Your health and wellness affect almost every aspect of life. Find out about this interesting relationship between your health and your path in life.
Let’s start with a definition of wellness.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” — World Health Organization (WHO)
Next, we’ll review each of these six dimensions. Then we’ll discuss how these they relate to the spiritual path. Dr. Hettler (of the WHO) describes the elements of health and wellness in the following categories:
Six Dimensions of Wellness
Maximizing your health requires an understanding of the six dimensions and how they relate to our lives. We forget how complex we are. It’s easy to focus on just one thing or one dimension. If you affect one dimension, it affects the others. The goal is to achieve the proper balance in our lives to be healthy and durable.
So, the first step is to make an honest assessment of each dimension. Once you understand the relationship between these six dimensions of wellness, then you can make the necessary adjustments.
The occupational dimension recognizes personal satisfaction in one’s life through work. Occupational wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to choose a career that is consistent with our personal values, interests, and beliefs than to select one that is unrewarding to us.
- Continuing to develop functional, transferable skills is key to keeping up with changes in technology.
The physical dimension recognizes the need for regular physical activity. Physical development encourages a holistic approach including exercise, diet, and nutrition. Physical wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to consume foods and beverages that enhance good health rather than those which simply satisfy taste.
- Focusing on being functionally fit will increase your ability to enjoy a wider variety of life activities.
The social dimension encourages contributing to one’s environment and community. It emphasizes the interdependence between others and nature. Social wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think only of ourselves.
- Striving to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in conflict.
The intellectual dimension recognizes one’s creative, stimulating mental activities. It values both expanding knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing their gifts. Intellectual wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to stretch and challenge our minds with intellectual and creative pursuits than to become unproductive and interested only in passive entertainment.
- Learning to identify potential problems and choose courses of action based on information rather than to wait, worry, and contend with major concerns later.
The spiritual dimension recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. Spiritual wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and our own path than follow the beliefs of others. To be tolerant of other views but not complacent when confronted with injustice, inequity or prejudice.
- It is better to live each day consistent with the universal value for all people and the environment than to be selfish and greedy.
The emotional dimension is the awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. It is the capacity to manage one’s feelings and behaviors. Developing an emotional awareness, a realistic assessment of one’s abilities and limitations. The ability to cope effectively with stress and maintain healthy relationships with others. Emotional wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to know of and accept our feelings than to deny them.
- An optimistic approach to life attracts more positive support than a pessimistic outlook.
Maximizing your Health
Now it’s time for an assessment of these principals. You’ll likely spot a dimension or two where you lack action or focus. Achieving the proper balance requires constant adjustments.
For example, if you know you need to lose weight for health reasons. But your assessment tells you are lacking proper in focus in both the physical and emotional dimensions. Now you know where to put more effort. So, you may need to adjust the time or effort you spend in one or more other dimensions.
By applying the six dimensions of wellness, we can maximize our health and wellness. We notice how they relate to one another and contribute to the quality of life. This holistic model explains:
- How we contribute to their environment and community, and how to create a better life.
- The enrichment of life through work and how it connects to living and playing; belief systems, values, and creating a world-view;
- The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength, and vitality, as well as personal responsibility, self-care and when to seek medical attention;
- Self-esteem, self-control, and determination as a sense of direction; creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing your gifts with others.
Applying a wellness approach can be useful in nearly every human endeavor. It is a pathway to optimal living. A holistic health philosophy is spawning the growth in “helping professions” like counseling and medical arts and practices. The National Wellness Institute devised three questions to assess the degree to which wellness is incorporated into a particular approach:
- Will this tactic or activity help people achieve their full potential?
- Does this recognize and address the whole person (multi-dimensional approach)?
- How does this affirm and mobilize people’s positive qualities and strengths?
Relating Wellness Dimensions to My Path
Health and Wellness have an interesting relationship with our awareness and consciousness. Sometimes, we find either direct or inverse relationships. Sometimes there is are a correlation. Maximizing your health requires the proper balance of all dimensions.
Know thyself. This is the key. Our wellness needs are unique. Some say that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. To know ourselves we need to follow the call of the inward journey. Many people in our modern world forget this important part of our overall wellness. Spiritual exploration correlates to the spiritual dimension of health and wellness. This involves the use of what we call spiritual technologies.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration. Using these tools is an important part of maximizing your health.
You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group. We like this simple method.
- Tools to enhance critical thinking. This study of basic logical reasoning along with spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. Then we also use comparative analysis. This is a step-by-step way of comparing beliefs between different worldviews. Above all, these tools will help sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction.
- The Enneagram Personality Profile. This is mostly an analytical tool. It provides insight into the mechanisms of ego, personality, and instinct.
- Seated meditation is often the heart of your spiritual practice. This includes a range from Beginning Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation through Japa Meditation and more advanced Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Moving meditation helps us strengthen the mind-body connection. It is also an important key to our health and wellness. This progression includes several methods of energy collection, such as Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.
- Pathways for expanding and exploring awareness. This progression includes a range of processes from lucid dreaming, the Shamanic Journey and Guided Meditation to third-eye awakening and soul memory awareness. Practical tools to guide your path, a spiritual journal, and automatic writing.
- Healing practices are the final group. This branch includes Pe Jet, Reiki, and Shiatsu. Self-care is also a part of this group and is vital to our overall health and wellness.
Now, back to our topic of how health and wellness and spiritual exploration. First of all, we all start our life with different DNA, different gifts, abilities, and imperfections. So, we may get a range of results when applying the same spiritual technology.
