Click the player below for the PODCAST (audio only).
In Step 8 of the 10 Steps to Bliss, we explored a new way of thinking about Dharma that feeds our Soul with pure Life energy. Now, we are clear about our Dharma, our creative purpose, and how to fulfill our Soul. If you stopped on Step 8 for a while, that’s a good thing. It means you were invigorated by the idea of living your creative purpose, your Dharma. In Step 9, we seek to become more conscious about the mechanics of our body-mind or mind-body, whichever you prefer. As long as we understand our mind and our body are the same thing. They may have separate names, but they are not separate things, they are interconnected. The mind and body are ONE and they work “in-sync” 24/7. I also provide my 4-point checklist which I use any time I “just don’t feel right”. It’s basically a Mind-Body check-up.
Step 9 of the 10 Steps to Bliss – Understanding the Body-Mind
For the sake of this explanation, I will refer to mind and body separately, but only to prove that they are in fact not separate. Sounds strange, but hang in there…
Our physical body relies on the mind for information so it can execute millions of processes simultaneously per second. There are ~50 Trillion cells in our body. These cells are constantly performing action, working for the greater good of the whole body. The cells will then die selflessly so they can be replaced by a newer cell that can serve the whole body better. If we relate this to Humans, it would be like each person serving the Earth as best we could, then when we no longer served the greater good or we consumed more resources than we created, we would let our life go so our nutrients and resources could be used more efficiently by the Earth. This is an extreme thought of course, but it serves to prove the efficient selflessness of the cells in our body and the importance of those cells working together for the greater good of the body.
The actions performed by our physical bodies sounds complicated and it is. We still don’t fully understand it. How do all those cells, which act harmoniously, yet do not communicate with one another directly (that we know of) get their marching orders? From our mind of course. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but more of a “reveal”. There are many things we know, but never apply. I like to say that “knowledge without application is useless“. Pretty difficult to refute. If we know the mind is what gives the body it’s marching orders, then that tells us two important things. #1 – Be careful your thoughts as they will be expressed by your body and #2 – The mind and body are one. Neither can exist without the other. Treat them both well and they can feed off a collective well-being.
Be careful your thoughts. There are a lot of people who like to watch scary movies for example. But once we become aware of the connection between the mind and body, we would never want to watch a scary movie. Remember, your cells rely on your mind to know what’s going on around you. They use this information to carry out tasks based on the ideal well-being of the whole. When you watch a scary movie and it feels real, creates emotions of fear and so forth, your physical body is taking action based on that. The cells in your body have no idea it’s just a movie. They will proceed with creating and releasing chemicals into the blood stream and preparing for fight/flight, etc. So be conscious of what sensory stimuli you expose to your mind because no matter what you tell yourself ahead of time, any reaction, thought or feeling you have is REAL according to the body. These types of negative stimuli, such as scary movies, can have a lasting effect as I’ve seen this first hand. A long time friend of mine was always excited to watch the next scary movie coming out and now she’s the most paranoid person I’ve ever seen. Essentially paralyzed with fear. She believes there are ghosts in her house and won’t leave at night. It makes sense because, according to her body, there is danger everywhere. That’s what it has “experienced”.
If you can instead provide positive and peaceful sensory stimuli, then you can generate a more efficient body process very easily. When you see a beautiful site, such as a mountain range, sunset or even a flower or large tree that takes your breath…soak that in for a little while. Instead of just passing by and saying “that’s beautiful”, dedicate some time to this experience. Pull over, stop what your doing and take in that beauty. Those feelings of bliss will translate positively in your physical body in the same way negative ones do from scary movies. This can happen with all positive thoughts. When you express love and compassion toward someone or gratitude in general, there is a by product in your physical body that is equally positive. Look for these opportunities and never pass them up. Every time you give your senses a blissful experience, it goes a long way toward your overall body-mind health.
The mind and body are ONE. Because of this, the physical body also speaks with the mind. However, the messages are less complex. We have all experienced fatigue or waking up early after being up late the night before. Are we in a good mood? If you’ve ever had a craving for a specific food, not a junk food, but a real food like a carrot or pineapple, then you are hearing your body speak to the mind. Many times though, due to their simplicity, the body’s messages are not clear. A lot of people mistake thirst for hunger. The body is thirsty and wants water, but instead we eat more food. Because of this, we have to listen carefully to the body and do a little deductive reasoning to create the right action. The good news is, if we treat the physical body well, it can help our mind function to it’s full potential.
I personally notice four main items which make a big difference in my overall well-being. If I am feeling great for long period’s of time, then these four items are getting attention. If I’m not feeling right, have turbulence in my internal dialogue, feel depressed or stressed, then there is a very good chance I’m not giving the proper attention to one or more of the following: Meditation, Exercise, Sleep and Sex.
– Meditate at least once a day, but ideally twice. This can be for as little at 10 minutes all the way up to as long as you want, even hours. This will help your mind stay quiet and centered.
– Use guided meditations, still meditations or any kind of meditation you want. Even mix it up to keep it fresh. Just doing it is the most important thing.
– Create a meditation practice if you can. I have given you my daily practice as a starting point. You can find it here: https://hopeithelps.org/meditation-practice/
– There are thousands of different exercise plans out there. Ignore them. Do what you can, when you can. If you can exercise every day by running up and down the stairs in your apartment complex for 15 minutes, then do it. Getting exercise doesn’t have to be some big “to-do” where you take a couple of hours out of your day.
– Do something every day if possible. Doesn’t have to be serious, just do something that breaks a sweat and gets your heart rate going. That’s all it takes to really have a positive impact on your body-mind. You’ll notice this right away. Every time you exercise, even a little, your mind will be clearer and you’ll be a little more content and blissful than otherwise.
– Exercise in the morning if you can. This way, you get an entire day of feeling the results. It should also help you get to bed a little earlier, which will help with the natural rhythms of your body.
– To give your body-mind the opportunity to perform at it’s peak, then getting enough good sleep will be crucial. The amount for each person will vary quite a bit as I’ve found, but you’ll know when you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Mark it once so you know how long that was and remember that length. Use that as your benchmark.
– The time of day when we sleep seems to be very important as well. For example, if I went to bed at 8pm and woke up at 6am, I feel dramatically more refreshed than I do if I go to bed at midnight and wake up at 10am. There are natural rhythms that our body-mind prefers. These are referred to as our circadian rhythms. This is basically the process our body undergoes to change our metabolism and internal processes to get us ready for sleep. It’s mostly based on light. This is why I feel better going to bed at 8pm and getting 10 hours of sleep, than I do going to bed at midnight and getting 10 hours of sleep. Ideally, we would go to bed shortly after sundown and awake a little time before sunrise. This is very difficult for most people, but the closer you can get to this, the better in my opinion. It really makes a big difference. If you are a “night owl”, then I can guarantee you have some side effects from it.
– There are so many benefits here, it would double the size of this already long post if I wrote them all out. This is widely known for the most part, but you can easily google all the benefits of having a healthy and regular sex-life. I have saved you a little time in that regard with this link: 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex. The most important thing is to make sure it’s on the “checklist”.
Step 9 is all about the next level of conscious choice-making. Ask yourself this question before you drink a beer or eat something naughty… “would my body choose to eat/drink this?” and if not who is making the choice? Usually, its the Ego, looking for some sort of satisfaction or boost. It’s still ok to have a beer or even eat that naughty dessert, just be conscious of that choice. Know that it’s not ideal for the body-mind and make up for it with a little extra love in the near future.
Happy Meditating. Hope it helps. Namaste 🙂