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COMMENTARY: Not four but one

By Chaplain (Capt.) Meade Adams 2nd Bomb Wing Chapel

Flexibility. Balance. Harmony. These principles represent a big part of this idea of comprehensive fitness. We focus on the four elements of comprehensive fitness in the Air Force: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. I think, however, sometimes we tend to compartmentalize these components. We focus on the physical, and then on the mental, and when we have an emotional breakdown we focus on the emotional and the last thing on our minds is usually the spiritual. I would like to propose a new understanding. All of these components must be held TOGETHER in harmony. They are not four separate components, but rather one tree with four separate branches. There is an interconnectivity that cannot be separated. The physical affects the mental and emotional, and the mental affects the physical and emotional, and the emotional affects the physical and the mental and the spiritual affects them all.

To say the spiritual affects them is not to say that one must believe in God or a higher power. It does mean that if one is not regularly coming into contact with something bigger than themselves it will negatively affect their overall health. All one needs to do is to walk outside at night and look up at the stars and consider the vastness of the universe, or visit a beach and observe the vastness of the ocean, or pick up a globe and reflect on how we’re but a small speck in the larger picture. There will be a sense of wonder. That is spiritual.

Conversely, if one is not attuned to what is going on within one’s self, there will be no physical, emotional and mental congruity. All of these components are interconnected. I challenge us this week to take a more holistic approach to life. Seek to harmonize all of these aspects to produce one whole, healthy self.