Mind over Matter? Yes, it’s true!
but Matter matters too…
Now friend let me tell you true.
If you want your Mind to matter,
best Mind your Matter too.
Over time I become increasingly aware that the “negative” manifestations in our lives are due if not mostly, then significantly to the wellbeing of our physical bodies. Let me explain…
No matter the final outcome or next steps on our spiritual journey, our lifetime is contained within our body. This makes us human, a member of the Animal Kingdom here on Earth. Like most animals, humans need need air, water, food, shelter, sunshine, sanitation, sleep, and touch to survive. To thrive we all need a sense of belonging and purpose.
When these essentials are met, good health usually ensues. Of course some people are not so lucky and despite their best efforts have experienced poor health. These folks can verify the importance of health on their ability to contribute their best to society. We will all experience this firsthand as we age beyond our prime.
In my coaching practice I focus on “Aging Gracefully” and keeping your “Prime” a moving target. I might suggest that these are accomplished by focusing on your physical well-being. Let me ask you the reader, when are you at your best? Or I you’re a half-empty type… when are you at your worst?
My worst was always the day after partying. Hangovers from too much alcohol, poor quality foods, and little sleep left me feeling “worthless”. I could provide no value to society other than trying to live to fight another day.
[side note: those dealing with health issues often feel worthless or a “burden”. i would like to say that it’s important to consider your personal responsibility versus being part of the natural flow of life. in both cases you have great value to contribute. without sickness and death we would not know how much we care for others and love life. without struggle we wouldn’t grow.]
Now back to the matter at hand, our matter. As a conscious (decision-making) animal here on Earth we are subject to Internal (self) and External (other) influences. External factors are largely outside of our control, like access to clean water for those in developing nations or Flint, MI for example. Internal factors are largely within one’s control like diet and exercise for example. As we examine the following list it’s important to recognize that while it’s true the higher one’s consciousness the greater their influence on many External factors, many remain difficult to overcome due to institutional normalization.
Here’s the list again of those essential components to sustaining our matter (ie. survival):
1. Air – Those living in polluted areas have one advantage, epigenetics, the adaptation of genes to one’s environment. For example, a “smog” gene has showed up in people living in parts of LA. Regardless of the environment, you’ll want to optimize your breathing. That starts (like so many things) with becoming aware of your breath in the first place. For many of us it’s an involuntary body process outside of our control. Those that have harnessed the power of the breath will demonstrate strength, endurance, vitality, and usually have “found their voice”. The last one is that bridge from body to mind/spirit as we take it both literally and figuratively.
2. Water – The human body cannot survive long without water and is mostly (~60%) made up of it. As we are discussing mind-body, it’s good to note that the brain in particular is responsive to a lack of water as it’s around 75% H20. Outside of external factors (like poor access to clean water) not drinking enough is one side of the Internal equation, whereas not absorbing / retaining is the other. Too often stimulants (coffee, soda, alcohol) are replacing water leading to the overheating the body and causing excessive elimination that dehydrates the body.
3. Food – This is really about nutrients. Similar to water, our ability to metabolize is as important as our access to nutrient rich foods. There’s a ton of debate of what constitutes good food and how to incorporate supplements and I’m not going there! I will say that the closer to nature the better. Start with whole foods, preferably organic, in a diet that is plant-based (vs. animal) as the benefits have become an undeniable truth.
4. Shelter – It’s hard to be your best without a safe space to both call home and convene with family and friends. Practically speaking we must have protection from the elements and a place to store supplies, prepare food, and sleep. Beyond that, we do not need gigantic estates nor the latest gadgets.
5. Sunshine – Often overlooked is the Sun’s impact on our health. The darker the skin and further from the equator, the more natural sunlight your body needs. Without it key vitamins including VitD and Melatonin are missing. Additionally, the use of artificial lighting throws off our body’s natural systems of wake and sleep.
6. Sanitation – Soap was one of the most remarkable inventions and still today remains the #1 most effective means of sanitation. Prior to knowing the importance of good sanitation, the medical profession suspected demons and evil spirits. Good sanitation does not mean over-sanitation with the likes of bleach and anti-bacteria soaps. Instead these weaken us, while strengthening the pathogens. Getting dirty is proven to improve your immune system.
7. Sleep – The human body needs sleep. Some more than others and the needs vary over one’s lifetime. It is true that most American’s don’t sleep enough and the reasons are pretty obvious… imbalance of stress producers vs. reducers along with improper lifestyle including staying up way past dark and over-exposure to artificial light/sound.
8. Touch – Turns out physical contact is essential to our survival, especially for the young. It activates the “love/empathy” hormone called oxytocin. Isn’t it amazing that our lifeforce drains without touch, which suggests to me that without love and empathy there is no reason for life. How much touch do you get everyday?
The unfortunate reality is that External factors have caused way too many people to be deficient in one or more of these categories. The other truth is that if you are low in one, you’re likely low in several others. It’s a vicious (downward spiraling) cycle. While under-served / low-income populations are more likely to experience these as External factors, I might suggest that highly-served / upper-income populations are more likely to slip through the cracks Internally due to negligence rather than circumstance.
I recommend paying more attention to these simple components that sustain life and take note where you feel deficient or off-target. Your awareness and conscious recognition can set the wheels of change in motion.