I admit that I have been running a bit of a life marathon over the past few months. Against my own better ‘knowing’ and ‘judgement’, I have racked up some extra miles on many fronts. In particular, this past week was particular intense on the physical front as a lot of the landscaping projects in my new home needed to be ‘closed out’ in the light of fast-approaching autumn. I never knew that moving around forty yards of top soil (yes, I was creating flower beds and planting a lawn from scratch) could be such an endurance testing task!
And just when I was finally done and the lawn got seeded on Thursday, and I was ready to slow down and let my body heal, I realized that I had one more task remaining for the week. It dawned on me that I had signed up for a Friday evening ‘stationary bike’ challenge to support the annual school fund-raiser. How hard could that be, I thought? All I can say is that I somehow managed not to fall off the bike during the forty-five minute or so ride. As a first-time rider, I was in total awe of the endurance of some of the regulars who kept pace with the drill-seargent of an instructor who managed to throw in tidbits of inspiration in between barking orders!
I really thought I would be in much worse shape on Saturday after that ride to and from from the edge of my physical capabalities. But, I was surprised that I recovered more quickly than I had imagined – maybe it was all the conditioning from weeks of landscaping work? Is it possible that I had inadvertently been conditioning myself and building up ‘endurance’? Could there be a parallel in our ability to build up mental and spiritual endurance in a similar way?
Let us examine mental endurance. One way to define it is “the ability to have staying power, stamina and fortitude in the face of ‘thought challenges'”. Our mind can be our greatest friend or it can be our greatest enemy. A properly ‘trained’ mind is like a trained horse that responds appropriately to the trainers ‘commands’. Regular mental training through exposure therapy to life situations, and analysis of our responses to those situations, can build ‘mental staying power’ or endurance. One by-product of building mental endurance is that we find ourself conserving mental response energy. As a result, our ‘recovery time’ from mentally exhausting situations is much quicker!
How about the development of spiritual endurance? It perhaps follows the same model as physical and mental endurance. The importance of daily, regular practice in building spiritual endurance cannot be overstated. In fact, one may find that our recovery from physical and mental exhaustion is much quicker when we draw energy from a heart reservoir full of actionable spiritual intelligence. Spiritual endurance isn’t simply about ‘gutting it out’ on life’s ‘stationary bike’ challenge.
It is also about knowing how to conserve energy on the flats, when to lower inner resistance and give ourselves permission to coast, and when to charge the hills with gusto!
P.S. Join us in #SpiritChat on twitter – Sunday October 8th at 9amET/1pmUTC. We will gather to talk about “building endurance” and the challenges one may face in doing so. Namaste.
The flower endures, stands tall and still attracts bees, despite suffering much damage…
Chat Summary: https://storify.com/ajmanik/spiritual-endurance