This is the final post in the principle of prioritising increasing vitality series.
I hope this collection of posts has brought happiness and light to your life…
Vitality – Spirituality and Action
Spirituality is your ability to feel and detect your own life energy. Your vitality. Prioritising increasing vitality means prioritising development your spiritual connection. Investing time to discover and then harness this skill.
It is a skill that once sharpened, that will enable you to connect with the resonance of other people, the environment around you and the universe as a whole.
The way to develop your spirituality is through the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simply being conscious within present within the moment. I touched in this in the simple tip for tranquillity post. I myself discovered my spirituality through the practice of yoga and meditation. Slowing down to take time and connect with my breath and body. Focusing on action within the present moment.
I say discovered; I am still discovering! Once you get a taste I guarantee you will want more. And the more that you learn, the more that you will realise you have more to learn.
As motivation for why, consider this:
Spirituality is the grease between the wheels of all of the other areas that contribute to your vitality.
It is through your spirituality that will find your true self.
It is through your spirituality that you can meaningfully connect with others.
It is through your spirituality that you can find harmony with nature.
It is through your spirituality that you can evaluate the outcomes of your actions; learn to make the right choices, and come to realise your potential to increase the energetic vibration of the universe.
If vitality is the doorway, spirituality is the handle.
We all lead busy lives and it can be very challenging to fit everything in that we want to do. Increasing our vitality is as much a choice about what we do, as it is about how we go about doing it.
If we start by optimising our internal world, we can give ourselves the ability to approach the realisation of our results with the right strategies to be successful. That could mean changing how we apply ourselves to our current lives or, deciding to focus on new activities and ways to spend our time.
If you still think you are too busy to effect change in your life, I put this to you: There is no such thing as not having enough time to do what is most important. If you feel like this, the reality is that you have not done one or more of the following:
- Accepted your current life situation or,
- Been honest with yourself about realistically what is achievable within the amount of time available or,
- You have not prioritised effectively to decide what is truly most important
You are the one that has created the perception in your mind that there is not enough time; and you are the only one that can accept that fact then take action to change it.
Once you get to the root of this perception, you can break free and empower yourself to:
- Accept what you can change and cannot change – Accept your life situation
- Be realistic about what you can get done in the time available – Plan accordingly
- Refine your plan of action to ensure that the most important things get done first – Prioritise
The mountain pathway is designed to help you do this.
If you still don’t think you have time to effect change, it is simply because you have decided that something else is more important. Accept it.
If you have ever been on a plane, you will remember the key advice that they give during the safety demonstration: “Always put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others”.
It is fundamental advice that when applied at our core, empowers us to take the required action to achieve the goal of increasing the vitality of ourselves and the universe; but it could be misconstrued as a recommendation to be more selfish.
Being aware of yourself, and spending time focusing on yourself, only becomes selfish if the behaviour undermines the quality of your connection with the rest of the world.
At a micro level, you can be quite didactic with this and say yes, you are being selfish because you are focusing on yourself and the outcome of your actions for the purpose of your own wellbeing. However, at a macro level when you put in to context, you can see that this is a necessary to enable you to then focus your attention outwards.
Choosing to take time for self-reflection and choosing to take part in activities that increase your vitality is acceptance of your responsibility to play the hand you were given as best you can. Choosing to first give yourself the skills you need to be the change that you want to see in the world.
We can only identify the right choices by being decisive and taking action. You might get it right; You might get it wrong. You will only be able to say that you have succeeded if you know the difference between success and failure. That means you need to embrace failure too.
Here are a couple of activities to help you evaluate what is working and what is not:
Pause for Reflection – 2-minute Morning Meditation
Using practices like Yoga, Qigong and meditation can help you learn to feel the life energy flowing through you; learn to feel your vitality. The more you practice the better your will be at it. It is a skill.
Here is a little meditation you can to first thing tomorrow morning. Simply observe your mind for two minutes. It could be at the very moment your alarm goes off and you wake up, or a few moments later when you go to use the bathroom or stick the kettle on. You decide what works for you. All you need to do is pause for 2 minutes and ponder the following questions:
- Do you feel a sense of excitement that you have another day to live?
