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Learn more about the 24 ancient spiritual disciplines integrated into OHI’s Body-Mind-Spirit program

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Understanding the Ancient Spiritual Disciplines Followed by OHI

There are 24 ancient spiritual disciplines integrated into OHI’s Body-Mind-Spirit program. Spiritual disciplines are any habits and practices that you do, focused on creating spiritual experiences that cultivate spiritual growth.  Overall, they help foster your spiritual development and awakening, and are designed to develop, grow, and strengthen certain qualities of the spirit — to build the “muscles” of your character and expand the breadth of your inner life.  Spiritual disciplines are the “workouts” for the spirit.  From prayer to journaling, from exercising to meditation – learn about the 24 ancient spiritual disciplines that are integrated into OHI’s Body-Mind-Spirit program.

Why Adhere to Spiritual Disciplines?  

Spiritual disciplines aren’t a recipe for God’s approval.  Instead, they are what help us to develop and strengthen a lasting faith in God.  These simple habits and practices help you to cultivate a deeper relationship with God and feed your spiritual growth.

Efforts to grow spiritually are a lifelong commitment.  Strong faith doesn’t just happen on its own, nor is it something that will accidentally happen.  Spiritual disciplines are daily actions you can take to facilitate your connection with God.

What are the benefits of practicing spiritual disciplines?  They…

  • Minimize the chaos and stress of daily life by prioritizing a trusting relationship with God
  • Bring us closer to self-actualization by providing the time and space to examine our lives in closer detail
  • Quiet the mind which soothes the spirit
  • Offset physical ailments by placing equal emphasis on nourishing the body and the spirit
  • Level out emotional swings by embracing calm self-reflection

Internal vs. External Spiritual Disciplines

The Latin root of “discipline” traces to words like “instruction” and “knowledge”, and that’s what spiritual disciplines essentially are: courses for learning.  You won’t grow your faith without intention, and spiritual disciplines are the steps you can take that will lead you to more vibrant spiritual health.  Spiritual disciplines are meant to lead you to a deeper, richer inner life.  Their meaning is not found in the individual practices themselves, but in the overall growth and depth of understanding they create in your spirit.  Spiritual disciplines allow you to live a fully flourishing life, where your body, mind, and spirit are interconnected.  The purpose of practicing spiritual disciplines is to beef up your spiritual foundation so that there is balance between the body, mind, and spirit.

Some spiritual disciplines are personal, inward exercises that are practiced alone.  Other spiritual disciplines are external and require outward interpersonal relationships to be practiced in community.  Let’s take a more in-depth look at each…

Internal Spiritual Disciplines are those you can practice by yourself and involve self-reflection and reflection on the scriptures.  Internal spiritual disciplines require abstinence of you, as in the inward spiritual discipline of “silence” requires you to quiet your voice so you can listen for the voice of God.  Internal spiritual disciplines include:

  • Solitude
  • Silence
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Fasting
  • Frugality
  • Secrecy
  • Sacrifice
  • Simplicity
  • Chastity
  • Contemplation

External Spiritual Disciplines are those that require engagement with others and are outward facing to the world.  External spiritual disciplines require engagement of you, asking you to connect with others as you reach out to God, as in the outward spiritual discipline of “fellowship” asks you to gather with others to share love, joy, and encouragement.

  • Prayer
  • Study
  • Worship
  • Celebration
  • Fellowship
  • Gratitude
  • Service
  • Submission
  • Confession
  • Guidance
  • Evangelism

The Spiritual Disciplines We Prioritize

It is tempting to quantify spiritual disciplines as a set of practices rather than an internal process of transformation that reflects your aspirations.  You want your spiritual discipline practice to reflect your inner aspirations because spiritual growth comes from the inside out.  

At OHI, we practice many spiritual disciplines, but focus on nine specific ones that will truly help deepen your faith and expand your capacity for joy and gratitude:

Spiritual Discipline #1:  Prayer

The spiritual discipline of prayer is simply the interactive conversation with God about what you are doing together.  Prayer is you reaching out to God with openness, honesty, and trust, and starting a conversation to cultivate a personal relationship with God.

At OHI, there are so many ways that we incorporate prayer into our everyday activities.  First, we have a tradition of holding prayer circles before meals and ceremonies.  It’s our way to show gratitude for delicious food, for good company, for the comfort to be found in fellowship, and for the joy to be felt when you finally find a community that brings you peace.  Second, we also teach classes in how to reach an Alpha state, where you tap into your subconscious to connect with the divine.  When you pray, the act of speaking with God links your body into this higher Alpha state, causing you to breathe more deeply, lowering your blood pressure, and releasing stress and tension.  It turns out, prayer really is good for your heart!  And finally, our group prayer tradition of Friday Morning Testimonials is always a guest favorite.  When guests feel so safe and supported that they open up and share their most personal experiences with each other, that is an answer to prayer.

