It’s that time again.  Time to dust off those old rollerblades, grease the chain on that bicycle, or dig out the workout videos.  Many a new year’s resolution is to get more exercise.  But, there is more to life than attainment of physical goals.  The attainment of spiritual goals are also important to a healthy, fruitful life.

I view the individual person as having three bodies:  physical, mental, and spiritual.  Obviously, the physical body is the one that represents you as a space occupying entity.  It is what people visually see of you.  Next is the mental body, which is how your brain sees you based upon your preconceived notions, sensory inputs and interpretation of data collected.  The mental body makes up  the conscious and subconscious activity of the mind.  Essentially, the mental body is what your mind sees, imagines and expresses (or limits) itself (and others) to be (and to do).  The spiritual body is the third part and some would say the most enigmatic.  The spirit is something that is not tangible or bound by the physical world.  Hence, it cannot be defined in the concrete terms much desired by those who cannot believe what they cannot see.  (My description of the spiritual body cannot amount to more than just a sample of its vastness, but I will try to touch on some simple concepts for the purpose of this blog.)

The spiritual body, or inner spirit, is what I consider the core of our existence.  We all have a higher purpose, or yearning within oneself.  The inner spirit of a person is that compelling desire inside to do something (or be something) that for some, may defy logic or principle.  It is a constant, undying voice inside oneself which emanates from the most altruistic place.  Hearing that voice and following its sound can bring joy, fulfillment and true happiness.

Another way to think about the inner spirit is as a guide.  Imagine you are in a forest walking from point A to point B.  You traverse a narrow footpath and occasionally wander off to see things that your mental and physical bodies are interested in.  But, you soon find yourself lost and hence, pull out your trusty compass.  The compass aids and guides you back towards the path again.  This compass is your spiritual body and the path is your purposeful, virtuous life.

Now, in case your new year’s resolution list is lacking some spiritual goals, you can still add them.  To use the previous analogy, your spiritual goals are markers on your path to help guide you on towards your meaningful life‘s destination.  Spiritual goals will serve as a gentle push to lead you back to familiarity when you stray too far.

Nourishing the spirit is a wonderful part of living a healthy, compassionate, and more aware existence.  By setting goals and following your inner spirit, you will align your physical and mental bodies as well.  The synergistic effect is a more centered, focused, and complete person.

Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm about your spiritual goals for 2012:

  1. Meditate 10 minutes a day.
  2. Remind yourself daily that you are precisely where you need to be at this moment in your life.
  3. Resolve a few personal conflicts with family or friends.
  4. Make amends with someone that has been upsetting you.
  5. Volunteer your time and energy to a charity once a quarter.
  6. Donate to a worthy cause this year.
  7. Do something that connects you to humanity and benefits the greater good of your community, society, and/or the world.

Good luck in your spiritual endeavors for 2012 and I hope to see you somewhere along the spiritual path of your life!