MIND, BODY & SOUL CARE
25th June 2020
1 Thessalonians 5:23, KJV: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We have looked at the mind and what is needed or advised to ensure good mental health. We looked at the body, and most of us realise that eating healthy and exercising may ensure a healthier body, it is surely conducive to remaining healthy. Soul Care spoke of how the Soul communicates with us, it's role in helping us to get to where we need to be and the path to take to ensure we get there sooner, with less stress than we would have without the Souls help.
How is it possible to keep mind, body and Soul healthy every day?
The answer is Mindfulness, acknowledging the the present, or simply being aware! In my book ‘The Exhorted Soul', (2018) Angela Scott,The Exhorted Soul, Chapter 12, Amazon) I introduce 'The Eight Wheel Path' which is the Buddhist teachings of attaining Nirvana (the path to enlightenment) through rightness of belief, resolve, speech, action, livelihood, effort, thought, and meditation.
In order to reach, what Buddhism call Nirvana a place of perfect peace and happiness. One needs to be continually mindful, this is achieved by following 'The Eightfold Path', which is Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Concentration and Right Mindfulness. ‘The Exhorted Soul', (2018) Angela Scott,The Exhorted Soul, Chapter 12, Amazon)
This chapter will use The Eight Fold Path as a suggestion/idea of caring for the Mind, Body and Soul, while using three subtitles: Life, Situation and Yourself. Part One will concentrate on Right View and Right Intention.
The components of the Eightfold Path are divided among three forms of training which are: Wisdom, Ethics and Concentration.
The Wisdom training consist of Right View and Right Intention. We will start with a look at Right View. I believe that any attempt to holistically care for your Mind, Body and Soul, one’s view is of vital importance.
What are your views about your life? How do you view, most of the situations you find yourself in? How do you view yourself?
What view do you hold for your life? Many people view life as a cycle, we are born, we grow, we work, we get old and we die. Thoughts like that may have you trudging through life expecting to retire then curl up and die.
When dealing with situations- If your view of life follows a pattern of, you are born, you grow, you work etc.. any situation you find yourself in, may have an inherent dim outcome. Disclaimer here, it really would depends on the situation. So let’s take a situation like missing the train on a work day.
Let me introduce Harry, he has the view of life, similar to the one above...Things just happen, that's life.
Harry missed his train as he had to find the cat, in-order to put her in the house before leaving for work. Millie the cat had gone out for her morning stroll around the garden and had gotten into next doors’ garden. It took ten extra minutes to get Millie into the house. Harry then had to get his keys and work bag, run to the bus stop, travel for 8 minutes, when he arrived at the train station, he had to purchase a train ticket, walk to his platform and board his train.
Harry normally gets to work 30 minutes early, so he felt he would still be able to get to work on time. Unfortunately the next train to Harry’s destination was cancelled. Harry then begins to play out what is going to happen. First, the next train will also be cancelled and secondly he will get to work 2 hours late, his boss will be at the door as he walks in. He will then be taken into his boss’ office and will be reprimanded or even sacked. The reason for his train of thought is …’One thing follows the next, you do something wrong, you get punished.' Remember we are born, we grow etc….. Harry runs his 2 hours late to work thoughts, through his mind for 45 minutes and then waits a further 15 minutes before calling the office, to let them know he is going to be late. The person who answers the phone tells him not to worry, most of the office, she says, is going to be late as there has been some issue with the trains today. Harry was wrong to think, he’d be reprimanded, Harry worried in vain. One of my issues with Harry’s way of thinking is that he used one hour of his life worrying. I won’t even go into what his body went through for that hour. Harry couldn’t hear his intuition tell him that ‘it’s going to be alright’. Putting intuition aside, for a moment. Harry wouldn’t hear it from his best friend, who happened to call him while he was waiting for the train. He's friend said ' I bet most of your office is stuck trying to get to work, there has been an issue on the Lines'. Train lines that were going to and from Harry’s final destination.
