These nine elements are the foundation of a well-balanced spiritual lifestyle. They are also the nine elements of a well-rounded health and wellness program.
Nine Elements of a Healthy Spiritual Practice
It’s not a surprise that our spiritual lifestyle and wellness are connected. These nine ingredients to a well-rounded program. Everyone will have their “own” unique mix:
1) Clean Air
2) Clean Water
3) Adequate Sunshine
4) Proper Diet
6) Exercise Tailored to you focusing on durability
7) Analytical and intellectual training of the mind
8) Seated Meditation
9) Moving Meditation
Above all, we must tailor each of these tools or elements to our own needs. One size does not fit all. Where you start depends on a variety of factors. It involves lifestyle, time available, resources, environment, and general health. It’s best to include all elements to some degree. Leaving out one or more will have a detrimental impact on your health. Balancing your path is key to the best results.
The six foundation elements are Appropriate Sunshine, Fresh Air and Water, Sleep, Proper Exercise, and Diet. To these six essential elements, we add seated and moving meditation. The ninth tool is the mind’s intellectual and analytical abilities.
We can further define the spiritual technologies within this practice. These are the ancient tools for spiritual exploration.
The Processes of Healthy Spiritual Practice
The catalog of methods for developing and exploring consciousness is what we call Spiritual Technologies. They are processes that can alter, change, or expand our awareness. Some of these methods open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
These processes come from eons of research by cultures around the world. We use the term spiritual exploration to describe these powerful methods. They make up four of the nine elements of a healthy spiritual practice. You’ll need to add the basics of water, sunshine, sleep, and diet.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning process. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. Several of these methods produce measurable changes in our physiology. These physiological markers differ from normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming states.
Spiritual exploration is not about faith or belief in a religion. They are processes that anyone can use. All you do is follow a process. We like to think of it just like baking a cake. When you want to bake a delicious cake, you follow a recipe. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The spiritual practices are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods. We divide these tools into four major categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Modalities for Healing
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools, but these analytical processes are vital to our spiritual quest. Their use enhances our ability to use common sense and logic. These tools improve observational skills. They help us identify the roadblocks that get in the way.
We recommend you incorporate emotional checks in all of these processes. Keeping your feeling in check helps us think more clearly.
These tools help us think more clearly and make better decisions, which helps us avoid many of our path’s everyday obstacles. This group’s primary tools are Logical Reasoning, Comparative Analysis, and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice, but these methods help anyone seeking the truth. We encourage our participants to create a reminder on their smartphones to review these tools every month. It’s essential to keep them fresh in our minds, and that’s when they become helpful in spotting ploys and deception.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning, which summarizes the essential use of logic in language. It shows how people misuse language to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies. This module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the truth-seekers axioms, ties everything together by contrasting how science and mythology differ in their approaches to presenting the truth.
Comparative Analysis is a systematic approach to comparative religious study based on the scientific model. It is a method of comparing ideas and beliefs from different worldviews, and it is another tool we recommend for the new spiritual explorer.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a cognitive science tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. The best authors and researchers write in easily understandable language so the layperson can understand it, while it is deep enough for any clinician. It makes the Enneagram a powerful system available to almost everyone.
You will find modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others is a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate personality profile. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will help you understand the source of our “personal power.”
When you mention spiritual practices, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration.
Meditation is a mind hack that often uses mantras, sutras, and affirmations as tools. These mental devices open doorways of consciousness. You could easily categorize them as awareness expansion tools, the same with Yoga since it contains a range of meditative processes.
Seated meditation is the heart of the spiritual practice for many people. Meditation is an essential tool for exploring consciousness. Seated meditation includes everything from a primary two-step method, Mindfulness Meditation and Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). This modality also has advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is an action with a heightened level of awareness. To perform an activity while simultaneously holding a meditative state involves a high level of mind-body coordination and skill. This modality improves mind and body connection. In turn, this has a positive effect on our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. Grounding techniques focus on our connection with nature, such as Sun Gazing, Forest Bathing, and Tree Grounding.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This category has a diverse mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group includes the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation, lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory.
Another essential tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows; it’s your personal life coach. This modality also includes exercises like automatic writing and exploring memories. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list them separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first technology for exploring consciousness. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures, and it serves as evidence of the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a crucial element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey.
A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
The Shamanic Journey has been renamed or rebranded in Western cultures. They do this to make it more marketable. You will see it marketed as “guided meditation” or “creative visualization.”
Modalities for Healing
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet, which comes from Indonesia, and Reiki and Shiatsu come from Japan. We teach Vedic medicine, along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Because to help others, we must be in optimal health. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. They find it an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
We recommend a plan that uses all nine elements of a healthy spiritual practice. Using the right amount of each will give you the best results. This approach is what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey.
Balancing your path is something that will speed up your development. Since we are continually changing, you will need to make adjustments in your practice to compensate. There are some common obstacles.
The Obstacles To Spiritual Practices
If balancing our path was easy, everyone would do it. There are obstacles to using these elements. So, we need to identify those things that are in the way.
Many people find proper diet and exercise are the two most difficult elements to incorporate into their schedules. The proper diet is different for everyone. We all have different needs. Regardless, we recommend an exercise routine that combines strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular exercise. The focus should be on durability. We see durability as the ultimate health goal.
Our exercise routine is separate from our practice of moving meditation. But, you choose the best way to organize your training. We include martial arts and physically oriented Yoga Asana as moving meditation. Adding as many physical exercise forms will improve your ability with many spiritual technologies. This practice increases mind-body integration.
View the body and your consciousness as an intricate and delicate instrument. The body is a machine designed for the study of reality. As your practice evolves, you will need to refine and adjust depending on your results. Keep your plan flexible. Don’t be afraid to change it accordingly to yield the best experiential results.
Some use psychotropic compounds to achieve non-ordinary states of reality. We don’t recommend their use unless you are a seasoned spiritual explorer. They are not for the novice. Even so, psychotropic compounds are unpredictable; their strength varies. Use only under the supervision of a qualified guide.
Outside of failing to use all these nine elements, the most common obstacle is belief. Don’t allow your opinions to be a barrier to your development. The focus should be on learning to think and analyze rather than memorizing data.
The nine elements of a healthy spiritual practice are vital for our physical and spiritual health. Find your mix for balancing your path.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia