatory work-related and family-related socializing. Besides that, he stays away from public interactions and social forums. That gives him a ton of time for his spiritual practices.

5. Since he can't help society by giving time, he treats his work as social service. His employees love him because he acts as their mentor more than the boss. Also, the money he brings home takes care of so many poor people besides his family. By doing all of that, he follows Karma Yoga (which is a great spiritual practice).

6. From what I understand, he chants whenever he has free time too. I'm not sure about this, because we keep our religious aspects private even from family. Until Swami encouraged me to write for the sake of society, none knew anything about me as well, because that's an aspect between the Divine and an individual.

I hope that helps in some way. At times, my husband reads a little bit on this forum due to his love for Swami. If he sees this write-up, I'm going to be in deep trouble. Still, I've braved the Leo of my home in the hope that his spiritual practices may help you (and others who read this).

12

My answer is specific to chanting sessions. I have and I face this challenge everyday.

How to break free this pattern? This is my approach and its kind of working for now - Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that we have 16 -18 waking hours in a day.  And the hours get divided into work, family, social responsibilities. Having a list of priority (based on your definition of duty) helps me take decisions on allocation of time. Every upcoming day is different, so best is to take each day as it comes - to do that, every night take out time and write down the next day hour by hour ( I also put 'combing my daughter's hair' in my calendar :D, I know its a bit extreme, but that actually works). Doing this exercise helps me tone down my expectations and helps me stay realistic. When I follow through the day, even if things dont go according to the plan, I feel at peace. And that helps me focus in the chanting sessions. In a week or two you would know how much commitment is possible for you in the given present time to your sadhana based on scheduling. You can then pick up sankalpa with confidence. And its amazing, that you will be able to account every minute of your day. 

Ironically, its during the chanting sessions, the best of the ideas and solutions come to my mind that I am trying to solve at work. And its very difficult then to continue with the session. Writing down on the notepad at that moment, helps to come back to the session. Visualise the diety of your mantra and see her smiling at you, it works like magic 🙂

I would highly recommend doing pranayama and trataka daily, its auxiliary but helps you go extreme in your efforts 🙂 I follow the combination we were taught in meditation camp ( Om chanting -Anlom Vilom - Kapalbhati - Vase Breathing) and if you have the appetite, then do 3 rounds (108 chants of your mantra in each session of anlom vilom). 1 round on an average can take 10-15 mins, so set aside 45 mins for breathing sessions. With this you will be able to do more than what you do today for sure. Example: when I drive to drop my daughter to school, I am able to do one round of mala mentally ( one way to school, that helps me do two rounds of mala by the time I am back) Ofcourse, this changes every day because some days my daughter wants to talk to me and at that moment I give up the chanting. Sometimes she plays music in the car, and then I focus on chanting. YES! I can chant mentally even when the music is on with good concentration. I could never imagine being able to do that. All credit to Pranayama and Trataka. 

Pankaj, I hope this answer gives you some new insights. I am sure you would be doing more than what I shared above, sorry if I have repeated with already what you do. 

Wishing you beautiful sessions of chanting, may you reach the most intimate relationship with your diety.

9

Make a pact with your God. Tell your God:

"Beloved! I have a lot of work to do, a family to take care of, kids screaming in my ears...being that You are my beloved, I invite you to come into every aspect of my life and live every aspect with me...Oh and also, let that "living together" with Thee be my sadhana."

Why compartmentalize our lives and take out time in segments for each compartment? Live life with your beloved Lord! Work, play, family, junk food....enjoy all of it with your beloved Lord! 

7

Geet gaa kar.

4

I personally started with the Black Lotus app. I did the short 8 to 10 min meditations and built up a routine ( it took a few attempts, its normal that we might fail to build a routine on first attempt). 

My brain might not have been able to accept committing an hour to spiritual practice but it could accept 10 mins a day. 

Over the years I built on that and slowly increased my practice. 

My suggestion is starting small, whatever your goal is. 

This may or may not be applicable but if you have someone you see as your Guru, taking some kind of sankalpa and giving your word to them can be a tremendous force that will help keep your resolve. I say this because later on when I wanted to do Sadhana and wasn't 100% sure I would be able to do it, I think the sankalpa is what really kept me going. I think one can take Sankalpa not just for Sadhana, but for any spiritual practice. 

