Balancing Body Mind and Spirit

Typical three-legged-stool; robust, durable, well balanced

Balance comes from equal emphasis on our three aspects

Way before ergonomic chairs, way back when I was a little boy of seven, there was a very handy seat known as the three-legged stool. It was invariably made of wood. A flat wooden seat with three short stout legs. These were common place and used frequently when doing sit-down-type work such as milking a cow. If my memory serves me right, the dairy farmer whose milking shed I had access to in those far off day, used one. They were easily portable and very sturdy.

Stable, beautiful, centred within itself

In the even space of three you have a magic number

Why three legs? Today, most ergonomic chairs have five. Four legs makes for some instability. I can attest to that, for I had four legged stools in my single-operator wireless offices on the ships I served in whilst in the Navy. They often toppled. But three legs? There you have stability. Three legs, evenly spaced, provide optimum balance no matter how the floor tilts in a heavy sea.

Uniform emphasis, regular emphasis on all three is needed

However, the legs must all protrude from the that seat base at exactly the correct angle. They need to be uniform, same angle, same length. No single leg can be shorter or longer than the other two. This is basic. The three must be of equal in all aspects if the stool is to survive the hurly burly of sustained use.

Why do I mention a three-legged stool? Obviously it going to be an analogy for something else, and in this case something very important.

All aspects need to be equal for perfect performance

These three aspects supply the balance for a full life

Just as a three legged stool has to have certain requisites to function optimally so, too, do we human beings have three aspects which should balance us. You see, we are made up of three aspects: Body, Mind and Spirit. These three need to be of equal strength, equal significance - for example the 'length' of time we devote to each of them. Our real self is best served when we give equal - or at least significant attention - to all three legs: physical body, personal mind, and spiritual self.

Most of us are unbalanced...and you know what that means

It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of us are out of balance. These three aspects of our lives are rarely in balance. Our figurative legs are not proportional, of the same length and strength. In some of us the physical predominates. In others the mental aspect. In the latter, there is much attention paid to the thoughts which arise. Often we believe we are these thoughts and the attendant emotions which accompany them. We place ourselves in that, oh so common, belief that we are physical bodies and somehow we have a mind in our heads which think.


Perface balance means we need to centre ourselves

We are not our bodies nor our thoughts - They belong to us

Others of us pay scant attention to the body other than to feed it, clothe it, rest it, and use it for pleasurable and sensuous pursuits. Though not always, of course, for there are intellectual pursuits and we can lose our self in these. Those of us who do this, identify very much with our thoughts and, once again, we believe we are our minds. We see our minds as being some sort of amorphous precipitate of our brain. But we still see ourselves mainly as a physical body.

Regular emphasis on all three aspects gives us both stability and meaning

In the above examples there is an emphasis on our physical presence, or on our mental activity, as the beliefs in what we are. In both of these instances we using a two-legged stool which cannot balance. Body and mind are not enough to sustain us without strain. We have to be held up in some way. Like a man using a three legged stool, we are not able to function fully. One hand has to be used to prop up the stool and it is damn hard work. It results in the long term in stress. But if we add the third leg, that of Spirit, and prop it in there, at the correct angle and the right length, we all of a sudden have balance. We are now able to function fully. We can now use all of our physicality, and far more of our mind, because this third leg of Spirit now provides stability.

An unusual depiction of the human aura

How many times do we need to be told we are body, mind and spirit?

We humans, as it has been stated so many times by so many sages, are made up of body, mind and spirit. If we are to have balance in our lives we have to give each of these its due attention. If we are to operate fully, move into our full potential, we have to have balance. We cannot give a disproportionate amount of attention to any single one of these in the long term without engendering some form of imbalance. The imbalance, if pursued long enough, will tend to have us fall over. We will take a spill. In less abstract terms we can fall short in the body by becoming physically ill, or in the mind, by becoming mentally ill - or both.

