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The Four Aspects of Self

January 10, 2012

The Four Aspects of “Self”

Human life consists of four aspects: the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels of existence.  In order to find balance, wholeness and fulfillment in our lives, we need to heal, develop, and integrate all four of these aspects within ourselves.
Our physical aspect, is of course, our physical body. It also includes our ability to survive and thrive in the material world.  Developing the physical level of our being involves learning to take good care of our bodies, and to enjoy them.  It also means developing the skills to live comfortably and effectively in the world.
Our mental aspect is our intellect, our ability to think and reason.  The mental level of our existence consists of our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and values.  Our minds can be our greatest gifts, and at times, our greatest curse.  Our minds can cause us to have terrible confusion or bring us profound understanding.  Developing the mental level of our being allows us to think clearly, remain open minded, yet discern intelligently.  Our minds enable us to gather knowledge and wisdom from our life experience and from the world around us.
Our emotional aspect is our ability to experience life deeply, to relate to one another and the world on a feeling level.  It’s the part of us that seeks meaningful contact and connection with others.  Developing the emotional level of our being allows us to feel the full range of the human experience (with the five senses), and find fulfillment in our relationships with ourselves and each other.
Our spiritual aspect is our inner essence, our soul, the part of us that exists beyond time and space.  It connects us with the universal source and the oneness of all life.  Developing our awareness of the spiritual level of our being allows us to experience a feeling of “belonging” in the universe, a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives, and a broader perspective than we have from our personality alone.  The spiritual level provides a foundation for the development of the other levels.
All four of these aspects are equally important.  If we want to feel whole and lead healthy, satisfying lives, we need to focus a certain amount of time and attention on understanding, developing, healing and integrating each aspect.
Some levels may need special healing because we were wounded or suffered trauma in that area.  For example if you were taught or brought up with strict religious beliefs and eventually these beliefs yu felt were not right for you, and as a result rejected the entire spiritual side of life, perhaps not believing in anything anymore, you may have a wound on the spiritual level, which can be healed by developing your own personal way of relating to spirit. All of us at some point have suffered to some degree of disappointment, hurt, pain that leaves us emotionally wounded and in need of healing.
There is no one right way to carry out our healing process.  Everyone is different and follows a unique path of development.  We are all on an evolutionary journey, but most of us will not realise it until a certain event has caused us to awaken and we are all involved in the process of growth and learning.  Life is like our school where we are constantly learning, evolving, learning lesson, trying to make sense of why we are here.
Exercise: Assessing Your Own Aspects
Take a few minutes to think about which of the four aspects you have developed quite well and which one(s) might need a little more attention and expression in your life.
 
Physical: Are you physically healthy and active? Do you like and feel comfortable in your body? Do you enjoy your sexuality? Are you comfortable in the material world? Are you practical, down to earth, financially stable, independent?
Mental: Are you satisfied with your intellect? Can you think and express yourself clearly? Do you have a belief system that supports you and works for you? Are you open to new ideas without being overly impressionable?
Emotional: Are you in touch with your feelings and able to express them appropriately? Do you allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions – fear, sadness, anger, as well as love and joy – or do you find that certain emotions make you uncomfortable? Are you able to set appropriate boundaries with people? Can you relate to others in a close, intimate way?
Spiritual: Do you feel a sense of connection to your spiritual source? Are you able to spend time quiet and alone, just “being”? Do you have a relationship with your own inner wisdom or intuitive guidance? Do you have moments when you feel at one with everything or part of something greater?
Note down your impressions, thoughts, feelings and how you experience each of the four levels in your life at this time.  Note down any ideas you have about steps you can take towards greater development and balance. It is also worth noting down any areas of resistance that comes up on each level.
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