Strengthening your core

When we talk about strengthening our cores, we’re generally talking about our physical bodies. But our spiritual cores are perhaps more important. Our spirits are the essence of who we are, with our bodies and emotions (what I call our souls) formed around this core.

Put another way, our spirit is where the meaning and purpose of our lives reside. Our souls give us the capacity for relationship but our spirits enable us to love ourselves and others. The stronger our spirits, the more we can give and receive love.

When any one part of our whole being is weak, all of us suffers. Temple Grandin is a “gifted animal scientist who has designed one-third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States.” She is also autistic. She “thinks, feels  and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us.” In her book, Thinking in Pictures, she discusses how difficult it was for her to understand basic emotions.

Grandin’s autism interferes with her ability to integrate body, soul and spirit, and causes what she describes as “circuit overloads.” These overloads have led to unmanageable emotions that have gotten in the way of every part of her life including, she said, an ability “to give and receive love.”

To cope, she developed a “squeeze machine” that mechanically applies a soothing pressure she said has made her “a kinder and gentler person.”

Prior to that, she could not even pet her cat gently. Consequently the cat wanted nothing to do with her. As she became more gentle, the cat finally stuck around. She said this experience helped her “understand the ideas of reciprocity and gentleness.”

For her, “gentle touching teaches kindness.” She said, “To have feelings of gentleness, one must experience gentle bodily comfort.”

Gentleness, however, is more a response to how another treats us than an emotion itself. Whether or not we can give or receive gentleness or kindness are ways to demonstrate our love, and in some ways, indicate how strong our spiritual cores are.

Grandin unwittingly hinted at how we can strengthen this core when she noted that her squeeze machine helped her feel love and kindness. Strengthening our spiritual cores through our intellect and logic is one way to approach it, as Grandin did, but most of us can do this more directly.

Most of us learn and absorb kindness, as well as things like love, joy, peace, patience and more, in our early developmental years. We continue to strengthen these throughout our lives through daily interactions with others who treat us well and who we treat well. It is as though our emotions are funnels that fill our spiritual cores.

Strengthening our spiritual cores then is a matter of building high quality relationships. For those with faith in God, the key is to learn about and soak up His love, as well as to live in relationship with others who are living in love. For those without a faith, relationship with others is key.

Such relationships strengthen our core similarly to how a seed takes root and grows. First the seed is planted.  Then, if the seed has ample nurturing through light, water and nutrients, it opens and takes root. This nurturing must continue in order for the plant to develop strong roots that can support the stem and the rest of the plant, and sustain difficult conditions.

Our nurturing comes through the love of our parents or other caretakers, as well as through friends and family members. For people who have had a rough start, or as in Grandin’s case whose bodies have processing or connection troubles, it’s not impossible to strengthen the core. It just requires some workarounds.

Regardless of how we get there, this truth remains: Unless we root and establish ourselves in love, we cannot be strengthened with power in our inner beings.

Please answer this question below in the comments section,”How strong is your core?”