Harry lives in a world view bubble of ‘This is what is going to happen’ I had a friend like that! I am a very optimistic person and as a psychologist I can see things from different view points. I am also able to suggest different scenario’s to situations. My then friend would always, yes always, give me a rebuttal to every point I made, and she was unable to see her situation any other way than the one she had conquered up for herself, needless to say, most of her dreamt up scenario’s to her situation was wrong. Our conversations would go something like this ‘ No Kelly, you won’t get thrown in jail because you forgot to pay your bill and paid it a week late.’ ‘No Kelly, they won’t cancel your subscriptions because you called them last month enquiring about a different package’. It would be strange speaking to Kelly a few days later, when the sky didn’t fall to earth or the sun didn’t fail to rise and her situation, as it always did, worked itself out. Remember, situations always, always work themselves out. The outcome may not always be the one you would have hoped for, but they work themselves out one way or another. If you can do something to ensure the outcome is favourable, then do that, if there is nothing you can do about the situation, then let it play itself out, being mindful that the situation will work out in your favour.
For Harry, our conversation would have been something like this…’No Harry, you are not likely to be reprimanded for being late, this will be the first time in 5 years, that you get in late’! Admittedly Harry, clearly has other things going on! In order to jump to a self-deprecating conclusion to a situation he had no control over, and to stay there for a whole hour! Harry’s self-worth in that company may not be as lofty as should be. Harry had never been late for work in the five years he had worked there. He is well liked and respected. But because his view of himself is so low, a stern reprimand or a sacking is the likely out-come!
Buddhist teachings state, there is a healthy and an unhealthy view that could be adopted, and we are to adopt a healthy view. Harry we can see, took the unhealthy path, as his mind may have even taken him to a scene of losing his job, being unable to pay his mortgage, being thrown out and having no-where for him and Millie to live……..All because he was going to be late for work…WOW.
We have seen how Harry views the world or life and the latest situation he found himself in. The other question I posed earlier, is how a person like Harry would view himself. Do you feel equip to answer that question? I think you are! You have seen how Harry viewed his place of work, one can only imagine that Harry has a warped sense of his standing within his company. I would hazard a guess that Harry has a low self-esteem, as he believed that he would either be reprimanded or sacked, because he was late. They was no thought of ‘I have never been late before, so they can’t rumble too much’ Or ‘I’ll tell them the reason I am late, I’m sure they’ll understand’ There was not even an ounce of ego in his thoughts, regarding saving himself from punishment. Harry could have had a back up speech for his lateness. Harry could have said, if challenged ‘I’ve never been late in five years’ But Harry’s thoughts went straight to punishment. Right view or healthy view of life, may have changed the scenario you read above.
Consider for a moment how you handle situations, is it the end of the world, should you spill coffee on yourself as you are about to leave the house? or do you accept what has happened and change your clothes. For some, spilling coffee on their clothes would set the president for the whole day and way into the following day.
What do you find yourself saying most often? Is it positive or negative?
Do you hold a glass half full view of life or is it more often a glass half empty? I am the type of person that is grateful I have a glass, then I wouldn’t have to cup my hands to get the water! How you view life in general has a cascading effect on your interactions with others and how you treat yourself, that is your Mind, Body and whether you hear your Soul speaking to you.
The Wisdom factor on the wheel, is Intention. Buddhist teaching would say, one should set an intention to do no harm. That is, to oneself or to others. You may have heard the saying ‘with all good intentions’, this or that went wrong. Or ‘with all the will in the world’, this or that didn’t happen. One’s intention is vital, it aids our everyday activities, and helps us reach our goals. In caring for your Mind Body and Soul, intention has to be considered. Let’s look at my three sub titles: Life, Situation and Yourself.
Look at your intentions for your life? Do they match up with what you have achieved? Seriously, take a minute to have a look. For many, they haven’t stopped long enough in the last ten years to take stock of where their life is heading or what they have achieved, statements like ‘I’ve just got on with life’ are used. I, more than most can testify that the years can ‘run away with you’ I had spent a large portion of a ten year span chasing a wage, month after a month I would get my wage in-order to pay bills. There was no thought of luxury items, holidays or even a day out. I believe that as one gets older, the years go by quicker…maybe that’s just me! What do you notice about your intentions for your life, are they far fetched? Are they achievable? Have they been realised? DrScott@loveliveholistically.com What are your thoughts for mankind? As I write this, we have a virus circulating the world, causing most, if not all countries to shutdown. We are told by our governments to stay in our homes, we are told that we can leave our homes to buy food and get medication only. All shops that do not provide either are to remain closed. With all that going on, ones intentions/thoughts for our mankind may be, that we will all be wiped out! Or you may be thinking that if we stay safe we will be OK. Buddhist teaching state that we are to have the intention to do no harm to ourselves or others. So with that in mind what is the intention for your life?
