Why Practice?

Sharing their experiences:

I really value that this practice is about integrating spirituality into all aspects of daily life – it’s Applied Spirituality. I have been taught many spiritual tools that are useful both in closed eye meditation and eyes-open, in the world. I appreciate that I can apply those tools seamlessly in any situation, personal or professional, and because we practice regularly, I find they are available for me to use successfully even in the heat of the moment. 

One thing I especially appreciate about Spiritual Essentials is how the practitioners value precision and practice truthful and clean communication. These values make their way down to the smallest of details and provide a stable, solid foundation to ground and support our intangible, experiential learning. I feel I have the support of a rich and vibrant community that supports individual uniqueness.

Some of the specific fruits of my training include:

    • I am less reactive and anxious and am increasingly able to hold my own in the midst of chaos and change.
    • I have been able to wake up to patterns and behaviours that I was previously unconscious to.
    • I have moved from living a fear-based life to feeling like I am already enough and to be living a truer expression of myself.
    • I have increased confidence that I am able to meet and respond to whatever comes up.
    • I am able to have the wisdom of my emotions, my physical body and my thoughts without them taking over.

As a result of this practice, I am able to deal with uncomfortable situations or conversations in a more honest and truthful way and am better able to take care of myself appropriately.

I am very grateful to Michele and the other teachers and leaders for within this practice I’ve been able to move from simply being interested in spirituality to being a practitioner solidly walking along my spiritual path. 

~ D.S., Project Manager


One thing that has begun to happen as a result of my work in this practice is that I’m waking to how much of my life focus has been motivated by fear; and as I am being centered I am finding that the “shoulds” and “have to’s” are shifting or falling away. What I’m experiencing is a softening and deepening, where I’m alive in this moment, not planning for the next one. I’m waking to how much I’ve been driving from personal will, and as I am waking up in that there is beginning to be a clarity of path which is not the same as The Path that I keep trying to create. I’m not running to do, or end, or change something, even though doing, ending, and changing are happening. I don’t know the best way to verbalize the experience, but softening is the best word I have right now. Without the fear and the driving there is simplicity, which opens up a fresh spaciousness in my life.  I am more present in every activity and relationship.  I can hear others differently and respond to them in a way that is honest and real, making even the smallest daily interactions with my people richer and more authentic.

~ SM, Registered Nurse


© Deanna Thompson, Seiki Photography


It has been 10 years now of spiritual practice with the teachers in this lineage and it seems like the blink of an eye. Through my work in this practice, I have gained a freedom, creativity, and physical vitality in my life that I didn’t know was possible for anyone, let alone for me. What has opened up through regular and dedicated‎ practice, both in classes and on my own, has been a growing more into who I truly am and a shedding of past anxieties and identities as I went. I never sought to “change” myself through meditation, and what I’ve gained is a truer, more transparent and powerful expression of who I am. I hope to continue this deepening throughout my whole life and I hope to be blessed enough to continue to do so within this community of practitioners and teachers.

~ S.C., Human Resources Director


I came to this practice in an attempt to reduce anxiety and panic. I had received various treatments in the past, but all of them had limited success. From the first basic class, I started to regain some “bandwidth” after years of feeling so overwhelmed. After taking more basic classes and deepening my practice, the spaciousness grew to the point where I was no longer experiencing anxiety or panic. I had space. I couldn’t believe how effective this practice was at helping to alleviate decades of suffering from anxiety and how there was finally lasting relief.

The new spaciousness created opportunities. With anxiety no longer running my life, I could do things I literally never thought possible. My increased presence was noticed by almost everyone in my life. Work became easier, and dealing with difficult people and situations became easier, as this practice taught me tools that were both practical and usable in daily life. As my anxiety decreased, I had the space and courage to want more out of life and to go after the things I wanted to accomplish.

These accomplishments simply wouldn’t have even been on the horizon, let alone come to fruition, were it not for this training. It wasn’t just the absence of anxiety that this practice helped provide, it was the addition of a spiritual practice and increased fluency with spiritual language. This aspect of the training helped me turn off the internal negative narrative that had constantly been interpreting the world for me. Without that negative narrative there is just what is.

