Put up your hand if you think that we’re all one-dimensional (i.e. physical) beings.
Just as I thought; no-one.
Now, put up your hand if you think we’re amazing, complex, multi-dimensional, physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual beings.
Knew it; a whole bunch of you.
Except you up the back who’s to important to put your hand up for anything.
It’s okay, the rest of us love you anyway.
Here, have a cyber-hug… O
Sorry, I digress.
So it’s with some trepidation that I head down the path of exploring the concept of multi-dimensional health; complete health.
The slightly dysfunctional, insecure, would-be Alpha Male Warrior, only child is going to explore health beyond the world of biceps and body-fat percentages.
You can do it.
Years of working with some amazing, lean, fit, strong, attractive bodies has taught me that sometimes, a person’s overall health has very little to do with their body.
Mostly, the outside ain’t a great indicator of what’s happening on the inside.
Medical science tells us that if someone has low blood pressure, low cholesterol, low(ish) body-fat, low(ish) resting heart rate, pretty good cardio-vascular fitness and no evidence of ‘disease’, then they’re healthy.
Very healthy, even.
But are they?
Does our broadly-accepted criteria for evaluating health really give us an accurate overall representation of an individual’s health, given that we’re not just a bunch of ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels, nerves, organs and muscles?
If most of us believe / accept that we are infinitely more than a body (a body is not who we are; it’s just where we live) then why is our health invariably evaluated by some guy in a white coat poking and prodding our physical body.
It’s my belief that the common perception of health is a very limited, ignorant, one-dimensional and misleading perspective. In fact, I believe that many people who would typically be regarded as healthy (from a clinical perspective) are, ironically, quite often the opposite.
Before we go on, I would like to ask you two questions:
1) Do you believe that you are a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual being?
2) Do you consciously, regularly and consistently work at developing, maintaining or improving your physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health?
If you answered yes to question one, and no to question two, this article might be timely for you.
I want to profile four people who I’ve met, or worked with, over the last few years.
I’m not using their real names for obvious reasons.
SAM – is a high(ish) profile Preacher. When it comes to the ‘God stuff’, he has it all together. He can quote scripture at will, preach up a storm, move people to tears and action with his amazing insight and communication skills and he genuinely has a gift for helping people. He’s compassionate, caring, loving, humble and….. fat as a house. He weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 150kgs (330lbs) and eats everything that isn’t nailed down.
Health Report: Spiritually healthy; Physically outa-control!
ASHLEY – is a fitness freak. Trains every day. Resting heart rate of 34 (freaky). Five percent body-fat, muscles on his eyelids, veins like garden hoses (apparently desirable), runs, swims, lifts, eats organic everything and…. is allergic to hugging, doesn’t tell his kids he loves them, can’t communicate with his wife and avoids any discussion with anyone (including me) about anything deeper than the weather or the football 7M.
Health Report: Physically healthy; Emotionally on life-support.
KYLIE – intelligent, professional career girl. Physically fit, deep thinker, always about to do something big but never does. Gets very spiritual (for about a day) when she’s scared (someone’s sick, she has to get on a plane, or she thinks the world is coming to an end). Acknowledges she has certain beliefs but never has the time or energy to work on the ‘spiritual’ Kylie.
Health Report: Generally healthy, Spiritually bankrupt.
CLAIRE – ironically a psychologist, with a propensity to lie, exaggerate, manipulate, intimidate and argue. Academically brilliant but dishonest, delusional and controlling.
Health report: Physically healthy, Psychologically unwell.
In my opinion all four people are unhealthy, even though ‘science’ would tell us that Sam is the only concern.
When we begin to open our eyes, our mind and our heart to a new way of thinking, feeling and being, we can explore health from a different perspective and start to understand why so many people are unhappy, unfulfilled, frustrated, sad, angry and confused. It ain’t about their blood pressure, it’s about their low self-esteem. It ain’t about their relationship with God, it’s about their un-controlled eating and delusional behaviour.
For years I have watched people try and fix emotional, psychological and spiritual problems with physical solutions; if only I lose weight, life will be great and my marriage will be saved. If only I look like that… he / she will love me. If only I punish myself a bit more, God will forgive me.
Doesn’t work like that.
We need to consciously, regularly and consistently work at developing, maintaining or improving our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.
So, you multi-dimensional, amazing creature, don’t say you want complete health unless you’re going to do something about it.
- Go for a jog.
- Forgive someone who doesn’t ‘deserve’ it.
- Talk to people, not at them.
- Listen, consider, empathise.
- Stop lying to yourself.
- Apologise for that thing you did.
- Do something different.
- Love when it’s uncomfortable.
- Forgive someone else.
- Say a prayer.
- Stop hurrying; be still for a moment.
- Create some new standards for yourself.
- Let yourself cry.
- Acknowledge your fears.
- Listen to that still small voice.
- Stop being tough.
- Write down your values.
- Live a life which is consistent with those values.
- Be vulnerable.
- Work on the inside stuff.
And do it every day.
Craig Harper (B.Ex.Sci.) is an Australian motivational speaker, qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, and owner of one of the largest personal training centres in the world.