The notion of spiritual health might be confusing to some because it is not a way of thinking that's common to our experience.
I know this firsthand because I had the notion of "health" topsy turvy for years.
I've always believed that we are a body-mind-spirit being and that each part of ourself must be attended to to have optimal well-being. This made sense to me. Take care of your body, take care of your mind, take care of your spirit and everything will be just fine. Oh, yes, take care care of your heart too—your emotional self.
After losing my health in 1994 (a complete crash and burn experience on all levels—physical, mental and emotional), using the traditional BMS formula is how I patched my life back together. Or so I thought.
It took me nearly a year to reclaim my well-being. During that year, I did very little but took care of myself and my family as best I could. I rested (alot!), walked the beach daily, laid in the sun, connected with nature, and I read--books I was unexplainedly drawn to (Thich Nhat Hanh, the poetry of Rumi, for ex., best to say these books/writers found me).
Each day of my healing journey I made sure that I did something "good" for my body, my mind, my heart, and my spirit because part of me still wanted to get the formula just right! At the end of a year, I did feel much better and could return to "normal" life at a reduced pace, with fresh awareness of how I could live more gently with myself.
Here's the miracle of miracles.
My soul was the guiding force in my healing journey.
My soul—the divine intelligence within me, the "heart/mind" that is plugged into the One (Source, God, Love, etc)—was the wayshower. It was out in front leading me the entire time and I didn't even know it.
I understand now that our soul is always guiding us toward healing and wholeness; to living intimately connected with the Source of everything ... the Divine as we understand it.
And even if we don't actively perceive this connection (like me), the soul is still present, active, guiding us toward homeostasis, to wholeness.
This, in my view, is where the notion of "spiritual health" comes in. When we learn to listen for our soul's guidance, we know (on some level) exactly what we need to do to restore balance in our life.
The soul knows. The soul guides
On a human level, this means it is our utmost calling to connect with our soul, strengthen our ability to hear it, then honor what it invites us to. When we do, we are literally "home free."
During my health crash/healing, I was listening to something, though I didn't know it was my soul back then. It was a still small voice within me that guided me to what brought spiritual nourishment and healing energy: to walk the shoreline, or to rest, or to say "No" to a certain responsibility. It drew me toward the right book to read, the right person to reach out to, the right foods to eat.
This process of listening to, honoring, and acting upon the soul's directives is "Spiritual Health." As we pay attention to our soul needs--our spiritual needs—our whole health returns.
Attending to our Spiritual Health can result in:
• healing, increased physical health and well-being (Body)
• mental stability, inner calm, peace of mind (Mind)
• stabilized emotions, improved relationships with self and others,
openheartedness, love, forgiveness (Heart)
• wisdom (compassion, lovingkindness, generosity, living "the
virtues of the Spirit") (Spirit)
Nurturing our Spiritual Health, in time, restores body-mind-spirit wellness. Life balance. Inner harmony.
Yet, in the bigger picture, the greatest benefit of attending to our Spiritual Health is that it softens us. It makes us maleable and opens us to our humanity and to the divinity within us. It plugs us into the Divine as we understand so we are directly connected to the source of our being—our love, our passion, our purpose.
Spiritual Health is a profound path to wholeness. And wholeness is our birthright and our destiny.
When we are in tune with our soul, Everything is possible.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.