I’ve been reflecting lately on this idea of mind, body and soul. If you cringed after reading that first sentence then I apologize. I get it. That phrase just seems to invoke a primal urge to ignore it. Because whenever somebody talks about mind, body, and soul then you can almost feel a pitch for veganism or yoga or something else you have no interest in coming right behind it.
Well, I’m not trying to pitch you anything. But I do think we should all take a moment to understand that we all have a mind, a body, and a soul and that each of these things has needs. And if we’re not meeting those needs then it’s going to cause us to suffer in one way or another.
Think of your mind, body, and soul each as a plant in its own garden. If you devote time and energy to cultivating the plant then it can grow and become what it’s meant to be. But if you ignore it then it will wilt and wither and weeds will take its place.
This is how it unfolds in reality as well. Your body requires nutrition and activity. You need to eat real food, healthy food and you need to exercise. Your body is a biological machine. It reacts to stimuli. If you are sedentary then it doesn’t work optimally. If your diet is processed junk and garbage then the body doesn’t have the ingredients it needs to make itself function properly.
Ever wonder why chronic disease only became common in the last generation? Before that there were no processed foods and people were way more active. Lo and behold, they didn’t get diabetes and heart disease and obesity like so many people do today.
The mind is no different than the body. It responds when you challenge it. This is why you should always be learning, always pursuing something difficult. It keeps the mind sharp and engaged.
Contrary to what many believe the mind wants to solve problems and learn new things and the body wants to work hard. This is the natural way of things. This is what the mind and body did for tens of thousands of generations. Only in the last two generations have we entered a phase of human development where you can allow the mind and body to atrophy and still survive to old age. But just because that’s an option doesn’t make it a good option.
Now the soul is a different story. It’s hard to define and there’s certainly no consensus as to what it is or if it’s even real. But I believe in the soul in my own way. And the soul, to me, is what pulls you towards your calling, towards your life’s work. That thing inside of you, that voice that says, “it’d be awesome if I could make a living doing this.” That’s your soul telling you what you’re supposed to be doing.
But we live in an age where there is a blueprint to living the “right” way. We’re all conformists by nature and it’s hard to forego society’s accepted path and forge your own. But it’s only when you are doing work that’s important to you that your soul can be satisfied. And most of us aren’t even close to pursuing our calling. And so we develop a longing inside of us that we can’t quite define. It just feels like something’s missing. It’s the feeling of a starving soul.
So every so often take a moment to reflect on the needs of your mind, body, and soul and address whether or not you’re meeting those needs. Because if your not then all the prescription meds in the world won’t solve your problems. Only you can cultivate your mind, body, and soul. And no amount of work or effort is too much in this pursuit. It’s the most worthy use of your time possible and the world would be a better place if more of us directed our energies into this self-cultivation.