yoga stretch

THE HEALTH OF OUR MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT

By Mary Cook, M.A., R.A.S.

Our minds chatter constantly, demanding attention.  Then we become lost in thought and life passes us by.  Our minds tell us that we have an impossible amount of things to do, then say hurry up, you’re way behind.  While taking care of one task, our minds recite long lists of what else to do.  Then the mind accuses us of not concentrating, and doing things wrong.  We are called names by our own mind that we wouldn’t accept from anyone else.  Minds like to obsess on problems.  They even fabricate them in our rare moments of contentment.  Then they give us solutions that create more problems than the original circumstances.  If we confront our minds for not doing a better job, suddenly the mind is no longer an expert, and becomes muddled and confused.

Our bodies give us cravings to eat or drink when we are not hungry or thirsty.  Bodies can tell us that we need sex in the most inappropriate situations.  They can be too anxious to sleep, or too exhausted to get out of bed, or vice versa.  Energy in our bodies is commonly excessive or depleted.  We are often tense with aches in our head, neck, shoulders or back.  Our bodies are easily addicted to sugar, salt, caffeine, fats, nicotine, alcohol, other drugs and medications.  Then we contract diseases as a result of these addictions.  Our bodies want to take elevators, escalators, and park as close as possible to where we’re going.  Then they want exercise, so we go to the gym to walk or run on a treadmill or stairmaster.

Our spirits often feel broken or lost.  We give up Heavenly dreams in deference to the defeatist list of endless duties to perform.  We allow empty rituals and short order prayers to replace real communion with God.  Fear of celestial retaliation can get us to church but not make us behave well outside of church.  It’s too hard to hang on to awe and wonder in the face of hatred and violence.  It’s too difficult to maintain excitement and joy in the depths of abandonment and depression.  Fear builds a fortress that shuts out serenity.  We feel hollow and fill ourselves up with superficial matters, compulsions and addictions.  We hide from our spirit, then forget that we have one.

We have symptoms, from physical problems, mental duress, depression, anxiety, or spiritual confusion.  We take pills for our symptoms and create more symptoms.  There is never enough time, because we’re not in the moment to experience its’ fullness.  Love is often lost to lust, selfishness, empty habits, fear, resentment or obligation.  We were created whole, yet we chronically feel incomplete.  We opt for quick fixes that sabotage lasting fulfillment.  We are slaves to sensory gratification and cultural indoctrination, at the cost of our health.

These are fundamental problems.  They are intertwined with all of the aspects of ourselves, and how we perceive our environment.  The health of our mind, body and spirit determines the quality of how we live and love, which affects everything around us.  We were created to be self-healing, evolving organisms with a mission of sacred stewardship to life on this planet.  If we wish to recapture this rich heritage, we must nourish our original roots.

A healthy mind includes higher consciousness.  It is a balance of right and left brain hemispheric information.  Deep reflection, present moment focus, intuition, and imagination are just as important as analysis, logic, reason and habit.  A healthy mind understands the importance of compassion, patience, sensitivity, respect, kindness, honesty, responsibility, generosity, humility, integrity and serenity.  A healthy mind discards unhelpful old ideas, and welcomes not knowing, because only in that space can something new emerge.

Healthy physical caretaking nourishes a strong desire to live, thrive and enjoy optimal health.  We understand and appreciate how our body works and all that it does for us.  We use low abdominal breathing to fully oxygenate our body and develop healing reserves of energy.  We learn to sense where energy is depleted, excessive or blocked, and correct these imbalances.  We eat fresh, natural foods free of chemicals and undue processing.  We alternate activity and physical exercise with relaxation and sleep.  We spend time outdoors observing natural beauty.  We experience a positive unity and interdependence with the elements, plants, animals, humans and the divine.

A healthy spirit maintains a conscious, active relationship with Heaven.  We pray and meditate daily, to embrace a larger mystery.  We surrender arrogant small-minded willfulness and the fear that creates it, in favor of divine partnership and faith.  We listen for the subtle, softer messages from spirit, and the signs that are given to us throughout the day.  We know that this guidance honors our free will, and is loving, mysterious, magical, humorous and insightful.  We gratefully acknowledge that we are children of the universe, with a purpose that is far greater than what we consciously realize.