Today I want to briefly discuss something that has been on my mind for quite some time. Over the last twelve years of personal training, lifestyle coaching, and public speaking, I have noticed a trend among my most successful clients. The common thread they share is spiritual awareness. Ok, hang on . . . don’t freak out on me and click off this article quite yet. Just hear me out!
As human beings, we have the distinct tendency to think in REALMS. In other words, when you go to work, you think and behave in the “professional realm,” and when you come home to your spouse and kids, you behave in the “parenting realm.” You might then go to church the next day and try to tap into your “spiritual realm.” As responsible adults, there are many different hats that we wear, but we often compartmentalize our lives to the point where we are not living “presently.” Instead, we shift from one mode of thinking and behaving to the next, leaving us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and often frustrated as our health and fitness suffer.
At this point you are probably asking, “what does this have to do with my health and fitness, and how is this going to help me in my pursuit of Fitness Mental Mastery?” Surprisingly, it has everything to do with your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
The primary result of “realm-dictated thinking and behavior” is that we often forget we live in this moment right NOW. We do not live in the past, and we do not live in the future. This is not to say we should not set goals or learn from the past. Rather, I am saying that life only happens right now, this very moment. If you truly understand the essence of living presently, it becomes much easier to stay connected with our “spiritual self.” We often identify with the roles that we have to perform everyday (i.e. father, wife, mother, secretary, engineer, doctor, etc.), which is ok. It becomes a problem when we identify with those roles to the point that we forget to care for the most important and most relevant realm of our existence: the spiritual realm. When this happens, it throws us OUT OF BALANCE and, ironically, makes us less productive in all of the previously roles.
Living presently creates a higher quality of life because it attends to the NOW. When you are connected to the present moment, you will naturally find that your life falls into balance and your perspective widens. One of the best books on this subject is A New Earth, by Eckard Tolle. I would invite you to read this book with an open mind, and I promise it will change your life for the better.
Everybody on this planet (including atheists) possesses a deep-seated need to connect with his or her originating source. Call it God, a higher power, positive energy, source energy, or whatever you deem appropriate according to your beliefs. The point is that this power is what brings you back into balance. When you are balanced, you innately possess a higher ability to deal with the demands of life. It yields clarity and gives you the ability to prioritize your life as dictated by that “higher power.”
Spirituality is a very sensitive and diverse topic, one in which I am not an expert, but I do know that those who possess higher levels of spirituality often tend to take care of their bodies because they are in tune with the needs of their soul. It is an inverse relationship. It is impossible to be spiritually fit if you completely neglect your physical body, and it is equally impossible to become physically fit if you care nothing for your spiritual needs. It is a reciprocal relationship that cannot be neglected or trivialized.
I would like to offer some simple suggestions to help you step back into the spiritual realm of balance.
- Live presently. Enjoy the moment and focus on the task at hand without thinking ahead or allowing anxiety to rule your life, and, yes, that is a choice.
- Take time for yourself. Set some time aside each day to be by yourself or with your loved ones. The goal is to have some time where you are not hampered with endless “to-do’s”.
- Meditate. This varies for everybody, but find what works for you and devote at least 15 minutes per day.
- Stop thinking! I know you are laughing at this one, but I am being serious. Endless thoughts of responsibilities and goals can hamper your ability to live presently. I would encourage you to just relax when you get overwhelmed and sense your inner spiritual nature when you get to the point of endless “chatter” in your brain . . . it is telling you to hit the reset button, and you accomplish that by being AWARE of your inner spiritual nature. Remember that you are a “spiritual being having a human experience, not a human being having an occasional spiritual experience”.
- Stay in a state of GRATITUDE! We live in a world of negativity, and it is easy to get sucked in. Throughout the day, start the practice of naming things that you are grateful for. This has the wonderful effect of bringing you into the present moment and focusing on the good in your life. This is the equivalent to spiritual super food!
- Escape to the OUTDOORS! We all know that Mother Nature has an inherent ability to show us our spiritual side.
Well, there you have it my friends! As I mentioned, I am not an expert or a spiritual teacher, but I do know from personal experience that if you are not attending to your “spiritual realm,” your health and fitness–and your life in general will quickly fall out of kilter. The answer is simple: put first things first and reap the rewards! I know that finding true spirituality is different for most, but that is NOT the point. We all have this deep need, and it is up to us to make sure that we attend to it.
Life is good!