By Chitwan Khosla, Features Editor
Body. Mind. Soul. While these three dimensions of human existence make up who we are, we are not really familiar with these components. A superficial knowledge and incomplete understanding of our own selves, our actual and ideal selves, leads to a perturbed and disorganized life, and is probably one of the biggest challenges faced by many. To overcome such obstacles, through self-introspection, one needs to take initiative to try to explore what and who they truly are and what they want to become. This can be measured by the degree of well-being in body, mind, and soul. Every person is unique and has a distinct personality; hence, there are no set rules, but there are set components.
We begin by investigating the body. If we logically and scientifically look at this component, we generally come up with a definition that it is a natural physical machine made up of multiple organs and organ systems that coordinate with each other to make it function smoothly. Body is the only component of the three which is tangible—we can touch, see, and smell it. We are closely related to body and we often judge people by just looking at their physical appearance. We use our body to perform basic tasks of life such as eating, sleeping, drinking, breathing, and walking. Therefore, it is a very important component which we can’t ignore. We sometimes fail to understand the real self or anything else beyond a body. Body greatly affects the other two components, both directly and indirectly. As the saying goes: “A healthy mind resides in a healthy body.” If we want the well-being of other components, we need to work on the body first. Ignoring the body results in the deterioration of health and limits our actions and activities. Young students or professionals suffer the most when they fall ill because their opportunity-costs are much higher than the ones who have passed this phase. They lose time to study or prepare for exams, which may result in lower grades. They don’t go to work, making it hard on their financials. They may miss great opportunities to have fun, such as not being able to go to a concert. All of this ultimately leads to stress as they feel less accomplished.
However, you are more than just a body, and this is when we move on to examine the next component: the mind. We view it as conscience and one’s psychological orientation. Don’t confuse the mind with your brain, though. The brain is a part of the body and is an organ. The mind represents your thought processes and your emotional and academic intellect. Although the mind controls the body as we think about ways to look after our physical self and care for the body, the mind does more than that. The mind is a broad term which includes concentration, observation, assessment, awareness, and intelligence. There’s a reason your state of mind is greatly affected by your circumstances and experiences. You feel happy, sad, disturbed, stressed, and the like, depending on what you are thinking or what you go through. Gandhi once said that watching your thoughts is important because they end up becoming your destiny, conveying that your mind plays a major role in your life. You literally live a life of your thoughts. This makes it crucial to keep checking; are your thoughts positive or negative, inspiring or discouraging, fruitful or harmful?
The last component is the soul. Everyone has their own definition of the soul. They believe in different theories and ideologies, which is perfectly fine as long as you know what your soul represents and how you can ensure its well-being. The soul can be explained as a higher level of mind. It is one’s personality. It represents your morals and values. It makes you you. Deep inside, the human tendency is to feel satisfied and usually this is what your soul also aims for. Just as people have their own definitions of the soul, they also have their own ways and methods to be insightful about it.
Highly renowned spiritual speaker and Raja yoga meditator, Shivani Verma—who gives talks about enlightenment of mind and soul—explained the connection between body, mind, and soul as certain and very delicate. She said that when we are unable to control the things around us as we want them to be, or we act against our personality’s characteristics or soul, we have a disturbed state of mind. The human mind comes across up to 45 thoughts per minute in such a situation according to Verma. This in turn leads to the inability of the mind to control the body efficiently and causes health problems. This again highlights the connection between the three components. When the mind is in a comparatively less-hyper state or is in a normal state, the frequency of thoughts per minute is 20-30. A highly calm state of mind is when our mind can concentrate on a single thought for at least 10-13 seconds. An ultimately enlightened mind can concentrate on a single thought for at least 17 seconds. “This can be achieved by meditation, self-acceptance and by taking care of one’s body,” she added.
Eating healthily, exercising, and properly cleansing and grooming the body can lead to a positive change in health. This can be further improved by self-assessment of your body. Understand your body; figure out what is suitable for it and what isn’t. Yoga, and even walking for 40 minutes three times in a week, can do wonders. Don’t ignore any signs or symptoms telling you that something is wrong. Treat your body with respect. Don’t experiment unnecessarily on it. A healthy and active sex life also reduces the risk of ailments and stress.
Never ignore your thoughts. Always dig deeper into the source of your thoughts. Positive thoughts lead to happiness and negative thoughts cause sadness and stress. Finding out the source will make many things clearer and simpler. You want to eat an ice-cream, for example; think why you want to eat it. Is it because you want to enjoy it or is it because you want to distract yourself? Or you are disappointed because you lost marks for not submitting your assignment? Think over why it happened. Is it because you struggled to understand it or because of poor time management?
Either way you will learn what makes you happy—what you should do more often—and what makes you sad—what you must avoid or should improve. This will greatly help in increasing positivity in your life as you will feel more sorted and you will eliminate negativity from your life. What better feeling to have than to know that you are not dependent on others for this? In turn, it encourages productivity, focus, and enthusiasm. Another useful activity to increase positivity is to write what your feelings or emotions are at a particular moment. That done, circle the ones which are most prominent. Then assess which are the emotions you want to get rid of and which ones you want to experience more. From there, write what can you do about it or how you plan to achieve this.
So the next time you feel stressed out, work out physically, mentally, and spiritually. Go on a journey of self-assessment and self-help. You won’t be disappointed.