There are many words for spirit – essence, soul, energy, phantom. For some, it is a soul that lives beyond time. For others, it is the essence of a person, a characterization of our individuality.  Many believe it is the creative energy that gives life and purpose to our human existence. I choose all of the above. It is the spirit where beliefs and passions are created. It is within our spirit that we find meaning and purpose in life. It is the force that guides us through our daily tasks, rejuvenates us when we are weary and disillusioned, and sustains us when we are broken and desperate. And it is this intangible, indestructible, infinite, and enigmatic power that is the eternal consciousness of existence.

Interestingly, spirit comes from the Latin word for breath. The Hebrew word ruach means both spirit and breath. A spiritual person would define this energy as the Breath of Life. Genesis tells us that God breathed life into Adam. It is the essential element that sustains us from our first inhalation until we take our last exhalation. It is the life force that monitors our thoughts and emotions and guides our decisions. These thoughts and beliefs power our actions. Therefore, we become what we believe. Consequently, all three – body, mind, and spirit – must be integrated in order to lead an authentic life. This interconnectedness means that if there is a problem in one of these areas, it will be experienced in all three.

The word spirit comes from the Latin word for breath.

Body, mind, spirit. It is the foundation of yoga. The literal translation of yoga is unity. It is a physical practice intended to strengthen the body, calm the mind, and strive for oneness with the Divine. The philosophy of yoga believes there are energy centers within the body. These are called chakras and they are aligned vertically from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. All seven of these main chakras must be in alignment for our energy, or prana, to flow freely and keep us mentally and physically healthy.

From a practical standpoint, what is the connection between mind, body, and spirit? It’s a timeless concept, but a trendy term for today. It’s discussed in churches, yoga studios, college campuses, to name a few. And it is a spiritual concept with very tangible physical implications. American medicine is beginning to understand that the connection is not just important, but essential to healing. We must develop good lifestyle habits to maintain physical health, empower our minds to believe we are in control of our health, and listen to the still small voice within that brings insight and compassion. We would do well to heed the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu:

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Achieving a destiny of physical health, emotional stability, mental clarity, and spiritual enlightenment begins with only one thought – an empowering and inspirational thought to bring balance and brightness.

Therefore, it’s not enough to eat a healthy diet, you must be aware of your emotions and feelings that you experience throughout the day. It’s not enough to maintain a regular workout routine, you must take time to feel the rhythmic beat of your heart and the essential breath of life. Inhale and exhale with intention. It’s not enough to learn new skills and search for new experiences to keep your mind alert and focused, you must take time to go within and examine your desires and your reason for living.

Explore your passions! Find that creative, uninhibited energy that allows you to live an authentic life of enthusiastic spontaneity. Unite with the Divine that lives within. Your life will be full and abundant. Gurudev Sri Sri defines it this way:

Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life – in terms of how joyful, loving, and enthusiastic you are.

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