What does it feel like when our body and soul are in balance? It may not feel that obvious. We may experience a subtle sense of happiness. We may feel at home in all kinds of situations, and find it easy to stay fit and healthy. We may find that we make time to spend surrounded by nature, and we actually look forward to every day.
Too often, we notice it more when we’re out of balance. There are so many forces working to knock us off center. Even our drive to excel can be harmful. We aim for standards of achievement that are not always attainable: extreme physical fitness, eight figure incomes.
Living and working at this frenetic pace, there’s little time to reflect on what brings joy to our souls. And one morning we wake up, wondering who we are, desperate to reconnect with ourselves.
To learn about balance, look no further than the Huichol, an indigenous tribe from the mountainous region of central Mexico, who just happen to be some of the happiest, healthiest, wisest people on earth. They’ve got an incredibly effective method for regaining that balance, and coming back into ourselves — turning back into what is right for us. It’s called Living Through the Heart.
Here are four strategies to help us return to balance within ourselves, the Huichol way.
4 “Tribal” Ways to Get Back in Balance
1. Ask Two Questions
Living through the heart is the opposite to modern living. It takes the modern world influences and distractions out of the equation to focus on the answer to two important questions: Who am I, and: What is right for me to do in my journey of body and soul?
2. Experience instead of Analyze
Rather than analyzing the world, when we’re living through the heart, we experience the world. That’s because our heart is the part of our awareness that gives us thoughts and answers to life when we’re not focused on them. Our logical thoughts may not understand it, but a gentle force nudges us toward a purpose. If we take the mind out of the answer, we can feel our true nature.
3. Notice Your Own Balance
Seeking and appreciating the balance you do have can be part of your journey in life. Consciously take note when negative thoughts aren’t present. Notice events in nature, such as the sunrise, or a moon phase. Give yourself kudos when you’ve been consistent in your workouts, and appreciate how good you feel when you’re active. Acknowledge moments when you feel generous, and be grateful when you feel healthy.
4. Use Your Breath to Connect
Finally, here’s a useful exercise for experiencing your world with your heart. With every breath, feel your heart opening. Focus on the connection between your inner and outer environments. Now, feel how your heart is not only an organ inside your body, but a means to connection between you and the world. Visualize light pouring into it, and with it, beauty and wonder.
Trust your own awareness as you begin to experience this. Let your heart open as you’re filled with these positive emotions, and feel your sense of well being growing, and expanding, creating your own world.
It takes awareness and work to stay in balance. But it’s a nourishing work, an empowering journey that brings strength and health to body and soul. And shifting from an awareness based on the mind to one that comes from the heart enables you to connect to a quieter, but ever-present sense of direction. You’ll find the right life for yourself, with work and activities that bring joy.
We take care of the outside with strength, health, fitness and nourishing food. And we take care of the inside, with life, with nature, with the earth, and the seasons. And with a fit body and a fit soul, we live in balance.
Shaman-healer Brant Secunda and six-time world champion Ironman Mark Allen are body-soul fitness experts and seminar leaders known for blending ancient shamanic wisdom with the latest scientific findings on nutrition, fitness, mood, and stress, and turning them into fresh tips and advice for improving health and well-being. Their new book is Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to Healthier, Happier You (BenBella Books)
Featured photo by James Jordan