Spiritual Discipline #2:  Journaling

The spiritual discipline of journaling helps to awaken, expand, empower, and illuminate the hidden recesses of our inner selves.  You might think of journaling as something you did as a teenager, cataloging your crushes, navigating peer pressure, and questioning authority.  Spiritual journaling goes beyond surface-level thoughts and feelings to dive deep into your core fears, hopes, dreams, discoveries, and inspirations.  The result of committing to a regular spiritual journaling practice is:

  • Discovering your higher purpose
  • Feeling empowered at a core level
  • Finding a sense of belonging within oneself and life
  • Deeper self-awareness and understanding
  • Increased self-love and acceptance
  • Healed relationships with others
  • Enhanced intuition
  • Spiritual clarity and integration
  • Ability to access more peace, love, and joy

At OHI, our Focus I & II Classes help you focus on your highest priorities.  We teach you to look at how you spend your time, identify your core values, and define goals that support these values to achieve what matters most to you.  That’s exactly what spiritual journaling is all about.  When you take the time to write down your hopes, dreams, and inspirations, you are helping yourself discover what matters most to you and what you want to achieve in life.

Spiritual Discipline #3:  Simplicity

The spiritual discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle.  That means that simplicity isn’t necessarily about decluttering your house.  It’s about streamlining your world so that you have more time for your life’s purpose.  Simplicity is not about doing less.  It is about doing more of what is most valuable to you.  What are the things entangling you, and holding you back?  Too many obligations?  Family holidays too complicated?  Simplicity is about letting go so that you can make more space in your life for what’s truly important to you.

At OHI, our “Your Life is a Gift” class teaches you how to let go of unhealthy demands and expectations, change perceptions, and develop new pathways to unconditional love and happiness.  Our “Release Ceremony” brings you into a safe and sacred circle of fellowship and encourages you to burn a list of anything in the past that no longer serves you well.  When you let go, you can be in the present and set positive intentions for the future.  Embracing simplicity means purging your life of toxic people, relationships, and beliefs that don’t allow you to live a life of joy.

Spiritual Discipline #4:  Community

The spiritual discipline of community values connection and belonging.  Community is the idea that we are drawn to one another because of shared values or ideas.  Fellowship is linked to the idea of community, calling us to action and asking us to serve others by looking at their needs as our own.  When we carve out time in our day to focus on friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers, that sense of community and fellowship is priceless.  It is the intentional choice to come together to love and support other human beings that brings a depth to our spiritual life that is essential to our happiness.

At OHI’s Inspirational Testimonials gathering, guests share very personal stories of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing, and the outpouring of fellowship and love found in that room each week will give you a new lease on life.  Then there’s our Friday Night Live talent show.  The friendship and camaraderie that fills the room is palpable, but it’s the sense of community and fellowship that sticks with everyone long after they have returned home.  Overall, it takes courage and vulnerability to find true community, but the spiritual connections made will profoundly change you.

Spiritual Discipline #5:  Bodily Exercise

The spiritual discipline of bodily exercise is integral to spiritual growth.  How?  Physical exercise helps you grow spiritually by building discipline and giving you a sense of purpose.  Studies have shown that regular workouts result in increased motivation, focus, and energy.  The more focus and motivation you have, the more you can devote to your spiritual studies.  Exercising allows you to challenge yourself, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and gives you that zing of accomplishment when you hit new milestones.  That physical growth encourages you to strive for new levels of spiritual growth.  Physical activity also helps you be more present, and have a quieter mind, both necessary when using meditation in your spiritual discipline.  Physical exercise also sharpens your ideas and intuition, both necessary for the spiritual discipline of journaling.

At OHI, we have daily lymphatic exercise and stretch classes.  We don’t want to stress the body with heavy duty aerobic exercise during a cleanse, but bodily exercise is an essential part of our body-mind-spirit holistic approach to health and wellness.  Guests incorporate lymphatic exercise and stretching every day to stay physically strong and mentally sharp as they strive for spiritual growth.

Spiritual Discipline #6:  Noticing God in Nature

The spiritual discipline of noticing God in nature is as easy as watching the sun rise.  Have you ever experienced a profound sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude after witnessing a thunderstorm, looking out over the ocean, or hiking to the top of a waterfall.  When you’re outdoors, listening to the birds sing, the leaves rustle, and the thunder rumble, you can’t help but be caught up in the moment of amazement…and humility.  Just knowing that God is in every plant, every grain of sand, and every drop of water stops you in your tracks at the scale of it all.  When you work to protect the Earth, minimize your carbon footprint, and otherwise value this fragile ecosystem we are inhabiting is to thank God for all the bounty that this planet affords us.  Noticing God in nature is a full-time job if you take it seriously…

At OHI, our beautiful campuses are bursting with the beauty of nature.  Guests are encouraged to spend as much time in nature as they would like, gardening, meditating, or just soaking up the sun.

Spiritual Discipline #7:  Cleansing

The spiritual discipline of cleansing involves purification of the body, mind, and spirit – a central tenant of OHI’s Body-Mind-Spirit program.  We believe a healthy body is the key to a healthy spirit.  One of the first steps you can take on the journey to body-mind-spirit balance is to simply change what you eat.  When you eat healthy you improve mental clarity, increase your energy, improve your mood.  When your body is fueled up, you feel motivated to exercise, which aids sleep patterns, improves memory, and extends focus.  Nourishing the body, nourishes the mind, which nourishes the spirit.  That balance creates an inner peace, which allows for spiritual growth.  More self-reflection and growth lead to a purpose-driven life, bringing you true happiness.  And to think it all starts with vegetables…

At OHI, we believe your body is self-healing.  When given the proper food, it can restore itself to its natural balance.  Cooking foods can kill up to 40% of the minerals, seriously compromising the nutritional value of the vegetables and fruits.  Raw foods are packed with essential nutrients, and the first three weeks of our holistic program focuses on feeding you cleansing, life-extending meals of live, raw, organic plant-based recipes.

Spiritual Discipline #8:  Meditation

The spiritual discipline of meditation is creating space to hear God’s voice.  When you reach out to God in prayer, the second step in the conversation is meditation, where you quiet your mind and listen to hear what God has to say to you.  In meditation, you focus the mind on your breath to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.  You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings.  You’re learning to observe them without judgment, and eventually you will start to better understand them as well.  In spiritual meditation, you can say a little prayer.  With every breath out, repeat the prayer and use it to bring your attention back to observing your breath.  As your meditation ends, reflect on your prayer and how it made you feel more connected to God on your journey to spiritual growth.

At OHI, our Alpha I & II meditation techniques help to quiet the mind, manage stress, release tension, and control pain.  Our Vocal Toning class uses simple sounds to reestablish a natural flow of energy through your body.  This simple, yet powerful technique creates harmony from inside out to help you reach a meditative state.

Spiritual Discipline #9:  Worship

The spiritual discipline of worship is unique among the disciplines in that it can stand alone, but it also applies to so many other disciplines — prayer, meditation, community, etc.  Worship is defined as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration of God through acts of praise that recognize His greatness, His honor, and His position.  There are internal worship actions like meditation or journaling.  And there are external worship actions like prayer or vocal toning.  To worship is a verb.  It is a choice.  Worship is an action where you put your focus on God.  You must work at worship rather than passively absorb it.  Schedule time to give thanks and choose to regularly attend worship services.  The gathering reinforces that we are all members of God’s family.  We get to physically “see” that we have a spiritual connection to one another, and we can all experience the joy and wonder of spiritual growth together.

At OHI, our faith-based holistic healing program is first and foremost faith-based.  The Free Sacred Trinity Church (FSTC) is a non-denominational, Christian church rooted in Judeo-Christian doctrine.  Optimum Health Institute is a mission of the Free Sacred Trinity Church and provides a safe and sacred environment for healing.

Rejuvenate Your Body, Mind, and Spirit with Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual disciplines are any habits and practices focused on creating spiritual experiences that nourish the body, mind, and spirit.  Spiritual disciplines can look different for everyone.  At OHI, we practice 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to help our guests purify their bodies, quiet their minds, and renew their spirits.  While we prioritize prayer, journaling, community, exercise, nature, cleansing, and meditation, all spiritual disciplines are important.  Whatever spiritual discipline speaks to you is worth your time and self-reflection as all paths lead to spiritual growth.

With focus and dedication, our daily choices turn into habits, and our habits shape our character.  It is ultimately our character that guides our decision-making.  In that way of thinking, it’s easy to see how our daily choices can have such a long-term effect on our lives, and why it’s so important to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit with spiritual disciplines.

Take action and prioritize your spiritual wellness — book your next visit to OHI today!

Start your holistic healing journey today.  Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 to learn more about our holistic approach to health and wellness.  It will change your life for good!