Healthy Body and Healthy Mind: How?

Booting Up Each Morning

Each morning we wake from our night's slumber when our unconscious mind was busy incorporating the skills we acquired from our efforts of the previous day. Then, on a queue given by the 'atomic clock within' unconscious mind provides the signal for our conscious mind to awake. A flood of energy enters the circuits of our conscious mind and we awake with cobwebs as our systems continue to boot up.

While Still in Bed

We take our first deep breath and our conscious and unconscious mind begin to reunite. The unconscious mind leads while the conscious mind still struggles to greet the new day. Here we establish the initial flow of the thoughts for this day. Habits generated in the unconscious mind lead while the conscious mind smiles and observes the process. We allow our highest mind to bring our intent to this day, this moment to the giver of all of our gifts, "Thank-you for this gift of another day." Next we greet the vessel (our body) that sustained us through the night and provides for us the rush of sights, sounds and other senses that bring this life to us.

With a carefully practiced mindful stretch we say to the vessel that provides the connection between our Higher Power and this world, “Thank-you, ‘Higher Power’, for this body that carries us about and for my heart and lungs that breathe life into this body and most of all, thank you for this smile on my face and the joy it provides me and those we love.” Finally, if it is our custom, we greet our life partner, thanking them for the gift of their love and the beauty they bring to us this morning. Greeting the day like this lends to a healthy body and healthy mind, but there is still more you can do.

The Next Step to a Healthy Body and Healthy Mind: Morning Exercise and Meditation

Our body is prepared, with the highest cortisol levels of the day, ready to push glucose into muscle, to fully connect with our Higher Power with every part of our awareness. With practice, our unconscious mind ignites and the dance of the systems our greater self (unconscious mind) rev up the reticular activating system (RAS) optimizing our mind, body and spiritual circuits. With each passing moment, relationships of our life call to us, it’s time to be focused and strong and our RAS will ‘make it so!”

We slip into the workout clothes we carefully placed at our bedside the night before. We walk into our kitchen and drink a full glass of lemon water. We crank the music or educational video that inspires us and we begin our mindful exercise and meditation practices. If we want our Nucleus Accumbens (one of the brain regions that is associated with motivation and pleasure) to be even more involved, we include our life partner and start our day like two dolphins swimming side by side. We watch them as they exercise and as they sit to pray/meditate and say to ourselves again, "Thank-you for allowing me to share this life with someone who is so…" Our internal voice is always a conversation between ourselves and our Higher Power eventually speaking as best we can from our Higher Power view.

During our exercises we begin with structural exercises that warm up our muscles and align our joints. Then we will start our aerobic exercises to optimize the interactions between each body system. Next, we further align our mind, body and spirit with meditation. The Guarding our Doors Meditation is relaxing and it will align each sense, each part of our body both internal and external with our conscious and unconscious mind. Another beneficial practice is to meditate on each of the major relationships. This will activate each of the major identity frameworks of our mind/body/spirit. We meditate on our gratefulness for the relationship, or we can we can prepare ourselves to carry our intent to make each relationship 'one percent better'. These again run through the Nucleus Accumbens providing unconscious energy and support for all we do. We can read from a 'daily message’ organized book of our choice and meditate on the message we receive from both the book and the life we are living . We can watch an educational video of someone we consider a mentor. I respect and enjoy listening to Thich Nhat Hanh and follow his work from Plum Village. Often we surround our mind with wisdom and then relax in meditation to allow it to find it's way to the corners of our unconscious thought processes. Of course, we could also simply follow our breath! Please believe me when I tell you that this is effective and has increasing medical support that documents the many health benefits of simple meditation. (The effects are beneficial and likely not as simple as it appears!)

The Importance of Planning for the Day

Now, we share our thoughts and plans for the day with our partner, friend or family member. Sharing the plan with someone adds to the power of this relationship to both people's plans. It also allows us to share the day 'all the way through' from beginning to end. Much like we follow our breath in meditation!

Fueling Up for the Day Ahead

We still need to fuel up for the day to have a healthy body and healthy mind. Again, this is one of the ways we demonstrate our thankfulness for the vessel (our body) that holds us. It allows for the relationship with our spiritual source while simultaneously allowing us to express the intent we strive to bring to each moment and in each relationship of our life. There are many good books on nutritious diets and I will offer more on that in another article. In the short book "How to Eat" by Thich Nhat Hanh provides precious us tips about how we can enjoy each other and center ourselves while eating mindfully. He emphasizes paying attention to two things, 'the food we are eating and our friends'. I would recommend the structure he offers in 'the five contemplations’, that he describes in this book to anyone who wants to increasingly make their house a home.

Having started the day with our highest mind well connected to our vessel, we can reach into our day, and the relationships we share with an honest and sincere smile on our face knowing we have successfully started our day with such intent.

The Unconscious Mind and You
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