Life has become immeasurably better and I now feel gratitude in place of worry. For the first time in my life, I’m not focused on either the past or future exclusively… there is room for the present. The more time I spend being present, the richer and fuller life becomes. This has had a profound impact on my personal relationships, especially with my daughter and wife. Being present and seeing my family for who they really are is the greatest gift I can hope to give them. This training has helped me to have more courage and ease in expressing my gifts.

I came to this practice with a really pragmatic goal to reduce anxiety, but it is the gifts that I have unexpectedly received – access to my spiritual path, kindness, love, and access to the sacred – that have had the most profound impact on me.

The fruits of this practice continue to offer blessings, and I am deeply grateful to Michele, Kelly Anne, and Jan for the opportunity to do this fine work.

~ B.H., Sales/Investing


I initially found my way to this form of meditation because I was looking for a way to make myself feel better; I was looking for a way to manage the intensity of what I felt on a day to day basis. I was a person who was very sensitive and I was tired of the drastic ups and downs I experienced each day within myself. I knew there was something more that was available in me, and I wanted to ‘get there’.

Now, four years later, I live my life, my relationships, and my job with a level of simplicity, clarity, self-kindness, and consistency that I could have never imagined was possible. I have moved beyond my original interest to stop feeling bad and am discovering so much more than not feeling bad; life is a big beautiful, messy, growing, alive thing, and it’s mine to live. Through meditation and the tools available through this particular meditation practice, I have a way to live evermore the expression of who I truly am. What a gift, both for me and the world!

This practice is an in-body practice, meaning you don’t leave yourself and go to some quiet spiritual place and then come back to real life. This practice provides a way to integrate meditative and whole states of being into day-to-day life. It is a way to grow mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual capacity. Because of this practice, my health is better, I am more successful and competent at my job, and I have done better in school. I am more at ease with my money, my time, how I eat, how I drive in traffic… This is an integrative spiritual practice that impacts every aspect of how I live.

~ A.C., Registered Social Worker


Working with Michele has given me many gifts; a more truthful apprehension of myself and others, the ability to express more fully and truly in the world, and a relationship with integrity as constancy and alignment with truth. The fruits of my practise include greater sensitivity, deeper compassion and the ability to support others in a way that is actually supportive.

Michele teaches with simplicity, transparency, and integrity.

~ T.B., Massage Therapist


The training through the basic classes and beyond with Spiritual Essentials has been amazing. Throughout I have felt supported, safe and challenged, confident that this path leads me more home to my essential self. The growth I have made has supported me in my personal relationships and my workplace, allowing me to deepen my connections with others, to see more clearly the appropriate next step in any situation, and to know and companion myself as I continue to learn and evolve. I am deeply grateful to Michele and the practice and the very clean access and support they provide.

~ B.D, M.Ed., Teacher


© Michele Ley


My strategy for making my way through the world, until relatively recently, was to avoid bad emotional information and process only the good parts.

The result, as I experienced it, was emotional pain; unhappiness; confusion; detachment; and, ironically, increasingly limited access to even the good parts.

Michele Ley and Spiritual Essentials is all about full-on engagement with whatever life brings.

Now, other possibilities emerge. Simply coping is recognized for what it is: a strategy; pain is there with the capacity to heal; unhappiness finds a place beside joy; confusion fades; detachment is not the only option out there, and I am grateful.

