Updated: May 17
How do we become the master of our bodies, minds, and lives? Why is it that we look outward in the world to find answers about our selves? What is it about our selves we are looking for? Where do we find answers?
We work hard to earn money or power, but it only creates a desire for more. We seek pleasure but it doesn't bring lasting happiness. We are left confused and aimlessly wandering, hoping that if we continue to chase new things in life, one day, we will find something that brings us peace. After years of struggle, we begin to think that true happiness is a never-ending pursuit, and that it only comes in fleeting moments... that this is simply the way life is.
We are wrong. It is the simple fact that because we look outward for answers that we don’t find them. If we lack awareness and connection to the creative power we have within, we don't understand that the outer world is only half the experience of life and that the ultimate source of wisdom is found within.
The day we turn inward, the day we turn toward body, mind, and spirit, is the day we discover the truths about life and the Self.
We set out into the world to find our selves when the true Self lays within. We try to define ourselves by material objects, physical characteristics, and personality traits, though it is scientific and spiritual wisdom that gives us right understanding of what we mean by "self"/"me"/"I" in the first place.
To set out on the path to Self-Realization, creating lasting happiness, and forming right-identity, yogis teach the 8 practices or "limbs" of yoga. Buddhists teach the Noble 8 Fold Path. Based on my experience learning from yogis and monks, my training as a yoga teacher and personal trainer, and my own life, I distill these into 3 basic practices:
MOVEMENT TRAINING ("MOVE")
Physical health is about more than building muscle, getting flexible, or burning fat. It’s about returning the body to a naturally balanced state. Misuse of technology, sedentary lifestyles, and a disconnect from nature has withered our bodies. Not only that, but we've also lost our child-like passion for play. We need to let the body move naturally, without the restriction of complex equipment and restrictive exercises. When we do so our joints begin to move fluidly again, we feel stronger, pain-free, and our intuitive physical/sensual awareness is restored. As the body becomes free, it connects deeper with the mind, and opens the doorway to higher states of well-being.
Spend at least 30 minutes each day moving your body in a way that brings you joy.
Bring focus to your movement and do it for yourself, no one else. You don't need a gym, you don't need fancy equipment, just let it do what it was made to do. Go for a jog, try some yoga, go for a swim, or just simply PLAY... Anything that gets it moving will make you feel good, maintain or enhance your physical health, and give you the capability to better enjoy life.
BREATHWORK & MEDITATION ("BREATHE")
The breath is our primary source of energy, yet, we are rarely aware of it or consider its impact on our health. Every emotion, every form of stress, and every state of being is associated with a particular breathing pattern. When we gain control of the breath and flow with it we can master our physical and mental state. Breathwork and meditation are the keys to focusing the mind, overcoming stress, and understanding our emotional reactions. When this happens see can see beyond the ego and reflect on our life without emotional attachment. With practice and dedication, this comes with a deep sense of gratitude, underlying bliss, and a realization of the universal Self.
Spend at least 10 minutes each day observing your breath and mind.
When we carefully observe the breath, the continuous flow of thoughts that bring us anxiety and fear disappear into the background. As we practice, our concentration deepens and we may find peace in the void of a clear mind. With clarity, intuition shines through, and naturally, you'll need less thought to make good decisions. Taking a little time to pay close attention to the breath and what's going on in your head will enable you to create a stable and clear mind.
LIFESTYLE DESIGN ("EVOLVE")
With a free body and a clear mind, we can see ourselves and our lives for what they truly are. Movement and meditation are great tools, but only when we apply their principles to daily life do we see lasting benefits and take control of our own evolution. By mindfully choosing our actions, thoughts, and behaviours we can direct our lives towards a purpose-driven goal. This is the art of lifestyle design. Being healthy in mind and body clears many of the obstacles to become our best self. Once that is done, we can focus our energy on the things that bring us passion and purpose. With time and effort, even the largest of dreams are within our grasp. Life is ours to mold.
Pick a goal you're passionate about. Make a plan to achieve it. Be flexible enough to know the goal and plan change over time.
This is how we design a life, instead of letting life design us. But it's not about willpower, or forcing life to happen in a particular way. It's about being self-aware enough to understand our passions and allow those things to manifest in our lives like a magnet attracts metal. Now, that doesn't happen by just sitting around waiting and wishing. Our passion becomes the goal. While that goal might be overwhelming at first, we can break it down into little chunks that build toward the larger aim. Life will throw unexpected obstacles in our way, so we need to be vigilant, flexible, adaptable. The plan will change. As we obtain experience and wisdom, even the goal may change, but we will always have a path. We will always have a purpose for being, and we will naturally attract the things we desire without force or strain.
Practice these 3 things every day and watch yourself and your life evolve. Before you know it, you'll look back to see how far you've come and find peace knowing that happiness can be long-lasting.
If you'd like to know more about this 3 part holistic wellness system, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading. Wishing you well,