Peace of Heart - Peace of Mind




Articles by Dr. Miller ©

There is a tremendous interest in the integration of body, mind, and spirit. This is probably because a split developed between the three which is unnatural. All three are products of one body, and we intuit that all three should work together. Let's reflect on the meaning and some implications of these words.

We don't need to go to the dictionary for the meaning of body. However, for the maintenance of the body, we all need to work very hard every day. We all pretty much know what we need to do for health and fitness, but it is the how and when that is difficult for us. For health and fitness, we need to keep the body strong and in balance. That means we need to get seven to nine hours of sleep a day, eat modestly and nutritiously, and exercise daily, alternating hard and easy days. This is not news to most of us. What is relevant to us every day is how we go about implementing this healthy balance. We need to work on these things daily, today, right now. This is the hard part. How to get ourselves to do this consistently is the challenge.

I recommend The Three D's. The three D's are determination, discipline, and diligence. Without these, we can't do anything consistently. Determination means that we have to decide what we are going to do about nutrition and exercise, when we are going to do it, and set our intent to do it. Webster says that discipline is "training expected to produce a specific type or pattern of behavior", and "a systematic method to obtain obedience", and "a set of methods or rules". We can't do anything consistently if we do not conquer discipline. The main aspect of discipline I want to address, is the fact that we get down to the present moment of now, when we apply discipline. To practice good and balanced nutrition and exercise daily, means we get down to the present moment NOW. Some things that may help you in the moment of now, is to tell yourself: "I am doing this Right Now. Nothing is going to be harder than it is Right Now. If I can get through this moment, Right Now, I am doing it." Meditation and breathing techniques will help with this. In order to apply this, we have to be absolutely firm in our mind and intent, and we have to implement the third D - diligence.

Webster says that mind is "human consciousness…that is manifested in thought, memory, perception, feeling, will, or imagination", and "all of the conscious and unconscious processes of the brain". To apply our mind to something means to apply our will, to set an intent, to take responsibility. The Buddhist view of mind is helpful here. According to Dogen Zenji, a 12th Century Zen Master, "Enlightenment is the natural activity of everyday mind. This mind is not concerned with the past or future, it is continually working now, in the present, and concerns itself only with each new moment." Everyday mind is not analyzing, judging, or discriminating. Everyday mind rests in each moment and experience, coming and going freely. Past, present, and future rest together in each moment. Meditation is the method of literally practicing this experience of mind. We can practice this on a bench or cushion, and then we can take the practice off the cushion into everyday life. To keep a balance between the western understanding of mind and the eastern understanding will lead to balance, peace, and equilibrium.

We have a vastly wide definition of the term spirit - from "a vital animating force", "referring to a soul as part of, but separate from the human body", to "a person's essential nature". Oftentimes, people think of spiritual as having to do with extra sensory perception, precognition, levitation, communication with the dead, channeling, and so on. Others understand spirituality as referring to transpersonal or religious experience.

Let's look at another view of the meaning of spirit that involves taking the meaning of the word and becoming it in your person. This is the effort to develop character and behavior into the higher levels of human capacity -- to develop virtues and "positive mental factors", (positive mental qualities as opposed to negative states), to develop one's character over a period of time. Robert Aitken, a renowned Zen master, says that "the practice of Zen is the perfection of character." This is a different and direct way to think about spirituality that promotes personal growth and well being. Psychological work addresses the development of a healthy ego and self. This form of spiritual development addresses the movement beyond selfishness, and even beyond the development of a healthy ego. One addresses self; the other addresses beyond self, selflessness, and “not-self”.

John White wrote, “We are manifestations of Being, but like the cosmos itself, we are also in the process of Becoming – always growing, changing, developing, evolving to higher and higher states that ever more beautifully express the perfection of the source of existence.”

Hegel said, “The path is not as yet the goal and Spirit does not reach the goal without having traversed the path

As we work on the different aspects of ourselves, growing, changing, and evolving, over time there begins to be a natural awareness of, and integration of the three: body, mind, and spirit.


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