We all know we are not only our thoughts, we also have a body, and most of us appreciate we also have a spirit or "vital spark" that animates both body and mind. Yet in these very challenging times, many of us have forgotten this simple truth and have lost ourselves totally in thought.
It would only seem logical that if we understand we are a body, and a mind, and a spirit or essence then we should balance these three elements - spend time exercising and taking care of our body, take time to calm and nurture our minds, and take time to listen to our spirit. But on an average day, how much time do you take with each element? My guess is over 80% is in the mind.
And even this 80% is not managed. This 80% is totally out of control: any thoughts allowed; down the rabbit hole of social media; Netflix binges; anxiety cycles; news fear mongering. It's like we think we are just victims of circumstance, devouring whatever comes along to grab our attention, never filtering it to see if it feels good or bad. Never stopping to ask ourselves if these thoughts are calming or exhausting. Who exactly is in charge here?
Yes, we cannot control external events, we cannot control the way things are going to unfold on a global level, but we can certainly control what we feed our mind. We can be the guardians of our mental health, we can nurture our minds in many many ways - through meditation, mindfulness, through books and films, art and poetry. Become a champion for your own well being, if you don't, who will?
Start to catch yourself and what you spend your time doing - is what you are focused on even good for you? Is watching the news for hours nurturing? Is scrolling Facebook for 45 minutes productive? Is gossiping and complaining to friends on Whatsapp feeling good? Be more mindful of what goes in - junk in, junk out. With all the world's amazing teachers online, it is absolutely no excuse to be spending hours filling your mind with crap.
Next, start to stretch the remaining 20% - if you increased the time you spent focusing on your body and spirit to 30% you would see a huge shift in your balance and harmony.
A daily exercise routine is crucial - moving the body, stretching and relaxing it, coming into a deep awareness of how it is doing. Most of us seem to operate above the neck only, occasionally doing a few deep breathing exercises, or stretching now and again, and then wondering why we feel so disconnected. Even if we are walking or running for exercise, are we in actually with the body, or still in the mind and paying no attention to how the body feels, how its moving, what it needs?
I have noticed such anxiety with people as the high energy of the transitions we are currently going through hits their body system. There is a lot to integrate but if you are not connected with your body and sensitive to it's needs you will miss the signals to rest, to sleep, to nourish, to exercise. Changes have to integrate through the body, this is our sensing element. We need to make sense of it through the body, not the mind. So during intense change our connection to our body is crucial - it will show us how well we are integrating, and it will give ample warning if we are moving too quickly or avoiding things.
This is not a one month sprint to the finish line, it is a marathon, and we have only just begun. Increase your connection and sensitivity to the body or you will overload its circuits.
The final piece of the puzzle, and the most important, is our spirit. The "vital spark" or essence. Some may call it God, or consciousness. That part of us that is eternal and all connected up already. It's funny how we ignore it the most, and yet it is the only part of us that is truly at peace, at all times. Connecting in with our essence we may only do 10% or less of our day, some of us never do it. Those who do it more, or who have formed a lasting connection with it are the calm ones. That doesn't mean there is no challenge, no moments when the mind and body are fraught and struggling. It means there is a real and ongoing anchoring deep within them that is steady and sure.
This anchoring is not reliant on the external world for orientation. It means the world can descend into chaos, changes can require daily adjustments, once reliable touch points can disappear overnight, and all is still well. Your internal orientation is still steady. The external landscape can change as much as it wants, if you are internally orientated it doesn't frighten or fluster you.
What is also shocking to realise is how easy it is to get orientated! It just requires you to turn your attention inwards. Away from the drama and high adrenaline outside chaos and into the deep and steady resource deep within your body. Meditation, stillness, spending time with your breath, doing a Reiki self-treatment. Simple, easy, profoundly effective. Yet do we do it? Even for 5 minutes?
If you do, you will know it works. If you do it daily for an hour you will not need to be told how important it is, you are doing your 10%. Even starting at 1% is a start. Dedicating 15 minutes a day to an inward stance - coming into the inner orientation, will do wonders for your anxiety. You will find in yourself an inner strength and resilience you had no idea existed. Out of this knowledge comes a calmness and gentle steadiness, you know you are connected to a resource much greater than your body and your mind.
15 minutes a day, do some Reiki, listen to a guided meditation, chant your favourite mantra, do some breathing exercises, but take care of yourself, connect with your essence. It is waiting for you.