2012 Resolution #4 - Nourish Mind and Soul
Posted on January 04, 2012 by Maria McInnis, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
#4 in a series on resolutions
Resolve to nourish your mind and your spirit.
Yesterday we talked about the importance of having a fit and balanced body through diet, exercise and positive influence, but today we’re going to touch on a topic that is just as important: the balance of mind and spirit with that of the body.
The power of the mind has been proven throughout history, and its mysteries continue into the modern age. Your mind has the wondrous ability to not only affect your body, but your entire world. This is a topic we have touched on during various occasions, but the importance goes beyond the Law of Attraction, and even the power of affirmations, of positive language and overcoming obstacles: the state of the mind affects one’s spirit and body, just as the state of the spirit or body affects the mind. It is a delicate balance that is forever in flux, and yet it is this flux which affects our lives.
“As above, so below; As within, so without…” – The Emerald Tablet
We all have our own set of values, beliefs and morals. Some are borne of religion and dogmas we are taught from a young age. Others come from experiences within our lives as we move through society, growing and learning with every breath we take, and every day that passes. We gain faith, hope, understanding and through these things create a balance within ourselves that reflects into the world around us. When we are at peace with ourselves, others can sense it. It is spoken through our body language, the tones we use and the words we speak.
However, this peace is something that not everyone easily seems able to achieve. Not all experiences are good, and not all lessons are easy. When that balance begins to tip, chaos, sorrow and depression take over, and escaping that is often described as one of the hardest things a person can do. We lose direction, and before we know it we are lost. Sometimes, we need to be able to see the light, and that is where this nourishment of mind, body and spirit takes place.
Many mistake the quest for quenching the spirit as one of religion. They attempt to fit their beliefs into those that they know. Some people do find God, or the Universe, or some Supreme Being to which they can release the tension and the worry. This is the right path for them, but for some, it isn’t always so simple.
When we are in balance, we feel energetic, creative and confident. We find ourselves smiling more and sharing the love we have for ourselves with others. All the great spiritualities of the world teach us to love ourselves, one another, the earth we live upon and the universe around us in one form or another. To nourish your own inner spirit you need to realize what it is that is important to YOU.
Make a list of your values, and the things you cherish most, tangible and intangible alike. This is the best place to start. Take ten minutes, put on some light music, preferably instrumental, and step away from the world to reflect upon your needs and your desires.
From a physical perspective it is best to meditate between 3 and 5 am, but, let’s face it, very few people want to wake up at this hour. With this said, meditation is a very good way to start off the day. Many people who meditate set their clocks a bit early so that they have a chance to hit the snooze button, giving them the perfect amount of time in which to reflect upon their inner self.
Doing this has many benefits:
- It reduces blood pressure
- It relaxes your body, giving you a great start to the day
- It increases your energy
- It gives you mental clarity and a focus
- It gives one a sense of serenity
- It allows one a sense of unity
- It allows you to look at your issues with some detachment
Many people find it difficult to meditate, or feel that it has to be religious in nature, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once one realizes that it is in fact a natural thing that the body does to cleanse itself, it becomes easier. Many people have the mental image of a Yogi or a Guru sitting cross legged and chanting mantras like Ohm mani padme hum which means the Jewel and the Lotus, two important symbols in the Hindu Religion. Some may even have heard of Ham Sa or I am That I am. This is, again, a common misconception, though many Yogis may use these mantras while meditating in prayer.
True meditation is meant to allow you to focus your mind upon the things you need to know. To allow yourself to flow through your own world by stepping back. This allows one to hear their own voice and focus upon their own values to make decisions, or to simply find their center. By breathing deeply and allowing ones mind to go where it will, one can find that this silent time allows the spirit to flourish. Some may even pray during this time, but it is up to you to decide how to best spend this important time with yourself.
Douglas Munroe perhaps wrote it best for me in a fable he penned to help teach about balance:
“Once there was an apprentice with an armload of scrolls, who asked the wizened old sage: “Master, what are the harmonies of the Earth?”
“Come,” said the teacher, “Bask with me in the sunlight. Bathe with me in the moonlight.”
By the edge of a softly flowing stream, where water bugs sketched rings among ripples, he sat him down and leaned against the trunk of a willow, whose branches were a stage for a bluebird’s song. The master closed his eyes.
With great impulse the boy stood, walked in circles, snapped twigs, placed pebbles in piles – blew a blade of grass into music.
“I ask you again, Master: What are the harmonies of the Earth?”
Without a word the scholar arose, pushed his pupil into the river and watched the cat-tails nod in agreement.
When it comes to finding peace, which is around us if only we seek it out, many of us are like the boy, waiting for an answer, when all we have to do is sit, listen to the wind and reflect upon our place in our own worlds. The master, in this case, literally pushed the boy into the stream, telling him to go with the flow. The answers are all around us, and within us, if only we stop to listen.
Feeding the Mind
One of the top resolutions that people make is to learn something new, and nothing is more important for the mind then this. Without learning we stagnate, and we go on in ignorance.
“The fool thinks he is wise, but the wise man knows himself a fool.” – Proverb
I make it a habit every single day to learn at least one new thing. Today I learned how to care for orchids, and yesterday how to say say thank you in Mandarin (Xiexie). Sometimes it is things I will never use, and other times what I learn rocks my world.
I am an avid reader, I watch documentaries and I love to ask questions. It is through this curiosity and patience that I feed my mind daily. For some people they listen to others, or watch others: every one has their own style of learning.
Feeding the mind means that we keep learning and growing, and meditating upon the things that we learn. Knowledge is power: it is a truth that the ancients taught, and that has been proven time and time again, and arming yourself with that knowledge is the best defense that you can gift yourself with.
When it comes to feeding our spirits and our minds, it affects our bodies in ways that never cease to amaze me. In NLP we teach that the connection between these things are important, and the more that I experience, the more that I know it is a truth. I have seen people heal themselves of lifelong afflictions through releasing their emotional barriers and through letting go of fear.
In a way I am blessed with living in a beautiful place like the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The rural area offers many beautiful, serene places in which I can escape to meditate, but for some it may be more difficult.
To these people I say to find a place of quiet, whether its in your home, a library or even a popular public area, like a park or a cafe. Take the time to settle down and get comfortable. Then allow your mind to simply unfocus from the world and focus lightly upon the things you need to know. If you live in a particularly noisy location, take an MP3 player or stereo and play light music to help you unwind. As long as you are in a place where you can be comfortable and safe. Let your muscles relax and do not allow your mind to grumble.
One book suggests to imagine your mind like a puppy on a retractable leash; when it wanders, gently bring it home. Notice the things that it goes to and let them then float away. By doing this, we allow greater insight into the things that matter, even allowing ourselves to realize things that the conscious mind, in its grumblings, sometimes blocks out.
By allowing the spirit time to do this, either through meditation, prayer or even asanas, we allow our minds the freedom to learn, and the body the ability to heal and relax. This is one of the greatest things that you can gift yourself: to resolve to allow yourself to indulge in peace this new year.