Your health and wellness affect every aspect of life. Find out about this exciting relationship between your health and your spiritual path.
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 relate to the spiritual path. Dr. Hettler, the World Health Organization (WHO) (1), describes the elements of health and wellness in the following categories:
Six Dimensions of Wellness
These dimensions or elements explain how to leverage all aspects of our lives to achieve better overall health. So, maximizing your health is a matter of applying this knowledge. It’s easy to focus on just one thing or one dimension. If you affect one element, it can affect the others in ways that aren’t immediately apparent. The goal is to achieve the proper balance in our lives to be healthy and durable.
The first step is to make an honest assessment of each dimension. If you Understand your relationship to these six dimensions of wellness, 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 consistent with our values, interests, and beliefs than to select one that creates conflict with essential elements.
- Continuing to develop functional, transferable skills is key to keeping up with technology changes.
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 than those that 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 our community’s common welfare than to think only of ourselves.
- We strive 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 expanding knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing its gifts. Intellectual wellness follows these tenets:
- It is healthy to stretch and challenge our minds with intellectual and creative pursuits. Otherwise, we become unproductive and interested only in passive entertainment.
- A healthy intellect learns to identify potential problems and choose courses of action. They use data to make proactive decisions. It’s better than procrastination, waiting, worrying, and contending with significant concerns later.
The spiritual dimension recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes developing a deep appreciation for the universe’s depth and expanse of life and natural forces. Spiritual wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to seek the meaning of life for ourselves and our path than others’ beliefs. 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 selfish and greedy.
The emotional dimension is being aware and accepting feelings. It is the capacity to manage one’s emotions and behaviors. It is developing emotional awareness and 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 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 principles. 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 that you lack proper 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 on one or more other elements.
By applying the six dimensions of wellness, we can maximize our health and wellness. We notice how they relate to one another and affect our quality of life. This holistic model explains:
- We learn how we contribute to their environment and community and learn strategies 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. Our responsibility for self-care and seeking qualified medical attention;
- Encouraging self-awareness, self-control, and determination, we find direction, fostering creative and stimulating mental activities. We learn to share our resources and gifts with others.
Applying a holistic wellness approach benefits aspect of life. Wellness is the pathway to optimal living. A holistic health philosophy is spawning growth in helping professions. More people are cultivating interests in counseling and medical arts and practices. The National Wellness Institute has three questions to assess the degree to which wellness is incorporated:
- 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?
The Wellness Dimensions And My Path
Health and Wellness have an exciting relationship with our awareness and consciousness. Sometimes, we find either direct or inverse relationships. Sometimes there is a correlation. Maximizing your health requires the proper balance of all dimensions.
“Know thyself.” ― Socrates
Knowing yourself is the key. Our wellness needs are unique. So, an honest self-assessment is an excellent place to start. Some say that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Many people hear the call of the spiritual quest. It’s what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (2). Many people overlook this critical part of our overall wellness. Spiritual exploration meets the need for the spiritual dimension. We are not talking about religion; instead, it involves using what we call spiritual technologies.
The catalog of ancient methods for exploring consciousness is what we call spiritual technologies. They are a collection of processes to develop the potential of the mind, body, and spirit. They offer us ways to expand awareness and reach higher states of consciousness.
These tools differ significantly from religion. They do not require faith or belief in any religious doctrine. Anyone can use these processes to develop their full potential. All you need to do is follow the process, and it’s just like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning method. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. They are repeatable processes, and several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include increased brainwave coherence, lower heart rate, and increased skin resistance. Changes like this prove these partitions of consciousness differ significantly from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone can use these methods to create their unique spiritual path, and you can start with any of these methods. The more of them you use, the faster your progress.
The Occupational Dimension of my Path
What we do to earn a living can be an entry point. However, many people work to live. They don’t have the luxury of choosing financially viable work. Those lucky enough to have a career that provides enrichment are in the minority.
The corporate culture consumes much of our life energy. It leaves little time for other dimensions that make life meaningful. People come to us to reduce stress and carve out time for the different areas of life. You can learn to enjoy your work more (see above reference to Japa/TM meditation). The Japanese Tea Ceremony is an excellent example of learning 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 directly< impact our ability to engage in all activities. The quality of health and well-being are often critical elements in determining readiness to learn. Being mentally stable and vibrant, resilient, and durable are assets. Having these qualities is essential, especially for the more physical processes. There are, of course, exceptions.
The Social Dimension of my Path
Spiritual exploration is an individual path. The social dimension seems to conflict with this principle, but it is not. Walking your trail does not mean always walking alone. Helping others learn and overcome roadblocks on their path enriches your own. You’ll never understand a method 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 help in those hard places. Yes, you’ll still be forging a path of your own, but you’ll go farther when you have partners along the way.
You may even find a teacher. A good teacher has a precise way of assessing the student’s readiness to learn. Look for a teacher interested in teaching processes, not making followers. 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. We recommend the Enneagram Personality Profile. Learning to understand your personality will give you the perspective you’ll need.
If you are a part of a tradition that controls or bans what you can read, then you’ve got a problem. There is an inverse relationship between religious belief and your ability to explore ideas and processes. The more rigid the belief system, the more it affects your use of reason and common sense.
When you think about it, it makes sense. The greater the number of boundaries, the more roadblocks you create, 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 be more likely to run into things that conflict with your belief system. Attempting to reconcile conflicting ideas causes what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” It is a significant hindrance to maximizing your health.
Cognitive Dissonance is a psychological term that describes the state of mental and physical discomfort one experiences if one cannot reconcile conflicting data.
If you are experiencing this, we 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 creates the most confusion because the term spiritual can mean many different things to different people. We use the word spiritual for the processes of spiritual exploration.
Here again, we see the inverse relationship between inflexible beliefs and reason. Closely held and rigid views are the enemy of spiritual exploration. They prevent the investigation of anything new.
The Emotional Dimension of my Path
There is a correlation between your emotional health and your ability to learn. To learn advanced spiritual technologies requires good health. The practice of these methods is what we call spiritual exploration. It’s a holistic approach to investigating awareness and consciousness, which contains physical, mental, and spiritual healing elements. We involve our emotions on all of these levels.
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 we are talking to inside our heads.
Inner work often brings to light aspects of ourselves that typically remain hidden. Inner work can be stressful. You may feel emotionally drained or raw when completing sessions that delve into the psyche. It’s a normal reaction. 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 about ourselves. This new awareness uncovers a roadblock or hidden wound.
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 spiritual journey. Although we travel our “own path,” we should not travel it alone. You’ll need partners to help you from time to time for healing and encouragement. We can help you find these people and assist you as a “virtual” partner.
Besides the information above, proper self-care can also positively affect almost every aspect of health and wellness.
Are you interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. We offer this curriculum through our individually tailored virtual learning academy and our traditional face-to-face sessions. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (2). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission.
(1) Dr. Hettler and The World Health Organization, who. int
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia