Pump Those Muscles
There is a human tendency to plug into that part of our nature that gravitates toward a groove and settles comfortably into it. Movement and growth come from surprises, serendipitous encounters, a nudge or even a hard shove. These moments, however small, are important, for they remind us that we always have the power of choice. The real challenge is not to dig in our heels and widen the groove!
This electric shock treatment is especially vital to the muscles that lie within the core human dimensions—the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Even with regular exercise our body muscles need to be continuously surprised with new routines.
In the emotional realm, jolts are created by asking the tough questions like, “Where do I need to grow?” and “What am I still holding onto?” Or, through daring to feel more deeply by freeing up space in the heart.
The brain can go soft, too. New neural pathways can be created and old ones strengthened by working the brain muscle with intellectual challenges like learning a new language or subject matter. But remember Einstein’s warning, “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
The mind is a bit different—it needs to be underworked and the “fasting” muscle is especially important. Regular “mind fasts”—catching negative thoughts or those that dwell in the past or future—for an entire day will certainly work different mental muscles!
Spiritual muscles also require work for there to be movement and growth. Even with dedicated meditation, it’s sometimes necessary to seek out different muscle groups. By contemplating questions like “How can I deepen my practice?” and “What can I do to get closer to the essence of who I am?” or going on a retreat can awaken muscle energy.
Finally, remember those muscles around the mouth and smile, smile, smile!