Spirituality and health are two subjects that need to be considered together. Your spiritual journey may feel more difficult than it needs to, if your health--both physical and psychological--isn't optimum.
Initially people on a spiritual journey often become fully entranced with the beautiful new spaces of consciousness they're reaching through their spiritual practices or reading. This is understandable. For some of us, discovering the spiritual aspect of our lives--and the veritable smorgasbord of spiritual subjects to be studied and experienced--can be all-consuming. It's easy to forget that there are other aspects of our being that also need attention, such as our physical body and our mind.
I've had a number of clients and students over the years who have belatedly found this out: that focusing on their spirituality alone is not, in the end, an optimal way to live. If your body is not functioning properly, it will ultimately distract you from deeply meditating and being able to fully concentrate on the aspects of your spiritual journey you wish to study.
Likewise, if you have tendencies toward depression, anxiety or other chemical imbalances, these too will prevent you from being able to make progress on your spiritual journey. Spirituality and health must both be attended to.
Spirituality and Physical Health
Physical health is essential for your spiritual health. When healthy, your body can more easily assimilate higher spiritual frequencies, and you can also be more sensitive to these energies.
Healthy Diet: To begin with, a healthy diet can help you feel more awake and conscious in meditation, as well as more alert to hearing and sensing inner guidance. Cutting out sugar, caffeine and alcohol is a good start. If abstaining from them altogether is too hard, then ingesting them in moderation can help. All three of these substances, aside from not being healthy for your body, are also mind-altering in a way that can hinder your progress on your spiritual journey.
Exercise: Physical exercise is equally important. Aside from bringing oxygen into your cells, lungs and bloodstream--all very important--exercise also releases stuck energy inside you that can cause a sense of sluggishness or depression, and an accompanying lack of interest in doing anything that would enhance your spiritual growth. Any sport that appeals to you is helpful, as is hiking and simple walking. Of course, certain exercise methods such as yoga or tai chi will not only keep you physically fit, they are also designed to enhance your spiritual awakening.
Protecting Yourself from EMFs: A further consideration people are often unaware of is that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that emanate from our cell phones, computers, appliances and cell towers really adversely affect our health. They can give us headaches and make us dizzy or nauseous; they erode our immune system and mess with our nervous system. If you're having difficulty either physically or mentally when you meditate, you might check to see what electrical devices you have nearby (especially wireless ones.)
But, in today's world, it is hard to get away from EMFs. Who wants to give up their cell phone or computer? And where can you go to get away from cell towers--they're all around us.
A way to solve all this is by using protective devices. There are a number of them on the market, but some look rather iffy and not backed by any science. Check out EarthCalm.com for devices you can test for 90 days with a full guarantee.
Spirituality and Mental Health
I've also had a number of students over the years who were quite advanced spiritually--very awake and mature in their spiritual practices--but who kept getting pulled back by a chemical imbalance in their brain. As hard as they'd try to resolve their problems with spiritual resolve and discipline, they were constantly being distracted and dragged down by depression or anxiety--or by the roller coaster ride of mood swings.
Sometimes you can deal with mood imbalances with concerted efforts of a spiritual nature, but sometimes the battle is just too great. The emotions are too strong; you feel too overwhelmed to transcend them.
Psychotherapy and/or Drugs: In this case, I usually advise a student to complement his or her spiritual practice with psychotherapy for a while--and even, when necessary, with anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by a psychiatrist.
This suggestion is often met with resistance within the spiritual community. There seems to be a belief that spirituality should be able to "conquer all ills." Maybe this is true if someone is especially advanced on his or her spiritual journey. But most people I know cannot overcome the tendencies of a severe imbalance in brain chemistry with the spiritual practices they know. It's just too hard. And to make matters worse, they often feel a sense of failure and inadequacy when they don't succeed.
It's extremely important to bring about a sense of emotional balance first by whatever means possible--so that you can focus clearly and fully on your spiritual practice.
Your spiritual life and your health work hand in hand together. One enhances the other. Don't forget that you're here to take care of ALL of you on your spiritual journey--both your spirituality and your health.
Unseen influences can subtly effect your health and attitude, but that doesn't have to be an obstacle.