Something counter-intuitive that I learned recently is that when we get really dehydrated, we stop feeling thirsty. This is a problem for me because I get so consumed in what I am doing that I often disregard feelings of thirst. After a while these feelings of thirst subside even though I haven’t drunk anything. Since a majority of our body consists of water, major dehydration leads to huge crashes.
The same can be said for spiritual dehydration. I believe that like water in the body, the spirit is a major part of who we are. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing that we ignore signals of “thirst” sent by our spirit. Soon these signals stop coming, and this is when we are headed for a huge crash or crisis.
Have you ever gotten into a funk where you complain about everything? Like an addict, pretty soon we need to complain half the day away until we feel “normal.” We ignore signals to replenish our spiritual needs and keep spiraling down the path of negativity until we crash–crash a relationship, crash physically, crash emotionally.
Since it’s almost December we can start talking about Scrooge again. Scrooge is a character whose “spiritual thirst” stopped firing. He had gone so long without re-hydrating his spirit that even Christmas did not make his soul yearn for love and goodwill. The visit from the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future can be seen as a spiritual “intervention” that replenished his spirit just enough so that he was able to recognize his need for lovingkindness and good deeds.
Since all of us don’t have the luxury of phantom interventions, or even have the time or resources to do a Vipassana meditation retreat or take a trip to Mecca, we often have to settle for “sips” of spirituality to keep us on track.
Here are some of my favorite spiritual Gatorades:
Touch nature–Notice I’m not saying you need to take a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Just a sip of nature will do sometimes. Hug a tree or at least put your hands on the bark. I learned once that trees are connected to the earth and heaven, so hugging a tree grounds you and sets your soul free. Sometimes even a nice piece of wood can re-hydrate your soul.
Shut up–My father-in-law is a Qigong master, and he is always telling me to conserve my qi (life force). When we talk too much, we often burn a lot of qi or energy. Arguments are like qi bonfires, both parties involved lose a tremendous amount of power. If we can just stop talking and listen sometimes, we actually increase our qi. You don’t have to drop into full lotus in Starbucks, but sometimes we just need to hear the wind in the trees or your son asking you to play with him.
Best-ever something–Make something in your day the “best ever.” Next time you kiss your spouse goodbye, make it the best ever goodbye kiss you have ever had. Make your next meal the best ever fruit dish you have ever eaten. How about the best ever walk to school or coffee break? Like my friend Garth says, “Why isn’t it? Everything else is gone. It’s all a dream now. You’ve only got this. Just love it. Just love it.”
Quick, Hug someone–Of course, I’m going to mention hugging, since I’m a fan of the Hugging Saint, Amma. But you don’t have to get a hug from the hugging guru; you can just hug someone standing next to you. Obviously, don’t get yourself arrested, but try hugging people you see everyday. I have a strategy for getting hugs from my friends–I reach my hand out for a bro-shake (thumbs together facing up, fingers wrapped around the back of the hand), and as soon as I get a hold of their hand, I pull them in for a bro-hug (one arm hug with bro-shake hands trapped between the chests). Dogs love hugs. If all else fails, just hug a tree.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.
What do you do when you need a quick sip of spiritual Gatorade? Please share.