~ R.E., Architect


I came to this work with a history of seeking. Seeking self-improvement, seeking self-perfection, seeking to be different than I was. There were elements in my life that truthfully weren’t working for me. My solution was to look for strategies that would help me to become more the person I wished I could be. That relationship I had with myself was a painful one. I lived with the belief that I was not enough, that I was not whole, that I needed to change who I was in order for me to be OK. And I believed if I just found the right technique, I could fix myself. The interest in growth came from a truthful place for me, but the ways I worked on that were unkind to myself, motivated by the belief that I was broken and needed fixing. Finding this work, I found something I didn’t actually know I was looking for, a spiritual practice that helped me realize that what I was looking for out there already exists right here within me, that I am here, already whole. For me this work has meant the unfurling of who I am and what is mine to do in the world. That might sound like I do this work for an outcome, that I want the perfect job or the perfect family or the always happy life. But the deeper I’ve developed my anchoring in and as myself, the more the need for the face of things to be a certain way has fallen away. The more I know myself as whole, the more I realize that nothing outside of me needs to change in order for me to be OK. I can be with uncertainty, I can experience challenging emotions, I can be with my own weaknesses or failures. I can have the experiences of my life without being defined by them. And living from this knowing of wholeness, I am finding freedom. I am free to express and experience the full range of my life, for which I am grateful.

~ A.K., Restaurant Owner


Even as I am currently stretched physically, emotionally and spiritually through possibly the biggest transformation of my life so far, I find myself open to what each new day and moment is offering. I am listening in a new way as my ‘standards’ have changed. Achievement and accomplishment are no longer so identity focused. I have an urge to simply be myself wholly and essentially more often and a curiosity to discover what that is in each moment. Thanks to your leadership and this process, I now live with more confidence in my own deep intuitive understanding, a depth of feeling that no longer frightens me and new possibilities that I had never before entertained. I am whole. I always have been. But the difference now is that I know that. And even when I forget, I seem to remember again more quickly. I am thankful for your guidance, insight, support and confidence in me.

~ M.D., MEd Facilitator, Instructional Designer

© Deanna Thompson, Seiki Photography
© Deanna Thompson, Seiki Photography

I spent a good decade or two of my life as a seeker – looking for spiritual understanding in order to be a better person, to become the man I wanted to be but somehow couldn’t. I read a lot, traveled a lot, took various workshops, and saw lots of psychics, but nothing gave me a truly sustainable way to grow a practical kind of spirituality, a way to be spiritual in a real way without clinging to dogmatic concepts or ritualistic behaviours.

My training with Spiritual Essentials starting in 2002 changed that. This is not a training in what beliefs to follow, interesting ideas to consider, or how to think in a certain way, but rather in how literally to work with your consciousness to access authentic spiritual states of being, not just in closed-eye meditation but also walking around in the world over the course of your daily life. With practical, simple-to-follow exercises and meditation techniques – they could almost be described as ‘consciousness calisthenics’ – the courses provide a practice for relearning natural states of being which so many people have lost living in a world that has placed more emphasis on outward appearances than honesty and bridging inner and outer realities.

It takes practice to sustain access to these states – this is why it is called a ‘spiritual practice’ – but the rewards are bountiful. I am more focused in what I do, more conscious in my communication, able to problem-solve much more creatively, and more present in my being. Throughout my years of training, my friends, colleagues, and family members have remarked on the significant changes in how I communicate, work, and express myself, and I have reaped the benefits personally and professionally (though this was and is not the goal). Over the course of the last decade I have stopped trying to be someone other than who I am yet have taken profound steps at being the most authentic me that I can be; I am satisfied with who I am while simultaneously evolving authentically how I experience and express myself in my life.

Spiritual Essentials training has given me an opportunity to experience first-hand – and to learn how to continue to access – the states of being that are aligned with many of the teachings in the world’s spiritual traditions, yet without promoting a specific belief system itself. I can access my innate wisdom and live authentically without looking for answers externally; this does not mean I don’t listen to outside information, but rather that my inner compass is more deeply aligned to process input in a way that serves both me and others in the bigger picture.

No one can guarantee that every person will enjoy or be able to make the best use of a particular training system, but in over a decade with Spiritual Essentials I have seen how this highly refined series of programs can help interested people from all walks of life to be more natural in all facets of their lives – not to be a shiny, polished self who says or does ‘the right thing’ according to a prepared script, but to practice responding well in-the-moment to life’s changing circumstances. I will always be grateful that this practice found its way into my life and am happy to continue to be a part of this evolving community.

~ M.A., Instructor and Facilitator