"To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind". That is from the first line of the optimist creed and I've written about it here before. The first time I read that line it stirred something deep inside. I was in awe. How do you get that strong. I treated it as a koan for several days.
I'm typically a cerebral person. I spend most of my time in my head - reading, thinking, planning, listening to music. Even when I'm involved in my favorite outdoor activity, hiking, I'm in my head for a large portion of the time. It was last year that I started taking physical fitness serious for the first time in my life. I'm getting to an age were I need to take care of myself or hiking in the mountains is going to be out of the question. I've learned a lot about getting physically strong in the last year. Here is a quick outline of what I've learned.
To get strong and achieve overall physical health one should:
- Get proper nutrition. A mix of protein, healthy fats, and low sugar carbohydrates ( vegetables ). Minimize or eliminate junk food.
- Routinely walk, swim, or otherwise move around slowly. This not only keeps your heart beat up and blood flowing but results in optimal chemical and hormone balance in the body.
- Occasionally lift heavy things. Push your muscles hard - near their limits without tearing or breaking anything - a couple of times a week.
- Get your heart rate up a few times a week. All out sprinting, swimming at a fast pace, biking hard, or really giving it all you have for short bursts of time.
- Get plenty of rest. Give your body a chance to heal and recover.
- Repeat forever.
Could there be a similar program for mental or spiritual strength? I think that it would be very similar.
- Feed your mind good information. A mix of instructive, inspirational, and entertaining material. Take time to learn new things, inspire yourself, and enjoy yourself.
- Routinely participate in life. Be constructive daily in the small ways - smile, offer help and love to everyone you meet. Be responsible and proactive doing what needs to be done each day.
- Tackle some large problems. Use your mind - solve a large problem, create something new, find a new way of doing something.
- Get passionate and make a difference. Do something that really excites you a couple of times a week - something really fun or something really meaningful.
- Take time to be grateful and enjoy life. Rest. Give your self a break, you deserve it.
- Repeat forever. You're never done!
Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Spiritual strength, Mental Health, Zen Buddhism