MIND BODY AND SOUL WORKOUTS by Mary Davis, Every Day Spirit
I used to be a gym rat. Five days a week you could find me at the gym lifting weights and swimming or riding the stationery bike. The community center where I worked out was a warm embrace of inspiration, determination, positive energy and encouragement. We were a family—diverse and unbreakable. I looked forward to each and every visit.
During that time in my life I was a full-time musician, gigging nightly with my band. It was physically demanding and the workouts ensured that I had all the strength I needed to thrive for years on the local music scene.
Besides my trips to the gym, my days were spent taking music lessons, practicing scales, writing songs, memorizing music, booking gigs and chasing press. So in addition to having a strong body, I was working out my mind in preparation for performances. Like math and Sudoku, music keeps the synapses firing.
Although I have known from a very young age that our journey is one of Mind, Body and Soul, I did not devote any time to a spiritual practice during that early part of my career. And I wonder how it could be that I was so dedicated to the Mind and Body parts of myself, yet I left the Soul part to fend for itself. I read books on spirituality and had a constant thirst for spiritual knowledge, but I didn’t make the time to get quiet and really learn what it meant to integrate all three aspects of my humanity.
This becomes especially important when we think about how much we judge ourselves (and are judged by others and society) by our outward appearance, by our creative offerings, or by our work performance. When we identify ourselves by how we look or by what we produce, it’s very hard to find contentment. Happiness becomes a moving target because we can’t please everyone. We will always have critics. And sometimes the greatest critic we have is our own voice.
I’m convinced that the main reason we remain in unhealthy patterns, or react in the same angry way to the same triggers, or behave in a less than kind way to ourselves or others, is that we simply forget. We forget that we are spirits having a human experience instead of the other way around. We forget that all of us have the tools to find love, peace and contentment within. And the only sure way to remember is … to practice.
But you, dear workout family, with your inspiring discipline, will find this to be totally within reach. You know how to set goals and put them at the top of your priority list. You know what it takes to practice. So when you move a spiritual practice into that top slot, everything starts to shift. Sometimes immediately. Sometimes it takes a little more faith and patience. There are many paths we can choose from and no one way is the right way. What matters is that it’s right for you. We start where we are and grow from there.
One of the more accessible ways to integrate Spirit into our daily lives is through meditation. Meditation practice, in its many forms, is like going to the gym for your mind. It trains us to separate the small “i” of our mind, that recycles repetitive and drama-inducing thoughts, from the higher “I” of our Soul that is always in a state of calm. From this place of serenity, we access our instincts, intuition, motivation and wisdom. From this place of peace, other virtues of the heart naturally awaken, like kindness, compassion for all humanity, gentleness to the earth, joy in simple things, love and gratitude for life. With continued practice, we become less stressed, more peaceful and better able to handle the challenges of the day. Research supports the conclusion that the benefits of meditation span all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health.
We’ve most likely got the Mind and Body workouts covered. When we add a daily Soul practice of some kind, we plant seeds of peace from which everyday gifts bloom with greater radiance. When we align all parts of ourselves into an integrated whole, we invite Soul power to energize everything we do.
May your Mind, Body and Soul workouts bring you contentment. Be well, and be good to each other on the journey.
Every Day Spirit