Q: Can you recommend some practical ways of getting back on track with Prayer when the busy world is taking all my time? — Don Nicholson, Bedford, Massachusetts

A: When we’re wrapped up in the world we lose perspective pretty easily. We forget that spiritual practice isn’t something on our list, yet another chore to be accomplished – it is the the attitude we bring to everything on the list.

Spiritual practice is the the flesh and bones of our life. The truth is, although it may seem counter-intuitive, at least mathematically, prayer or meditation saves time! If you wake up a little earlier than usual, every day, and spend the first thirty minutes to an hour of your day in useless activity (which is what prayer or meditation is: the supremely useless activity, gratuitous, without practical benefit, coming out of and feeding into gratitude itself) then you will find that a lot of what you would otherwise be doing during the rest of your day- all that seems to prevent you from practice – just falls way.

So many of our busy daily tasks are really unnecessary- some because they are inherently unnecessary, and others that are necessary but would never have been on our list in the first place if we had been more mindful (such as “apologize to John for blowing up at him yesterday,” or “go back to the store to buy the xerox paper I forgot to get yesterday when I was there”).

When we begin our day with practice the whole day unfolds more beautifully and more smoothly. We find we have a lot more time that we thought we had. We realize that what didn’t get done today didn’ t really need to get done.

There’s always time for spiritual practice.The unfolding of time is in itself the most profound practice there is.

— Zoketsu Norman Fischer