Your health and wellness affect almost every aspect of life. What exactly is included in this term? A good question. Find out about this interesting relationship between your health and your path in life.
Health Described as Dimensions of Wellness
Let’s start with a definition of health and 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 dimensions of wellness. Then we’ll discuss how these dimensions relate to the spiritual path. Dr. Hettler (of the WHO) provides six dimensions to describe the elements of Health and Wellness:
The occupational dimension recognizes personal satisfaction in one’s life through work. Occupational wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to choose a career which 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 appropriate courses of action based on available 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 others views but not complacent when confronted with inequalities that affect others.
- It is better to live each day in a way that is consistent with 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 be aware of and accept our feelings than to deny them.
- An optimistic approach to life attracts more positive support than a pessimistic outlook.
Applying These Six Dimensions
Most importantly, by applying the dimensions of wellness to our lives we become aware of how they contribute to healthy living. This holistic model explains:
- How we contribute to their environment and community, and how to build better living spaces and social networks;
- The enrichment of life through work, and how it is connected 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?
How these Dimensions Relate to My Path in Life
Health and Wellness have an interesting relationship with our awareness and consciousness. In some cases, we find either direct or inverse relationships. Sometimes there is are correlations. And, of course, there are also interesting exceptions. Knowing about these can help you manage your own health and wellness. It has been said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. So, spiritual exploration directly relates to the spiritual dimension of health and wellness.
What is Spiritual Exploration?
Spiritual exploration is the practice of processes we call spiritual technologies. In essence, spiritual technologies are methods of developing your potential. In short, these mental tools focus on expanding awareness and consciousness. And, these processes stand up to the test of science – repeatable and measurable. Anyone can use them. It’s like baking a cake. If you follow the directions, you get something delicious.
Of course, there are several ways to list these processes. It’s important to note some of these tools could easily be in more than one category:
- Logical reasoning is one of the first tools we study. This includes the companion tools, spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. Above all, these are essential tools for any spiritual explorer. They are able to sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction.
- Another important basic toolset is the “inner work” methods like The Enneagram Personality Profile. These help us to understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instincts. They also provide a doorway to understanding the virtues and gifts of the spirit.
- Progressions of seated meditation are the heart of the practice. This includes a range from Basic Mindfulness Meditation through Japa Meditation and the Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Next, progressions of moving meditation. For instance, several methods of energy collection, like Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.
- Awareness and consciousness expansion pathways such as Lucid Dreaming and the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation.
- And last but not least, several healing modalities, such as Reiki, and Shiatsu.
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 and 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 and 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 readiness of the student. 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 and my Path
Spiritual exploration is often described as an individual path. The social dimension is one that seems to be diametrically opposed to the idea of 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 help 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 and 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’s going to be. It’s not impossible to have both closely held religious beliefs and utilize techniques outside the paradigm. It means you will encounter more conflicts. You are probably going to 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 and 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 the purposes of spiritual exploration, we use the term spiritual in the context of “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 utilize techniques from other paradigms. Closely held and inflexible beliefs are the enemy of spiritual exploration.
The Emotional Dimension and 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 all of 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 utilize. 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 which delve into the psyche. This is completely 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 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. In short, 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.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
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