Baseball’s spring training is underway. Catchers, pitchers, outfielders, infielders, and designated hitters are all back to work. The objective: to get in shape and improve their hitting and fielding ability. This is a good time of year for all of us to get in shape spiritually. And getting in shape spiritually brings physical well being, according to increasing evidence of the important impact spirituality has on health.
Here are some ways I have found helpful to my spiritual and physical regime:
Take time each day to read from your sacred texts. Whether it be The Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, or any book that you find particularly inspiring, take some time each day to read from it. Find a passage you see as helpful, highlight it, write it in a notebook, or even memorize it. You will then find that when you are faced with a challenge, you will have a sacred thought to help you gain the courage needed to face any situation. I read a Bible lesson containing passages from The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This provides me with spiritual balance as I face the pressures of the day. Find what works for you.
Stretch your spirituality. An athlete will often spend quite a bit of time stretching and limbering up. I have found this quite important in the practice of spirituality also. After time with our sacred texts, we need to put what we’ve learned to use. I find what really stretches me is when I limber up with love, patience and forgiveness. I remember a time when I pulled a muscle in my back while moving a concrete planter. I could not straighten up and was in a lot of pain. I had recently been hurt by various people, and needed to stretch my forgiveness and love. As I did, the back pain disappeared. I have moved that planter many times since without difficulty.
Diet from criticism, envy and hate. This can be very important to our spirituality and our health. This may not be easy at first, especially if we have “gorged” ourselves on these in the past. We can start today to resist the temptation to criticize, to condemn, to compare our life to another’s or to complain. Dieting from hate and dislike is a very healthful thing to do.
Drink in the nutrients of love, friendship and joy. Plenty of liquids are crucial to an athlete. Plenty of love is crucial to all of us. Deepak Chopra, author of 65 books on spirituality has said, “Ask yourself, ‘How can I make people happier today?’ If we shift our awareness to other people, if we really listen to them and show them attention, affection and appreciation, it calms us.” It can be extremely healthful to do something for someone else each day.
“Cool down” moments of prayer. Athletes know that cooling down is crucial to fitness. It’s also crucial to health. Whether you call it prayer, or meditation, or “quiet time”, give yourself moments of silence at the end of the day. This time will help you find peace and rest – both of which are important to health.
O.K. pitchers and catchers – spring training is here. So is spiritual fitness. Let’s try this together. I’ve begun my spiritual spring training. How about you?