Just as our bodies need physical exercise to stay healthy, our spirit (Atma in Sanskrit) needs daily attention for us to be happy and peaceful. This is where the ancient art of spiritual fitness comes in…
In our everyday lives, we’re constantly bombarded by cultural media messages about working out, looking good, and eating right. But that’s not all,… We’re also told we need an attractive partner, money in the bank, the nicest clothing, the best social life, and a job that fulfils us. The list of things we’re trying to achieve is too long and the time we have too short. For many this results in burnout and confusion.
In this intense way of life, we often notice that we’re not feeling right. Our misguided solution is to increase our demands. We think, “I just need to go the gym more,” or “I need a new diet and a vacation,” or “I need to be with someone else.” Worse, we sometimes indulge in our worst habits, reaching for a quick fix.
The simple answer to these problems is to make spiritual fitness our number one priority. Because when we get to know our spiritual selves – our Atma, our problems start to take care of themselves. Just as when we pour water on the root of a tree, the whole tree naturally flourishes. When we know our self, life gets simpler and sweeter at once, though still appearing complicated on the surface. When we know our self, we don’t exhaust ourselves searching for approval. When we know our self, we feel peace and happiness within. When we know our self, we love others more easily and flow with the changes of life.
But to get to know oneself as spirit and create a tangible relationship with our original spiritual source requires some adjustments that take a little commitment on our part! Along this path, there are three basic areas of spiritual wellness that we recommend incorporating into your personal Spiritual Fitness plan:
It is difficult to connect with the indwelling atma if we aren’t taking care of our bodies, and so this is the first level of spiritual fitness. Our bodies are the home of the spirit, and not taking care of ourselves is the equivalent of trying to live in the same house with an awful roommate.
When we start to take care of our bodies, seeing them as temples, we not only remember our higher purpose in life, but we also become aware of the happiness that comes from our own selves as a spiritual beings.
As we’re taking care of the body, we also need to take care of the mind. One of the simplest needs that we have on the level of the mind is to hear from sources of wisdom about the nature of ourselves and the nature of life.
Mental health is also about learning how to make the mind a friend, rather than letting our mind with its thought-life become an enemy. Friendship with the mind comes from regularly feeding it high-minded association and topics for contemplation.
Finally, as we arrange for a mental and physical environment conducive to spiritual awareness, we can increasingly benefit from the practice of mantra-meditation.
Through sacred sound inherent in mantra-meditation, we begin to catch glimpses of our indwelling spirit, while also gradually opening ourselves up to a relationship with our original, divine source.