- Do you still feel tired like you still need more sleep?
- Do you feel awake and energetic like you want to (or did) ping out of bed?
- Do you want to hit the snooze button and roll-over either to spend a few more moments gratefully laying close to the one you love, or to hide away from the reality of what the day holds?
- Are there thoughts buzzing around your mind?
Every human body is different, so there is no golden description of what someone with high vitality will feel like. As a general rule though, the more you feel energised and the clearer your mind is, the higher your vitality is.
Monitoring how you feel from an emotional (how noisy your brain is) and physical (how much energy you have) perspective is a great way to bench mark your vitality. It is quick and easy to do, and can provide you with some pretty good subject matter for the introspection tool kit.
I recommend doing it first thing in the morning because that is generally when mind activity is at it’s lowest, so you will be able to feel your emotions and energy with more ease. Once you get the hang of this, you will realise that you can stop and take stock any time you want.
The purpose of this morning baseline check is for you to start to understand the relationships between your actions and your vitality. What is going on right now, and what choices did I make yesterday that may have contributed to this?
Once you know what behaviours work for you and promote your vitality, you can start to prioritise effectively.
Pause for Reflection – Activity Review
As either an alternative or an addition to the 2-minute morning meditation, rather than starting with your feelings and working backwords, you could start with your activities then consider their outcomes. You can try it now. It will work best if you write your answers down.
Spend 5 minutes reflecting on experiences within the last two weeks that have left you feeling more of the following: focussed, energised, contented, calm, relaxed.
What were these activities? Here are some starters for you to reflect on:
- Types of exercise, sport or movement?
- Games you played or hobbies you spent time doing?
- Time spent reflecting, just like this!
- Interactions with others at home or at work?
- Time spent in a particular location like a park or an art gallery
- What specific feelings did you have before, during and after the activity?
- Realistically, how often and for how long can you do them each week?
- What activities are you prioritising and why?
You could choose to perform this activity once every week or two. Try setting a reminder on your phone to do it. The more frequently you do it, the fresher the thinking will be, and the more easily you will be able to correlate the information with your morning meditation.
The morning meditation aims to evaluate your vitality and then track back to the activities that have contributed to it. You centric.
The activity review aims to evaluate each activity specifically so you can decide if you want to prioritise doing more of less of it. Activity centric.
I personally like to do the morning meditation at the start of the day when I am waking up with a coffee, and the activity review at the end of the day while I am brushing my teeth or just before I drift off to sleep.
When reviewing historic choices, remember that if something did not yield the outcome that you thought it would, it does not make it a negative or bad thing. It simply represents an opportunity to learn.
The universe does have a funny little habit that you need to watch out for; if you need to learn a lesson it will keep trying to teach you it, and the consequences of not learning it will be more severe every time.
Context is key when evaluating the outcome of your actions.
Just as our human bodies observe the law of impermanence and are part of the cycle of life and death, the flow of life energy within our bodies is also of a cyclical nature. Flowing through us like a river…
As the river grows and the flow increases it strains the river banks, this will cause wear and damage, when this happens the flow will temporarily drop again to allow us to strengthen the flood defences. It is during these periods of naturally lower flow that we need to be aware of what is going on, and be sure to factor it in to our self-analysis.
We may well be making the right choices and doing the right things but because we are in a state of energetic recuperation, we are not seeing the benefit we expect. At these times, show yourself some understanding and give yourself some more downtime for rest and reflection. Be kind to yourself.
Key points about the principle of prioritising increasing vitality:
- Learn to feel your vitality and keep in touch with it regularly
- Develop an understanding of what activities can contribute to increasing your vitality
- Take responsibility for what activities you prioritise. This includes time allocated to your social connections
- Learn to identify when you have been growing and need some downtime – be kind to yourself by being realistic
Enjoy, for now.
Previous post – Childhood Imagination
The Vitality Series:
Choosing to Prioritise Increasing Vitality
Vitality – Psychological Health