Outdoors give opportunity for meditation
It has been more than five years since I started hiking. Hiking has helped me mentally, because for me it is a way of meditating. While it contributes to my fitness, it does not replace my exercise. My exercise time is when I’m at Custom Body Fitness lifting weights. Any other outdoor activity is part of my meditation.
Running has been a big part of my life. However, after I dislocated my knee, completely sprained three ligaments — anterior and posterior cruciate and medial collateral — and fractured my meniscus, I stopped running for almost five years because of the consequences of the high impact on my knee. After two surgeries and time, my knee feels better. Now I’ve decided to start running again.
There is something magical about doing outside activities alone. The mind asks some deep questions about reality and truth, and these questions lead to deep personal research and ultimately answers.
Last Tuesday, while I was running (after the five minutes of difficulty — warm-up), I asked myself who I am and why I’m advocating a healthy lifestyle. I thought about my body and the ability that I have to run and feel good. I know I have no limitations. Since I have a high quality of life, I want everyone to have the same. So that answer led to other questions. Why do I enjoy a high quality of life? Because of who I am. I’m my body, I’m my soul (mind and heart), I’m my spirit. I’m a tridimensional being.
My thoughts and research make me understand that maintaining all my dimensional areas is what keeps me healthy and enjoying a high quality of life. Any dimensional area can corrupt the other areas if I do not maintain it. There are many ways to corrupt the body; one example is through addiction. We can become addicted to any substance or behavior. All behaviors and substances can be addicting. And not all behaviors are good even though some are recommended. For most behaviors, balance is the key.
Here is an example: An anorexic who has her mind corrupted will exercise excessively to the point that it is not beneficial for her anymore. The addiction started in her mind. She thinks she needs to stay thin, and the more she exercises, the skinnier she will get. She is afraid of gaining weight for many reasons.
Just like this example, many people practice destructive behaviors that have become addicting. Our body ends up paying the consequences. Drinks, refined sugars and other things can also become addicting. This can lead the person to gain weight. The problem is not only the behavior, but the way our minds are set up to respond to the behavior.
There is a connection between the human mind and behaviors. Humans behave according to their mind and spirit. The spirit is who we are, our essential personality. However, the mind is molded according to society and the beliefs someone has created in us. When we let society lead our mind by leading our thoughts, they start controlling us, and the mind gets corrupted. Our decisions are now made by society, not us. When we take our time to meditate (do outside activities alone, with no distractions), we can touch our spirit and find out exactly who we are.
Meditation has a lot to do with weight loss. Meditation allows our spirit to connect with a high power that helps us make wiser decisions about who we are. These wiser decisions help us stop the unconscious negative and addicting behaviors that we have developed over the years.
These are the requirements for outdoor, active meditation: The more silent the place is, the more ideas come to my head, so I can solve my mental problems and feel in peace. I leave my cellphone in my car, don’t wear earphones and have no company (except my dogs); it’s only my thoughts and me. Mother Teresa said, “In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.”
Food and exercise are not the only factors needed for weight loss. The mind and spirit do play a tremendous role in weight loss, not only in any weight loss, but in a healthy and longlife weight loss.
I do my five days of exercise (weightlifting). Plus I add three to four days of outside activities to improve my fitness, but the reality is that I do outside activities to meditate and find my whole self.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale, author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently” and a Watch Fit columnist. His column appears on the second Tuesday of the month in Body & More.
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