When I started wearing a kippah, it was a spiritual practice. It made me more aware of my tefillah, it made me more aware of God's presence. First, I wore a covering only when making brachot, studying, or eating. The extra action made me more aware of each moment, of each blessing, of the presence of God.
Then I started covering all the time, and it brought a little bit of that awareness to getting dressed in the morning. Whether I was wearing a kippah or a headband or a scarf, I was aware of having something on my head, and that would help me to remember why I did it. It brought me more awareness of God, for a while.
It also brought me a lot of obnoxious questions and comments. I've blogged about that in the past. "You know that's not for keeping the rain off" about a kippah, and "when did you get married?" when I had a beret on outside, etc. But the spiritual benefits outweighed the social annoyance, and the obligation to do education at any and all times, including while shopping for new bras.
However, over time, my awareness dimmed. A kippah, or a scarf, or whatever I wore, just became something that I put on in the morning, just like a shirt, or socks.
And then I got married. And I had a different awareness of what was on my head. For a little while I was deeply aware of the double meaning of my new way of covering my head. It was a thrill, because it reminded me that I was married (and of how wonderful my husband is, etc- I'm pretty sure that I was a quite typical newlywed). It was also a reminder of the spiritual significance of covering my head, which I'd become sort of numb to.
Now, when I'm aware of anything, it's usually a social marker, what sort of Jew I look like. And that's not nothing. It is a part of my spiritual identity. (Spirituality being generally defined as my connection to something greater than myself, to my community, to meaning, and to myself) But it doesn't help me remember God when I'm seeing a beautiful day outside, or when I'm spending time with the family of a dying patient in the hospital, or when I'm studying Talmud with my husband. And that's an aspect of spirituality that I want to get from my head-covering practice.
So sometimes I think about that- and more often, I don't. And I don't like that numbness. That's Not The Point of this practice, or at least, not the only point. I like that I look frum, I'm not going to lie about it. But that's not the aspect of this that is foundational for me.
So I'm thinking about how to help myself remember.
Is covering spiritual for you? In what way? What keeps it fresh and meaningful?