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The One Component Of Fitness Most People Neglect (Meditation, Plant Medicine, Yoga, Sex & More: How Ben Greenfield Trains For The Spiritual Disciplines). – Ben Greenfield Fitness

Correction note: I said “Richard Dawkins” in this episode and meant to say “David Hawkins!”

As I age, observe great thinkers and philosophers, and continually seek wisdom, I’ve become increasingly convinced that caring for one’s spirit is as important—no, more important than caring for one’s body and brain. After all, long after our muscles have atrophied and skin has sagged, long after our brains have degraded and accumulated with plaque, long after our blood vessels and nerves have become clogged and weak, and long after our relentless pursuit of fitness and longevity has become a vain effort, our spirits can be just as strong and bright as ever. Yet, sadly—especially among those immersed in physical fitness and biohacking—it seems that the spirit is the most oft-ignored component of our human vessels, quite frequently shrunken and shriveled from a near-complete neglect of the spiritual disciplines…

…disciplines such as meditation, gratitude, prayer, fasting, study, fellowship, celebration, charity, and all those elements that most of us know are important but somehow shove to the side because, let’s face it, life gets busy and it just seems far more practical and immediately useful to go hit the gym rather than sit cross-legged on the floor meditating, breathing, spending an extra ten minutes in bed journaling, or prioritizing a family dinner. 

As I mention with increasing frequency the importance of the spiritual disciplines, I’m often asked how I personally incorporate these practices in my own life. So, similar to how last week I shared with you the nitty-gritty details of my own nutrition supplementation program, in this podcast I’m going to delve into how I weave everything from yoga to breathwork to plant medicine into my own life. I in no way profess to be an expert in these matters, and although it is my goal over the next ten years to become as spiritually fit as I am physically fit (and to focus perhaps even more on the spiritual disciplines than I currently do on the physical disciplines), I hope that a few of the insights I’ve incorporated into my own life these past several years may serve you well in your own pursuit of spiritual greatness.

During this podcast, you’ll discover:

-Why you should value spiritual disciplines in the first place…6:40

  • Focusing only on physical health and wellness can be quite shallow
  • Spiritual exercise/discipline is just as real and vital as physical
  • Caring for our spirit is just as important, if not more so, than our body and brain
  • Attachment exercise from Awareness by Anthony De Mello
    • Think of something or someone to which you’re attached
    • Say, “I really do not need you to be happy; I can be happy without you”
  • Happiness is a state of non-illusion — the absence of an illusion

-How Ben has educated himself on spiritual disciplines…13:00

-Ben’s morning spiritual disciplines…19:27

  • Before getting out of bed, time w/ family, etc. read in bed (scriptures, aforementioned books) for 5-10 minutes
  • Enhancing meditation tips:
  • Spiritual disciplines can be “hacked” just like physical disciplines
  • MiCacao tea w/ Kion Coffee
  • Spend 10-15 minutes doing stretching and deep tissue work
  • Family gratitude practice


-Ben’s sauna practice…37:45

Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you
Turn me into the father and husband you would have for me to be
Into a man who will fulfill your great commission
And remove from me all judgment of others
Grant me your heavenly wisdom
Remove from me my worldly temptations
Teach me to listen to your still, small voice in the silence
And fill me with your peace, your love, and your joy. Amen

-How Ben manages stress during busy and intensive workdays…44:45

-End of day spiritual practices…47:28

  • Gather for family dinner (big factor for longevity in Blue Zones)
    • Meditation, activation of parasympathetic nervous system…
      • “I’m aware of my body
        I smile at my body
        I’m aware of my food
        I smile at my food
        I’m aware of my company
        I smile at my company”
    • Centering breaths
  • Games for family dinners
  • Finish up remaining business while family cleans up and gets ready for bed
    • You dwell on and dream about what you’ve dwelt on during the day
  • Family bedtime
  • Self-reflection journal

-Spiritual lovemaking…57:50

-Areas for improvement…1:09:00

  • Participating in local charitable causes
  • Share your gifts — make your service enjoyable
  • Strengthen connection w/ local church community

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Book: Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster

– Book: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

– Book: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele A. Calhoun

– Book: The Jesuits Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ

– Book: Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter by Philip Koch

– Book: A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor

– Book: Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton

– Book: The Simple Life by Charles Wagner

– Book: Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites by Lynne M. Baab

– Book: The Sacred Art of Fasting by Thomas Ryan, CSP

– Book: Awareness by Anthony De Mello

BGF podcast with Der. Andrew Weil

– Book: Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler

– Book: Healing and Recovery by David Hawkins

– Book: Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David Hawkins

– Book: The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about the spiritual disciplines? Leave your comments below and I’ll reply!

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