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Friday, July 2, 2010

Move Toward what Strengthens You and Away from what Weakens You

Move Toward what Strengthens You, and Away from what Weakens You

I'm not sure where this idea originated, but has been on my mind lately.  What a simple, yet profoundly powerful idea.  I've been reflecting on this principle in my meditations, and in my writing.  And, I've experienced its power in my life.

Here's an example.  As some of you know, I have a sweet tooth.  I am careful not to over-indulge in sweets, because I know that, for me, sugar is addictive.  Nevertheless, I've been in the habit of having something sweet at the end of the evening - a treat at the end of the day.  Recently I've noticed that when I eat something with refined sugar - cookies or cake or ice cream - at the end of the day, I feel weaker in my yoga practice the next morning.  I'm less able to focus in meditation, my breath is compromised, and I feel lethargic in asana practice. So, while I get a burst of energy right as it happens, my habit of eating something sugary at the end of the day weakens me. This makes sense, in hindsight.  We know that refined sugars give a quick high, followed by a precipitous drop in energy.  And, we know that the body struggles to deal with the rapidly rising and dropping blood sugar levels that a diet high in refined sweeteners causes.  Yet, this was the first I've noticed a direct connection between my evening habit and my morning practice.

Following the principle: move toward what strengthens me and away from what weakens me, I've decided to replace the evening cookies with a piece of fruit or some fruit juice.  (This is a good idea at any time of the day, not just in the evening.)  I still get my sweet tooth satisfied.  Without the high and low that comes with refined sugar treats.  In fact, I'm finding that I sleep better, and I feel stronger in my practice.  Now, I know that part of the fun of eating a sugary treat is the high that comes with it.  I simply need to let that go, because, for me, it is simply not healthy.

Now, this is not to say that I never eat anything with refined sugars.  When I go to a party, I'll eat the birthday cake.  And, I still enjoy ice cream.  I'm only saying that, with greater awareness, and a simple application of this principle - move toward what strengthens you, and away from what weakens you - I can improve my overall wellness.

To me, this principle is about wellness.  What strengthens us improves our well-being; what weakens us opens us to dis-ease and illness.  If we combine this principle with our understanding of the five gifts, we get a table that looks like so:



Move Toward
Move Away From
The Gift of the Physical Body
¨      Structural alignment
¨      Healthy “building blocks” for molecular structures of body
¨      Physical pain
¨      Toxins & poisons
The Gift of Life
¨      Healthy breath (prana)
¨      Natural, nurturing energy fields
¨      Positive emotions
¨      Toxic energy environments
¨      Negative emotions
The Gift of Thought
¨      Calmness
¨      Mental clarity and focus
¨      Stress
¨      Agitated thinking
The Gift of Awareness
¨      Holistic awareness
¨      Loving relationships
¨      Community
¨      Reductionist paradigm
¨      Toxic relationships
The Gift of Divine Consciousness
¨      Oneness
¨      Separation

Using this table, we can grow in awareness and well-being with a holistic understanding.  I'll be writing more about the ideas in this table in the future.  For now, I'd love to hear your comments on its contents.

Move toward what strengthens you and away from what weakens you.  And, be Well.  Thanks for reading.

Namaste
Joe

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