The answer to this question is simple, but the complexities of balancing these two things can sometimes take us down a misguided path. Simply put, the two most important things in life are health and relationships–without either of these, how could life exist?
Think about it. If you lose your health and your ability to relate to others, life as you know it would disappear. It is no simple task to create and maintain perfect health, and nor is it easy to establish relationships that reflect our imperfections in a positive manner. We need balance, and balance involves the integration of the body, the mind and the soul. To live, we need our health and we need to love. “But,” you might ask, “Do we really need love to live?” If you think of love in a purely romantic sense, the answer is no. However, if we see love as the essence of creation, then love is as vital to life as water and good nutrition.
Love is a neurological condition we experience that is as strong as hunger and thirst. It is a survival tool that promotes long term relationships, nurturing, defending, supporting, safety and security. Love creates bonds stronger than death–it cannot be bought and sold. And since life is dependent upon relationships, love is the glue that supports life.
In naturopathy (the science of natural living), the body-mind is a concept that considers the body and the mind to be one integrated system. Just as the body-mind must be healthy and seek out relationships, so must the soul. We are a tri-part being comprised of body, mind and soul, and all three parts must be in a place of balance for there to be perfect health. Our mission here on earth is to find peace and happiness, and that can only be found when body, mind and soul are in alignment. This alignment is established through good health and solid relationships.
In my practice, as a naturopath and a yoga teacher, I have met many people who eat properly and exercise daily to keep their bodies fit. On the outside, they appear to be healthy and fit. However when you engage in conversation with them, it becomes apparent that they are sometimes infected with emotional turmoil. Further, if they are not soulfully connected, there is often a void in their lives. They speak to me of emptiness, confusion, lacking passion, feeling unfulfilled, and being angry and in pain. Most of these folks are seeking a higher connection. They realize that fitness and health are more than the body-mind. They know that joy and happiness never come from outside things and that fulfillment only comes from enlightenment, yet they cannot find it.
This does not mean that to find enlightenment we should abandon the world of the body-mind. That is a misconception often adopted by those on the path of discovering their soul. Health and fitness in the body-mind makes it so much easier to open the door to soulful fitness. This is because with good health, one is not weighed down with layers of earthly pollution (e.g. obesity, addictions, poor physical and mental health). The essence of discovery always comes back to health and relationships.
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When we learn to choose from a higher level of consciousness by eating properly and exercising, as well as taking care of our health in all respects, good health becomes a way of being. We relate to the world with a deeper sense of conviction and caring. Everyday living becomes an honoring of self, and through this sense of honor we find our center, self-confidence, and self-esteem. We discover that all is possible in the realm of good health. With good health and solid relationships, we are able to embark upon our life’s mission, find our path, and establish fulfillment. Our world would evaporate without health and relationships, and yet we take both for granted. Paradoxically, the only time we value these things is when they are taken away.
What if we got up every day and spent a moment giving thanks for our health? We could then set out to support our health through good nutrition, exercise, rest and the warm embrace of relating to the world in a state of pure love. We only know ourselves through our relationship with the world, and if our relationship with the world is a healthy one of body, mind and soul, then the two most important things in life (health and relationships) are ours for the keeping. That’s how to live a healthy, loving life!