MIND, SPIRIT ©
a tremendous interest in the integration of body, mind, and spirit.
This is probably because a split developed between the three which is
unnatural. All three are products of one body, and we intuit that all
three should work together. Let's reflect on the meaning and some implications
of these words.
We don't need to go to the
dictionary for the meaning of body. However, for the maintenance of
the body, we all need to work very hard every day. We all pretty much
know what we need to do for health and fitness, but it is the how and
when that is difficult for us. For health and fitness, we need to keep
the body strong and in balance. That means we need to get seven to nine hours
of sleep a day, eat modestly and nutritiously, and exercise daily, alternating
hard and easy days. This is not news to most of us. What is relevant
to us every day is how we go about implementing this healthy balance.
We need to work on these things daily, today, right now. This is the
hard part. How to get ourselves to do this consistently is the challenge.
I recommend The Three D's.
The three D's are determination, discipline, and diligence. Without
these, we can't do anything consistently. Determination means that we
have to decide what we are going to do about nutrition and exercise,
when we are going to do it, and set our intent to do it. Webster says
that discipline is "training expected to produce a specific type
or pattern of behavior", and "a systematic method to obtain
obedience", and "a set of methods or rules". We can't
do anything consistently if we do not conquer discipline. The main aspect
of discipline I want to address, is the fact that we get down to the
present moment of now, when we apply discipline. To practice good and
balanced nutrition and exercise daily, means we get down to the present
moment NOW. Some things that may help you in the moment of now, is to
tell yourself: "I am doing this Right Now. Nothing is going to
be harder than it is Right Now. If I can get through this moment, Right
Now, I am doing it." Meditation and breathing techniques will help
with this. In order to apply this, we have to be absolutely firm in
our mind and intent, and we have to implement the third D - diligence.
Webster says that mind is
"human consciousness…that is manifested in thought, memory,
perception, feeling, will, or imagination", and "all of the
conscious and unconscious processes of the brain". To apply our
mind to something means to apply our will, to set an intent, to take
responsibility. The Buddhist view of mind is helpful here. According
to Dogen Zenji, a 12th Century Zen Master, "Enlightenment is the
natural activity of everyday mind. This mind is not concerned with the
past or future, it is continually working now, in the present, and concerns
itself only with each new moment." Everyday mind is not analyzing,
judging, or discriminating. Everyday mind rests in each moment and experience,
coming and going freely. Past, present, and future rest together in
each moment. Meditation is the method of literally practicing this experience
of mind. We can practice this on a bench or cushion, and then we can
take the practice off the cushion into everyday life. To keep a balance
between the western understanding of mind and the eastern understanding
will lead to balance, peace, and equilibrium.
We have a vastly wide definition
of the term spirit - from "a vital animating force", "referring
to a soul as part of, but separate from the human body", to "a
person's essential nature". Oftentimes, people think of spiritual
as having to do with extra sensory perception, precognition, levitation,
communication with the dead, channeling, and so on. Others understand
spirituality as referring to transpersonal or religious experience.
Let's look at another view
of the meaning of spirit that involves taking the meaning of the word
and becoming it in your person. This is the effort to develop character
and behavior into the higher levels of human capacity -- to develop
virtues and "positive mental factors", (positive mental qualities
as opposed to negative states), to develop one's character over a period
of time. Robert Aitken, a renowned Zen master, says that "the
practice of Zen is the perfection of character." This is a different
and direct way to think about spirituality that promotes personal growth
and well being. Psychological work addresses the development of a healthy
ego and self. This form of spiritual development addresses the movement
beyond selfishness, and even beyond the development of a healthy ego.
One addresses self; the other addresses beyond self, selflessness, and
John White wrote, “We
are manifestations of Being, but like the cosmos itself, we are also
in the process of Becoming – always growing, changing, developing,
evolving to higher and higher states that ever more beautifully express
the perfection of the source of existence.”
Hegel said, “The path
is not as yet the goal and Spirit does not reach the goal without having
traversed the path
As we work on the different aspects of ourselves, growing, changing, and evolving, over time there begins to be a natural awareness of, and integration of the three: body, mind, and spirit.