The Occupational Dimension of my Path
What we do to earn a living can be an entry point. However, many people work in order to live. They don’t have the luxury of being able to choose work that is financially viable or enriching. Those lucky enough to have a career that provides enrichment are in the minority.
We find those who are in high paying career fields are consumed by the career leaving little time for other dimensions that make life meaningful. People come to us in search of means of reducing stress and carving out time for the other areas of life. You can learn to enjoy your work more (see above reference to Japa/TM meditation). The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a good example of how one can learn to find spiritual meaning in what would otherwise be a mundane and tedious ritual.
The Physical Dimension of my Path
Our physical health and wellness can directly impact our ability to engage in activities related to spiritual exploration. The quality of health and well-being are often key elements in the student’s readiness. Being mentally stable and physically vibrant, resilient and durable are assets. Having these qualities is essential especially for the more physical processes. There are of course exceptions.
We often conduct training especially the basics of mindfulness and the stress-reducing meditation of Japa and Shamanic Journey to those with physical or mental limitations. We also teach these at Hospices. This latter environment isn’t the type of place you’d expect to find such instruction. However, many people at the end of their lives find this is a good use of their minds. They can travel and do things that they cannot do with their deteriorating health.
The Social Dimension of my Path
Spiritual exploration is often described as an individual path. The social dimension is one that seems to be diametrically opposed to walking your own path. But, it is not. Walking your own path does not mean always walking alone. In fact, helping others learn and overcome roadblocks on their path enriches your own. You’ll never understand technology better than when teaching it and helping others.
You’ll also face your own “dark night of the soul” at some point. And, having friends you can talk to really helps in those hard places. Yes, you’ll still be forging your own path, but you’ll go farther when you have partners along the way.
You may even find a teacher. The teacher of spiritual technologies must have an intuitive and precise way of assessing the student’s readiness to learn. Many people have a desire to learn advanced techniques of expanding awareness or experiencing higher states of consciousness, but they may not be ready. So, if the Universe brings a teacher into your life, listen to them.
The Intellectual Dimension of my Path
Enhancing your critical thinking skills is not just valuable, it is essential. Studying the correct uses of inductive and deductive logic will help you avoid common roadblocks. Spotting errors in an argument will save you a lot of time and heartache. It’s highly recommended that you use a tool like the Enneagram Personality Profile. Learning to understand your personality will give you the perspective you’ll need.
If you have closely held religious beliefs or are a part of a tradition that controls or bans what you can read, then you’ve got a problem. Because of intellectual censorship, this is one dimension where we find an inverse relationship between religious belief and your ability to explore ideas and processes.
When you think about it, it makes sense. The greater the number of boundaries the more roadblocks you are creating and the harder it will be. It’s not impossible to have both closely held religious beliefs and use techniques outside the paradigm. It means you will encounter more conflicts. You will probably be more likely to run into things that conflict with your belief system. When you attempt to juggle or reconcile two or more conflicting ideas at the same time this causes what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.”
Cognitive Dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced when simultaneously holding two or more contradictory views, beliefs, ideas, or values. If you are experiencing this we definitely recommend further research on your part. Identify the specific areas of conflict. Develop a plan of action to address or at least minimize the conflict.
The Spiritual Dimension of my Path
Of all the wellness factors this one dimension that creates the most confusion. This is because the term spiritual can be mean a lot of different things to different people. So, for spiritual exploration, we use the term spiritual in “the application of processes for expanding awareness and opening the doors of consciousness“.
Just like the intellectual dimension above we find an inverse relationship between inflexible beliefs and your ability to use techniques from other paradigms. Closely held and inflexible beliefs are the enemy of spiritual exploration. A healthy spiritual practice will include nine basic elements, which include many other dimensions outlined here.
The Emotional Dimension of my Path
We find a direct correlation between your overall emotional outlook and your ability to learn and successfully use “spiritual technologies”. The path of spiritual exploration is a holistic approach to the investigation of awareness and consciousness. It contains within its domain elements for physical, mental and spiritual healing. Our emotions are intertwined with these.
Our emotions are a barometer of our total health and wellness. Some of the best tools for assessing our emotional state are the simplest. The spiritual journal for recording thoughts, dreams and experiences is indispensable. The Enneagram Personality Profile is one of the core tools we recommend and use. It is a tool for understanding the mechanisms of personality and instinct. It’s also a doorway leading us through various intellectual exercises to the Observer. The person who is listening to us when we are talking in our heads.
Inner work often brings to light aspects of ourselves that normally remain hidden. Inner work can be stressful. You may feel emotionally drained or raw when completing sessions that delve into the psyche. This is normal. As we saw above with intellectual and spiritual dimensions, it is quite probable that we will encounter some roadblocks in our path.
The process of spiritual exploration can be an emotional merry-go-round. We learn something new and are filled with joy. This new awareness uncovers a roadblock or hidden wound. Our emotions plummet. Then we engage in the process of healing and we need encouragement and emotional strength.
We’ve examined the six dimensions of wellness and how they relate to the path of spiritual exploration. We’ve brought to light some interesting correlations that we hope help you in developing your own path. Although we travel our own path, we should not travel it alone. You’ll need partners to come alongside. You’ll need people who can bring healing and encouragement. We can help you find these people and help you as a “virtual” partner.
Besides the information above, proper self-care can also have a positive effect on almost every aspect of health and wellness.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Dr. Hettler and The World Health Organization, who.int