The key to mind-body-spirit wellness is to realise that we are whole, multidimensional beings. Mind-body-spirit are not separate. We can lose our sense of wellness when we become trapped in our mind, reacting to endless thoughts and disconnecting from our spirit and body.
This is the typical situation in our so-called modern society, where addiction to thinking is cultivated by our mass culture. In this post I will give you three simple steps to mind-body-spirit wellness.
Step one: Practise mindfulness
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Mindfulness is the practice of consciously directing our attention on our experience in the present moment so that we no longer drift along on autopilot, reacting unconsciously to thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Depression, anxiety, and addictions are now commonplace in our society. Why? We are typically never taught mindfulness as a life skill.
Mental illness is often the last in a long chain of cause and effect that begins with reactive and unconscious thinking. Even if we do not suffer from depression, anxiety, and obvious addictions, we are still most likely stuck in reactive thinking, which is actually an addiction.
We can be prone to stress and distortions of thinking such as selective thinking, negative thinking, and assumptions. Practising mindfulness begins by coming back to our centre as observer in the present moment, where we can watch thoughts come and go, without being tangled up in them. Until we can live in the present moment, we will never be fully here, and therefore never fully ourselves.
You can practise coming back to your centre by focusing your attention on your breath and stepping back from your thoughts. Don’t worry if you find your attention slipping back into thinking—simply be aware of this tendency and return your attention back to the present as observer.
As you build a positive habit of being in your centre, you are no longer at the mercy of your thoughts, and can start to choose your thoughts and your behaviour, rather than live reactively. Anxieties and negative perceptions can very soon start to fade, as can limited thinking. Even unquestioned beliefs can now be examined and released where they don’t really ring true. Prepare to be liberated!
Mindfulness can become an everyday practice as you consciously direct your attention throughout the day, no matter what you are doing. Whether you are eating, working, or enjoying some leisure time, there is always an opportunity to be more mindful. This increased mindfulness will bring great blessings to your life as you become more aware of your choices and of the magic of life.
Step two: Listen to your body
Your body is an amazing thing, whether you have a good relationship with it or not! It tells you everything you need to know that your mind is missing. If you get ill it will show you symptoms as feedback to help you adjust your life more healthily.
If you live healthily it will start to show it with increased radiance, energy, and feel-good hormones. The weight you put on your body will show you something about your eating and lifestyle choices. Take the time to listen to your body and it’s needs. This can be done with the help of mindfulness in Step One.
Very often, when we are trapped in our thinking, we lose touch with our body and miss its messages. Take the time top open your senses and become aware of the miracle of living in your body and how it connects you to the life around you. Realise that your body is your guidance system for mindful living.
To practise being in your body, I want you to make a list of ways in which you can come to your senses and read the messages of your body. Examples include:
– taking a relaxing bath
– walking barefoot in nature
– becoming aware of what tensions are held in your body’s muscles
– performing some gentle stretches that inform you of your range of motion and the effects of using your body in the way you do
– focusing your attention on your breath to see what it tells you about your state of mind–is it shallow or deep? is it slow or fast? is it somewhere in between?
– becoming aware of your body’s response to eating or not eating various foods
Once you have your list, make a commitment to practising the things on it regularly, expanding your list, and living more consciously in your body.
Step three: Experience your spirit
Your spirit can work in mysterious ways, connecting you with the entire universe and your highest potential. Did you ever consider that there is more to you than this body of yours, and more to life than a mechanistic and materialistic worldview? Take some time to still your thoughts or meditate, focus on your breath, and connect with your inner being in the present moment.
Sense how you are more than your thoughts, more than your emotions, more than the roles you play. What is it like to be the observer behind these thoughts, emotions, and roles? Expand your awareness into your sense of being when you still your mind, and see where it takes you. Visit a place of outstanding natural beauty, or look up at the vast expanse of stars in the night sky and be present to the magic of life, and how you too are connected to that magic when you step out of the limitations of thought you give yourself.
You may have been taught that spirituality is found through religion, but it has always been with you, waiting for you to acknowledge in your own way when you slip through the net of your chattering thoughts. Find ways to experience how connected you are to the spirit of life and to the infinity of being.
If you had a spiritual purpose, what would it be? How can you serve the greater whole, whether it is your community, the ecology, or the planet as a whole? Can you cultivate compassion for those in your life, and those wh0 may be strangers, or even enemies? Can you consider how all of us suffer when we lose touch with our spirituality, and that we all deserve to be free of suffering by embodying our spirituality for the good of ourselves and all life?
When you connect more deeply with Spirit, which is the essence behind form, many of the stresses of materialistic living fade away, and the real purpose of life can be glimpsed and taken hold of. This Earth gives us the opportunity to ground our spirituality in physical form through the choices of our actions and the structures of living we create. Spiritual Health is one of the least recognised aspects of wellness.
Release and limit the harmful patterns of thinking
Mind-Body-Spirit Wellness is about becoming more present to the true beauty and magic of your being, and releasing the limiting and often harmful patterns of reactive, unconscious thinking. Take the time to address your wellness and self-development by pursuing the three steps I have outlined above and be prepared to journey into greater levels of wellness and fulfilment.
There may well be challenges associated with releasing certain addictive patterns that hold you back in your potential, but the key to success is to release the limiting patterns mindfully.