Meditation. Yoga. Reflection. Journaling. Cultivating your spirit. Mindfulness.
The invitation to foster our spirit can be found almost everywhere now. Oprah has teamed up with Deepak Chopra to offer a free meditation challenge. Yoga studios are plentiful in most cities and many topics and industries are including “mindfulness,” such as mindful eating, mindful parenting, mindful medicine, mindful schools, as part of their programming.
At the core of spiritual wellness is your sense of self, discovering your purpose in life, and recognizing the greater meaning that your life has. A healthy sense of being includes the ability to find an inner peace or calm in order to get through the (often rugged) journey that life brings to you. It’s a sense of wholeness and a knowing that it is in being your authentic self that true happiness is found.
It’s important to point out that the being dimension, and the concept of spiritual wellness, has nothing to do with religion. Religion is an institutionalized container for your belief system. In contrast, spirituality gets at the foundation of the human condition, your condition as a human being, and the process of spiritual wellness is an examination of your own experience in life, in all of its dynamic and nuanced processes.
Okay, so it’s getting a little mystical.
Let’s think of this way. Developing your sense of being involves developing an awareness of who you are, at your very core. It provides the opportunity for self-examination and then the opportunity for growth into your best self. A strong sense of being helps you overcome hardships, obstacles, and the criticism of others.
Some fundamental practices promote healthy being:
Reflection- This includes contemplation, consideration, and thought about our experiences and actions in order to learn from them and get a better understanding of our way of moving through and engaging with the world. You can reflect upon your day and think about what went well, what you could have done better. You can reflect upon your relationships and consider how they could be stronger, what needs aren’t being met, why certain people are so important to you. There is no right or wrong in reflection, it is your space and time to take stock of what it’s important, notice your thoughts and your emotions, consider your values, and evaluate your actions.
Mindfulness- Simply put mindfulness is paying attention. Mindfulness is paying attention to how your actions, choices, and behaviors are going to affect yourself and others. Mindfulness implies that you have a little more intention about your thoughts and actions. You are not just moving belligerently through the day. You can be mindful about your eating, and pay attention to the food you consume and how those choices affect you. You can be mindful about your body, and pay attention to how your body is feeling. Living mindfully means you are paying attention to the way you live your life and considering how that impacts not only yourself, but the world around you.
Awareness- Awareness is a noticing, a consciousness. With awareness, you are noticing how you are affecting your self and others, and you consider the footprint you are leaving on the world. When you are aware, you use your senses to recognize the state of yourself and others. Self-awareness, for example, is consciousness about the elements of the self. This could include thoughts, feelings, actions.
Intention – Intention is the vehicle to live in the alignment that we want to live in. When we know what we value we can work to align our actions with our values. Living a life where our values are expressed thought our thoughts and actions is living a life based in integrity and character. Intention helps clarify what we want to bring more of into our life.
Each of these, reflection, mindfulness, awareness, and intention, is a doorway in to your being. It is not one or the other. These are all entry points and they work in relation to each other. For example, you might notice someone’s facial expression and then gain awareness that you said something that caused hurt feelings. So you realize that next time, you should be more mindful about what you say and how you say it. You can then reflect on that experience to see if this is a common pattern for you, and set an intention to use more compassionate language in conversation.
Practicing reflection, mindfulness, awareness, and intention develops your ability to:
- Respond, not react
- Maintain a perspective that considers humanity and your impact on the world
- Develop resiliency and the ability to learn from mistakes and hardships
- Create a life path that will help you achieve your vision
- Live with grace and explore your truth
Remember we are human beings, not human doings. We invite you to join with us on the journey to foster our sense of being.