The road to recovery, optimal health and well-being cannot be successfully navigated without focusing on the three essential components that define our humanness i.e. mind, body and spirit. Today there is a disproportionate interest in the body and an almost total neglect of the mind and spirit. This huge imbalance is responsible for much of what ails us as individuals and the societies in which we live. Of course the body is an important part of the human equation and so we cannot afford to neglect it but to bow at the altar of the body at the expense of mind and spirit is probably our greatest folly. Although the mind-body-spirit model is truly an interdependent system, if we understood the real importance of this human equation we would realise each has a deep and subtle relationship with the other, and that the true chronology is spirit, mind and body.
The spirit refers to the essence of who we are. It’s that aspect of self that gives everything else value, meaning and purpose, because a life without these drives is no life at all. Many people only superficially engage with life and could easily be described as being part of the community of the vertical dead. They walk around displaying vital life-signs but in fact are not truly living, as they are driven by relentless pressures, excessive demands and a life of image without real substance. They are really leading lives that lack the spark of value, meaning and purpose. Unless we stop being subservient to image and turn our attention to creating a life of substance, our lives will continue to have no spiritual significance. Health cannot evolve nor be sustained on barren land. Only in the fertile fields of the spirit can well-being and optimal health be found.
The mind is the powerhouse, the magician, the arena of miracles and wonders, yet it is only able to achieve this promise and potential with the fuel of spiritual significance. Our greatest assets are our thoughts but thoughts need to be channelled. If the awesome energy of the mind is not given clear direction and strong boundaries then a state of indiscipline, chaos and anarchy exists, which in turn cripples the individual. Peace of mind depends on equanimity and in order to achieve such balance and poise we need positive mind-bending activities. Unless we feed the mind a diet of uplifting, inspiring, positive principles and ideals, the negative bent that defines so much of our lives and distorts our being can never be rectified. So, a life full of positive mind-bending activities is required to reach our destination.
The Body: Once the mind and spirit are honouring their true purpose and meaning then the body can play its part in delivering health, as long as its core needs are met. Physical health depends on 90+ nutrients being supplied through our food and supplementation every day, a varied and consistent exercise regime, a life that is detoxifying i.e. as far as possible free of waste and a balance between water and oil. Other interventions may be needed to underpin our health like massage, yoga, reflexology, tai chi, acupuncture etc. None of these, however, will have lasting value if we forget that we are in fact vertical rivers. When considering mastering the health of the body, it is vital to remember water must come first. Health cannot exist where there is a culture of dehydration. Nearly all physical disease can be traced back to dehydration. Many viruses and chronic ailments thrive in conditions where oxygen and water are in short supply and therefore we must become vigilant and keep our own rivers flowing.
If you have really understood this handout it will be apparent that if you want to turn around your present situation, whatever that might be, you cannot expect to achieve success if you are not respecting the needs of your spirit, mind and body. Only when their independent needs are met can the state of interdependence on which our health relies, really be achieved. Now, make time to formulate a plan that best meets all the needs of the spirit, mind and body. This is probably the most important task you will ever undertake. We wish you well.
If you have understood and taken up the challenge of the spirit-mind-body plan, then you will probably already have begun to appreciate the importance of the environment in that equation. The environment is where the spirit-mind-body plan is acted out. Before we explore further the importance of the environment, let’s remind ourselves of the significance of the other three aspects.
The spirit, as you know, refers to the essence of who you are, it refers to living a life of value, meaning and purpose. In order to achieve that you need to be true to yourself because if you are not, there will be that ‘hole in your soul’ through which your power will be lost. Where there is any contradiction or incongruity in your life, your spirit in particular will pay the price. It is extremely difficult to live a life of value, meaning and purpose when the bitter taste of hypocrisy is resonating in the mind. It’s also important in terms of the spirit to be doing something that makes you feel good to be alive. Altruism is important in this regard, to be doing things that uplift and empower others really makes a difference to how you feel, so be as selfless and humble as you can. Whatever plan you formulate, bear these two things in mind because where they exist, a connection to that which is good, that which is divine, is easily and naturally established.
To make the best use of the power house of the mind, the arena of miracles and wonders, you need to have positive focuses; ambitions that are challenging yet realistic, founded on good motives and aspirations consistent with your spiritual outlook. To achieve this you need to surround yourself with activities that will help you to cultivate the right thoughts so you can channel your mental energies in the direction of your choice. In order to help you in your endeavour it’s important to foster the right relationships, relationships with those who are mentally and spiritually uplifting and who are also endeavouring to find the way back to themselves, back to their truths. Your plan also needs to be emotionally intelligent because as wonderful as the mind is, it’s important that you steer a course that’s not overly driven by your emotions or dominated by your intellect, as there will be times when one needs to drive the process more than the other and the more integrated your life becomes, the more you intuitively know when that time is.
The body in many ways is the easiest to understand although not necessarily any easier to bring under your command. The primary thing to remember with your physical health is to restore balance by removing waste; you must relentlessly pursue those things that detoxify the system, which is why water is critical in this process. Also consider food, nutrition, exercise, rest, enjoyment and relaxation and form a plan that integrates all of these.
This brings us back to environment. Environment, first of all, relates to you creating a sanctuary. If the physical space in which you live does not have all the conditions conducive to your spiritual and emotional growth then your personal progress will be severely hampered. It’s very difficult to grow in terms of spirit, mind and body in an environment that opposes one or other of these elements. The environment is like the soil in which the other 3 grow, therefore if the conditions are not right in your environment, all 3 will struggle to bear good fruit. Your environment needs to be a space that when you walk into it, lifts you, inspires you, holds and cares for you. It reminds you of who you are and where you are going. If your environment is not doing this then something is wrong and you need to consider what needs to change. Anything in your personal space that has no purpose, is surplus to your needs and is therefore an enemy to your growth, so you need to remove it. Create a space that is aesthetically pleasing, spiritually uplifting, a place that you want to be in, which actually promotes your growth. Do not underestimate how important the place in which you live and sleep are on your journey towards optimal health. Do what you can to create the conditions in your environment so that your spirit, mind and body plan can meet all your needs. The concept of the environment has many more layers….