When we are 'present' we know we are the Experiencer

What will stop us from falling over is to give fair and reasonable, if not completely equal, attention to our Spirituality. We know we need physical exercise plus adequately nourishing food and rest to keep us fit and healthy. We know we need stimulation, motivation, and interesting pursuits to keep our minds working well. But we also need to give our attention to the presence, the awareness of what we are: the Witness, the Observer, the Experiencer of our life. We need to give our attention to, and identify with, the Higher aspects our ourselves. For our physical bodies house our mind, but our minds are housed - if I might use this analogy - in that which experiences - the real us. The our personal mind is a precipitate of something far bigger than most of us acknowledge. Our physicality is a precipitate of a Universal Intelligence but it is somehow interwoven with the "I" which we all sense ourselves to be. You can call that Universal Intelligence, God, if you like. But whether you acknowledge that or not, you and I are a part of It.

The "I" in us is uniform and the same in us all

This "I" is in each of us. It is what we are. Moreover there is only one "I" and yet there are infinite "I"s. This is the Divine Dichotomy. We are all One yet we are all separate. Our personal "I" interprets ourselves as being different from one another because its consciousness is filtered through of our personal minds' conditioning.

Says it all, pretty well

The "I" is ageless, immortal, the REAL us

At least, that's my present understanding of it. Whether or not this is true I cannot say for certain. Here, I am making an effort to describe what is impossible to describe fully and with one hundred percent accuracy. But we do know this: The "I" that looks out at the world at three years of age is the same "I" that sees that world at ten, twenty, forty, eighty years of age. It does not change. It is the only thing - if we can call the Observer which is us a thing - that does not change. Everything other than that "I" changes. All is change. All is in a state of flux - all except that "I."

Everything in the Universe changes except for the "I"

So, if we want balance in our lives we need to be aware, and remain aware, that we have a physical self - which is ever changing. The sub-atomic particles, the flux that arise out of seemingly nowhere and go back into nowhere that makes up our physicality grows, sustains and ages our bodies. The physical body which gets into a shower in the morning is not quite the same one that gets out ten minutes later. The change is so subtle it cannot be discerned. But if we look at a photo of ourselves at twenty, and another of ourselves at fifty, the change is obvious.

Nature's balances itself through all its changes

Be still. Be alert. Be aware and attentive

We have thoughts and beliefs which change over time so we are not our minds. Our bodies and minds belong to us. You could even say that they are of us. Yet they are not the indefinable spirit which we all are. So to reiterate: if we want all the good things which go with living a harmonious, happy, balanced life, we need to give adequate attention to what underlies the base of our lives, and in appropriate measure. Each leg of body, mind and spirit is essential - each of them! Be aware of this. Do not let it slip away by the rationalizations of an ego - that conglomeration of thought forms we so often believe to be ourselves. Be still. Be alert Be aware and attentive to The Now moment from time to time.

When we harness the power of our mind we become enormously powerful

The ego won't like it. It will rebel. It will become very, very upset. It will act like a wild bull which has been roped for the first time. Don't identify with it. Don't identify with the thoughts which will arise in outrage and violence at being harnessed by something greater than itself. Persevere and the wild-bull-mind will quieten down. It will become, eventually, tamed. And when it is tamed you will have all its massive strength at your own, Real self's disposal. When we harness the power of our mind we become enormously powerful.

Yes, and all of this can begin with our just acknowledging, accepting, and then working to ensure that each leg of that three-legged stool of Body, Mind and Spirit is regarded as being essential to the stability of the whole.

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Comments 3 comments

Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 17 months ago from Shimla, India

The more i read your posts, the more i fall in love with your words. You write really well.


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 16 months ago from Houston, TX USA

Edgar Cayce gave a reading stating the same as your article. "Keep a normal balance, not being an extremist in any direction, whether in diet, exercise, spirituality or morality, but in all let there be a coordinate influence. For, every phase of the physical, mental and spiritual life is dependent upon the other. They are one. Reading 2533-3."


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 6 months ago from Sydney, Australia Author

The "Sleeping Prophet," Edgar Cayce's works are well known. I've had the pleasure of reading Henry Reed's book on this remarkable man. 'Edgar Cayce - on mysteries of the mind' is a very insightful book.

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