I get stuck on concepts and thoughts, sometimes stuck for more hours, days, weeks, months then necessary. Yet, I cannot help but get stuck.
Early into 2015 a friend mentioned to me, with the best intentions, that if I simply took care of my mental health everything else would fall into place. I politely responded, “you are correct”. As I walked away from our conversation I could not help but think about the challenge in simply focusing on my mental health. What is my mental health? How do I take care of my mental health? How will everything else fall into place without me consciously adapting things to help the rest of me get healthier?
It is also not uncommon for individuals within the faith community I was raised in to mention things like, say your prayers and things will work out. Without denying their beliefs, I cannot stop but wonder how my physical health will improve by just saying prayers. I am pretty sure that my muscles need good nutrition, exercise, and sleep to move from a state of health to healthy. In a similar fashion, for me, simply saying prayers does not feel like enough to uplift my spiritual health. Thus, I am stuck in a tangle of thoughts.
It is without doubt in my mind that an individuals spiritual, mental, and physical health are all interconnected and rely upon one another in order to maintain a healthy state. I have yet to read OSHO’s book, but from the title and short description on the back I would assume he would agree with me. Our bodies take a lot for us, they endure the mass amounts of junk food we supply it with, the sleepless nights we all endure, the poor posture as we sit at our computers, and yet our bodies allow us to be present while connecting with the self and others. Similarly our mental health often allows us to act and hide our deeper feelings, sharing with the world what others expect to see, hear, and feel. On the other hand, I feel as though our spiritual health is often left behind. As terms shifted in North America from religious to spiritual there has been a significant increase in individuals caring for their spiritual health, yet it is something that is still rarely discussed. The few I engage with regularly tell me that my spiritual health will increase if I attend prayers more consistently, if I believe in something bigger than me. I do not necessary disagree with them but I do question if that is the only way to achieve positive spiritual health.
I have always connected to the world through my body, if I knew it or not. I feel most content when I am our for a long run, hiking in natures beauty, playing a sport with peers, or lifting weights at the gym. In these moments I can feel my body ease, sense the shift in my mental thoughts, and feel connected to something larger than me. It is in physical pursuits that I believe my spiritual health is at its highest. Yet, I can find peace while sitting in silent meditation as well. These long silent moments challenge my physical body to stay still, something I am very poor at. In fact, if I am not naturally shaking or twitching I am fighting the urge to get up out of my seat and do something, anything. Beyond the physical body, meditation has also taught me how to calm my mind and bring ease to the wandering thoughts that fill my regular day.
Really, what I am trying to say in my long roundabout tangent manner is that I am not sure that one can care for only their spiritual, mental, or physical health without caring for all three simultaneously. And although I desire to inspire the movement from health to healthy for each individual component of ones life I believe it will not be possible to do so without the intersecting of spiritual, mental, and physical health.
I will leave you with a thought, perhaps a question. If you are seeking to improve one component of your health, whether it be your spiritual, mental, or physical, what are you doing to care for the other two components?