Beautiful gardens do not create themselves. They are the natural and logical fruit, so to speak, of the dedicated gardener’s actions–largely unspectacular and unseen, executed with regularity over time.
Gaia provides the raw materials. Godspark provides the creative imagination and intelligence.
Similarly, enjoying stellar health is not an accident. Sure, karma may result in different mental and emotional inclinations, varying physical capacities, different birth circumstances. But at the end of the day, stellar health–and here we recognize there is no single standard to define it–is a natural and logical result of largely unspectacular and unseen efforts of the dedicated individual, executed with regularity over time.
Consider this thesis: we suffer with poor health to the extent we are not living in line with our higher wisdom. To reduce suffering…to create health, then: does it not require that we conduct some examination, some robust inquiry into where we may have gone off the path of wisdom–whatever that means to us individually? To put the question another way: where have we deviated, do we deviate right now, or are fixing to deviate from what Covey has called “universal and timeless” values of integrity written into our DNA?
This brings us, then, to Health Creating Tip H85: Cultivate the habit of Introspective analysis.
Step out of autopilot for a few moments daily to be the objective witness of our life’s creations and ask along the lines of:
what am i doing with my life right now?
what have i created with my life this day?
where am i stressed, anxious?
to what extent does my life consist of playing the popularity game, achieving for the sake of approval?
where am I living or not living from a place of genuine happiness borne of sincere self-expression based on pure inner values–whether or not others approve?
where do I feel an emptiness within my being even though things look peachy on the surface?
where am I just flowing on easy street, avoiding those challenges love is calling on me to step up and meet?
Done with courage, humility, and a sincere yearning for truth, we find those areas within us where discord, confusion, inner conflict have been lurking heretofore undetected. These dark places are precious opportunities for growth, dear friends. But we need time to clarify these areas which are often clouded, vague. We need time to muster the courage to peel back the layers and work through the difficult truths that come into the light of day. We need time to remember to prayerfully link inward and upward with our Godself in those times of crisis which inevitably follow.
As we humans are creatures of habit, it’s easy for us to fall into established lifestyle patterns and then run on autopilot with it for years. Dedicated practice of introspective analysis is a valuable tool in the toolbox of health-enhancing skills that allows us to identify weak points in our program and thus create the context for working on ourselves.
And here it’s valuable to recognize our human tendency to comfort ourselves and reduce anxiety by emphasizing strengths in order to minimize or even eliminate awareness of shortcomings. Why bring this up? Because this tendency puts us at high risk for buying into this flimsy argument that misapplies truth: if I have all these wonderful strengths, and therefore have no shortcomings, why should I have to inquire about anything at all? Everything’s grrreat! and moving forward in positivity and gratitude! Therefore, success is reserved for those who are both willing to 1) face their shadow with uncommon honesty and great benevolence and 2) stay in the game with that marathon mind, oriented for the long-term work.
The subject of health is broad, wide, and deep, not easily mastered–the fact that whole bookshelves exist with works pushing X, Y, or Z lifestyle readily proves that point. Recognizing it to be so, we take a patient, incremental approach to developing proactive lifestyle skills. We take in a few gems of information and reflect on them over time, letting there be an organic incorporation into our established worldview.
When our introspective analysis results in some difficulty being brought out into the open, what next? How to avoid the error of honesty absent integrity wherein we become experts at identifying problems but idiots at implementing solutions? At the risk of oversimplifying a rich area of work, it involves habits such as:
> calling ourselves on our bullshit and developing a mindset of commitment to supplanting ignorance with integrity
> seeking 2WAI (win-win for all involved) outcomes given the honesty in front of us
> peeling the layers back to reveal the core errors in our thoughts sourced in the afflictions of pride, self-will, and fear
> refusing to use the same anxiety-reducing defense mechanisms that prevent fruitful conflicts
> clarifying and reclarifying our inner values, discerning right and wrong
> being willing to step out into a place of vulnerability and enduring the temporary pain of utter honesty
> asking our Godself for help healing our afflictions
> emptying our cup in faith to receive
> seeking guidance from those whose lives inspire us
> patiently carrying on with the work day in and day out
It’s my hope that this helps you in your work of cultivating the garden of the mind, which has as its natural and logical outcome stellar health. J*
The spirit of inquiry itself is the greatest wisdom. -Yoga Vasistha