Our first concern must be for our own wellbeing, surely? How can we be of any use to the outside world unless we take good care of ourselves? It is impossible to love someone else if we do not love ourselves first. Every aspect of life becomes more enhanced when we nurture our personal landscape. Tending to this garden, watering it and feeding it is the most important work in any one’s lifetime. We inherited a generous planet with such bounty, so it becomes incumbent on us to respond as Earthly citizens and add a part of ourselves to this vast and fragile miracle.
In drawing a picture of this personal landscape the idea of a circle divided into four quadrants is the most tried and tested image. Imagine where the two lines intersect at the centre there is another circle, solid and red. The bull’s eye. This represents your Soul, your inner core. The place where your attitudes are shaped. The circle can be divided into a top half, representing those higher aspects of your being and the bottom half symbolising lower characteristics. The two hemispheres can also be divided into left and right segments, representative of the left and right functions of the brain.
The top left hand quadrant therefore concerns itself with the development of the mind. In developmental and human terms the mind sits above the body. The mind’s growth goes beyond the sharpening of our reasoning and creative capabilities, it goes to how we think. By developing useful mechanics and by tapping into our subconscious we shape our thinking. By finding true happiness and the deeper meanings our minds take us on inner journeys of self-discovery.
The bottom left quadrant gives expression to our physical development. Fitness and health is our concern. The body’s strength and endurance give us our wellbeing. All this is bounded into a supple whole. It is a given that one should eat correctly and should exercise, volumes have been written on diet and training. This quadrant gives us space for regular maintenance and check-ups too.
As we visit the top left hand quadrant it is the metaphysical qualities of spiritual development that are our concern. Prayer, reflection and meditation are the obvious. Selfless and secret acts of goodwill make us Pilgrims.
The final quadrant, below spiritual development and to the right of physical growth lies the expansion of our emotional wellbeing. Robert Plutchick’s wheel of feelings is one way of explaining the tempest that simmers beneath our composure. We feel loss, stages mapped out from our own denial and anger to the safe harbour of acceptance. The development of our emotions sets us apart from all other Earthly life and makes us human.
Thus is the landscape of our person with the Soul at the very centre. Mind and Spirit above, Body and Emotion below. Each quadrant is just as important as the next, each has a place at the round table and no one who presides at the head. All are equal.