Sorry about not having a meditation this last week. Work has been a little more chaotic than usual and here’s a basic rule of keeping your energy levels at a healthy level: learn when to say no. This is one of those things I am horrible about, I’m an obsessive compulsive workaholic…but I actually learned to say no to writing a mediation when I was too tired to say what I wanted to in any semi-articulate fashion.
So over the last few weeks we have covered how to recover and grow energy in your soul and how to make sure your body is in harmony with the physical world. Today I’m going to go over the last part of keeping your mind up. This is important because if your don’t keep your body and mind up then your soul is stuck in a body (controlling it through your brain) when both don’t work in harmony (think of putting a NASCAR driver in a Yugo with the break lines cut…it doesn’t matter how focused your soul is if everything it has to work with isn’t working).
So how to keep your mind working in tune with your soul? It might be my bias as an English teacher, but I recommend reading.
Like the last few weeks this isn’t really a just this week kind of meditation, it’s more of a continuous habit.
There are three kinds of reading and I recommend them all*.
The first is for entertainment. We usually have this down if we’re reading, but if you’re weird like me you sometimes have to remember to put down the philosophic tomes and actually read something for fun.
The second is philosophy. This is reading heavier nonfiction books (not just for information but to question and think). (Various logic games, puzzle and riddles can also work out this logic side of the mind).
The third and final way is through art. At a spiritual level, life is about seeing patterns in the world around us and deducing the lessons that life is trying to teach us through these repeated events. Often we don’t see the patterns. We don’t see that being confronted over and over again with an overbearing boss is really a call to stand up. We don’t see that loss is really life handing us opportunity. Or that painful situations are actually places to learn. Life is trying to teach us the lessons we need to reach enlightenment, sometimes with all the subtly of an Ayn Rand speech, and yet we still miss those lessons. That is where art comes in. The stripping away of levels in art to find the deeper meanings, and the more obscured themes is the best training I know of for learning to see the patterns within life itself. (Aside of course from meditation and reflection, but as to an external action reading of art does this better than anything I’m aware of…please let me know if you know of a something better). Poetry, literature, drama at their highest levels they teach us to think in our most spiritual ways.
Now I would recommend taking time each week for a little of all of these. A mystery novel, some Thomas Sowell, and maybe a little Tennyson (the combinations are endless). Granted it would be nice to have works that balance all three parts but aside from Shakespeare (and even he doesn’t always perfectly balance, not to mention you have to know a lot about the times and the language to get everything you want out of it) I know of few works that balance even two of these points well…let alone all three.
And if you take time to work on all three aspect each week, in conjunction with paying attention to being in harmony with the physical world and your soul, I believe you will find greater balance in your life and get more out of all these other meditations.
*Actually 4, when you count reading for information, but honestly you’re reading a blog about politics and religion, I think you may have staying informed roughly down.