Hope this is of some help and wishing you best Pankaj Ji 🙂 

3

Pankaj... I am not the best person to advise,  but maybe this could help. I try to listen to some devotional song / Vishnu sahasranama in the morning as I do my chores. I may not give full attention to it, but at least one name strikes my attention ( And Bhagwaan has said that even one name is enough in his remembrance😉😉 ) I chant as I drive to work ( mind you...lots of distractions, some days I don't even know am chanting, but still I carry on) some days are calm and devotion is deep, some days mind is very stormy, and thoughts are running wild... But it's ok, I go on... ☺️☺️

3

If - 1) Chant while doing other activities.  Follow your heart, sometimes you will feel a pull to chant, and you can do it effortlessly while doing other tasks.

Else - 2) If you don't feel the pull, worry not. Make it a habit, and chant say along with your daily walk, or writing answers on Os.me or anything else

    • Just like you thinking of your algorithm, one day you will be doing chanting effortless or thinking of chanting doing other items.

ps: The If/Else block is specially for you Pankaj 🙂 

2

about the work you are doing for your organization or client. Have a feeling of helping them/serving them by solving their issues. That in itself is a big kind act. The way you respond to emails itself feels like you have empathy and humbleness for their reactions. When you spend time at the office, imagine that your earnings are feeding many people (your donation and your family), which is a wonderful act of kindness in and of itself.

If you feel that your work itself is a spiritual act, then there is nothing to do extra. Be kind & forgive the people who harsh with you. Be gratitude towards who are helping in your job (including your family)

just take a goal in Black Lotus and go with flow...this keeps you and make you wealthy in spiritual

2

I had the same issue for a very long time. After much experimentation I realized all of it was one big excuse. I have worked at a fairly high position in many reputed MNCs with many 12-14 hour work days, so I do understand the work load that you talk about. However, all it takes is mental and physical discipline for around 30-40 days - you will reach a point where you will feel empty without your sadhana no matter what you may have dealt with the previous day. Granted, it is tough. Many times I felt like giving up, I used to think - what's the use of all this, I'm not that great that I will get anywhere doing this, it's just a waste of time etc. etc. But I kept at it, and I have reached a stage where I'm able to devote more than an hour to my sadhana on a daily basis without fail. Just keep at it!

2

I too have the same problem. I have nothing to add. This is a great question and all the answers above are very helpful. Thanks Pankaj for asking this.

2

I personally add my chanting practice to the things I do. For instance, I cook - I chant. I make the bed, I chant- I clean the house, I chant- I wash the dishes, I chant. I'm in the car (not driving, obviously) I chant. And at the end of the day I practice my chanting before sleeping with the Sadhana app. I remind myself, there are 24 hours in a day I am sure I can find some moments for chanting. I hope this helps you find space in your day to add it as well. 🙏🏽

2

There are no short cuts to succeed in your spiritual journey, you have to perform spiritual practices regularly. But when you are a beginner in the spiritual journey, you will come across situations where in you will find hard to focus on spiritual practices. Being pressed under work deadlines in one such scenario but there are some effective ways to manage this successfully.

1. Practise Pranayama: pranayama is an effective exercise to maintain your mind and body in good health. You can perform pranayama when you are pressed under work deadlines. It will calm your mind and help you focus on spiritual practices. Breath is the force behind every action of you and having proper control over your breath will help you stay cool. Ensure you learn pranayama from an authentic master.

2. Plan your spiritual practices: proper planning of spiritual practices will help you find time to focus on your spiritual practices even under pressure. Better follow a fixed time schedule for spiritual practices and see that you follow it religiously. This will set your body clock in motion and it will adjust accordingly.

3. Don’t pressure your mind: avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your mind. If you are tensed you wont be able to perform your spiritual practices and will miss your work deadlines.

4. Believe yourself: don’t lose heart over work tensions, believe that you can handle the situation well. Self-belief can work wonders and will provide you the motivation to handle any situation better. Pressure under work deadlines can be handled better if you believe you can handle it.

5. Make spiritual practices a habit and not a choice: start treating spiritual practice as a habit. Don’t provide yourself the luxury of skipping or postponing it to another day. irrespective of your work load, you will have to do your daily chores like brushing and bathing. Treat spiritual practices at par with them, they must become a daily habit.

0

Spiritual activities helps us to focus & getting inner peace, healing sessions like emotional healing, spiritual healing & soul healing used to reprogram subconscious belief patterns, so you can live a happy life. 

0

I do it early in the morning, so I don’t have to worry about it during the day (and night). Also, like Pillai ji said - Make spiritual practices a habit and not a choice: start treating spiritual practice as a habit. 

I decided that it was a must-do for me. Sometimes the quality of the chanting is not that great, sometimes it’s a rush job, during a flight I chanted mentally while listening to it. Whatever my version is, I do it in the morning everyday.

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