What is your intention for the rest of your life? Is it like Harry? The worst is likely to happen? Or do you have a plan/intention for your life? Perhaps you think you will live a life that may have its ups and downs, but things will inevitably work out in your favour. Ones intention has powers. In a court of law ones intention can carry a harsher sentence than a crime that was committed without the intention to commit said crime. Scientific research shows that the mere intention has the power to evoke a response. Researcher Cleve Baxter measured the electromagnetic activity of sperm, as mentioned in Deepak Chopra’s book ‘Synchodestiny’ Baxters participant, a sperm donor was about forty feet away, down the hall from the lab where his specimen was located in a test tube. The donor crushed a capsule of amylnitrate, and as he inhaled the fumes, there was an instantaneous spike in the electromagnetic activity of his sperm which as mentioned above, was forty feet away. In another experiment by Cleve Baxter, he was isolating white cells in order to study them, using his saliva in-order to get a concentrated number of cells, this was placed in a test tube and a gold wire electrodes inserted, it was then connected to a EEG type instrument. Baxter then thought that if he inflict a small cut on the back of his hand he may affect his white cells, so he goes in search of lancet on a shelf near by. When he returned, he glanced at the chart that was recording the electromagnetic activity of the white blood cells, he noticed it had registered intense activity of the cells during his search for the lancet. Baxter concluded that the cells were reacting to his intention to cut the back of his hand, before he had actually inflicted the cut. This is the power of intention.
What effect do you think you could have on another by using mere intention? Imagine you are upset with someone and your intention, when you see them, will be to let them have a 'piece of your mind' holding nothing back. How do you think that conversation will go when you meet up with them? Give me two outcomes. Here's mine. You and that person are going to have a rather heated conversation. You and that person may begin to fight! What I haven't mentioned here is that your thoughts or intentions to have a confrontation with this person may have that person ready for a fight, ready to let you have it, ready to give you a piece of their mind. People are not often surprised by an intended confrontation when they know or 'feel' that they may have upset someone. The intensity of their rebuttal may have a direct correlation to your intention! Just a thought to consider. The situation above may turn out differently especially if your intention is to 'just, clear up the misunderstanding' or to find out how the other person felt about what happen or what was said to make you feel the way you do! Can you see the difference? Things get muddled when we began to assume another's motive or intention for saying or doing something! Being aware of your intentions and it's power to evoke a reaction, good or bad is an act of Mindfulness and care for one's self.
What are your intentions for yourself, lets take this one a little closer to home, what do you intend to do this evening? Rest, get that cupboard cleared out? Cook dinner for your family or get to your night shift on time? We are not often asked this question. As adults we tend to just get on with life and the responsibilities we are committed to fulfil. I propose that each day we consider our intentions for ourselves.
On waking, the intention for yourself should be considered. Ask yourself 'What do I want for me today'. This could be an unrushed transit from home to work, a stress less day at work. If we put the intention 'out there' we will attempt to carry those intentions out. You don't want to rush, so you may go to bed earlier, in-order to get up earlier. You catch an earlier train or bus into work, missing the morning traffic and getting into work while the office is not so busy. Your stressless day at work can't be promised, but with your intention of having a stress less day, how do you think you will react when a stressful situation pokes it's head round your office door? You have already decided that your work day will be stressless, so you will enter every interaction with this in mind. You would see the pile of 'folders' on your desk (metaphysically speaking) as work you'll complete or get done by it's deadline – Stresslessly! You will enter interactions with others, in a calm stressless provoking way. Everything you do or say will be with having a stressless day in mind.
The Wisdom factor on The Eight Wheel Path, is Right View and Right Intention. If our view and intention of life, the situation we are in, or of ourselves is positive we will be on the right path to caring for our Mind, Body and Soul.
If you have enjoyed my blog and would like to contribute to its continued help and guidance to others, please donate. All donations gratefully received and appreciated.