What is spiritual weight lifting?

Clark Mumaw
5 min readApr 10


We all understand physical exercise builds a stronger body. Many people have dedicated much research to define the exact exercises to receive the maximum gains.

Not nearly so well under stood are the inner exercises needed to build a stronger spiritual body.

The first thing to understand is that your emotional challenges in life are these spiritual exercises. Most people spend great amounts of time avoiding emotional & relationship challenges. And the worse they spend most of their time seeing everyone else as the problem rather than exploring what part of them contributed to the problem.

Saying other people are the problem is equivalent to not doing the exercise. Thinking that I have no problem is equivalent to NOT doing the work needed to strengthen your spiritual muscles.

One of the best starting points to all inner exercise, is to think it takes 2 to tango. In other words, if I am present then there is something for me to learn about myself.

Do not deceive yourself into thinking that this is easy or simple to do. Like all exercise it takes time. And if you won’t take the time to do it you won’t achieve any results.

Do not confuse spiritual weightlifting with learning and understanding. Learning and understanding are valuable but by themselves they do not make a new spiritual muscles. A lot of learning and understanding is academic not experiential. Now learning about your self and self understanding that comes from experiences is spiritual weightlifting. The primary difference here being that one type of learning/understanding comes from the outside and one comes from the inside.

The easiest way to clarify this is, reading a book or attending a talk is rarely spiritual weight lifting. Unless it inspires you to have an experience. Or gives you an experience with healing energies.

Healing? Most healing is closer to spiritual weightlifting than are academics. Especially healing that comes from some type of experience.

Reading about someone else's learning and experiences from having a stroke is not the same thing as having the stroke. Now this is obvious. My point is that having the stroke and experiencing healing of the stroke is the spiritual weightlifting. Because do you have a direct experience of the event and the direct experience of the Healing. The learnings and understanding is that come from this experience is inner work. It is direct.

Healing experiences take place in the body/mind & spirit. A stroke would be the body. Becoming comfortable being out in public after a stroke and dealing with peoples reactions your obvious disability is the mind a part of healing. The stroke event itself and any healing after it are the spiritual parts. The spiritual parts are the challenges we deal with. Sometimes emotional sometimes not.

The gains made from dealing with the challenges can only be claimed if you do the work yourself.

I am aware I have not yet defined any exact spiritual exercises for you. That is because I do not have any from direct experience with them. The majority of my own spiritual growth has come through the life events and challenges I have experienced.

If you are looking for exact spiritual exercises, I recommend examining the Indian tradition of meditation and the exact exercises they use. Actually I recommend any tradition that can give you a way to duplicate the exercises past Masters have used.

There are many different types of meditation exercises. Some people use psychotropic chemicals as a shortcut to spiritual experiences. Because I have no direct experience with them, I will not talk about them.

Another big part of my own spiritual weight lifting exercises consisted of healing my responses to events. In brief, this consisted of observe, inhibit create a new behavior.

Here is my primary example of this. Due to my computer work I was often called upon to fix emergency events. Failed hardware, unresponsive software, corrupted files, and lost data. Sometimes these emergencies belong to a customer sometimes they belong to the company I work for.

The emergency would happen and I would start to panic like everyone else around me. I got to observe myself panicking and the chemical response that happened on me that was out of control. Losing my calm demeanor was a big motivator in learning how to stay calm.

After observing my panic, the next thing I had to learn was how to inhibit my panic. Most people seem to do this through breath observation. I think I learned this through being the one responsible/expected to fix the problem.

In the middle of a panic my mind and logical thought process was useless. No it was worse than that, my mind was completely off-line and non-functioning during a panic. I needed my mind and logic to diagnosis and problem solve.

I learned to jump in and start collecting data. I realize now that this data collection allowed me to stay in the state of now. “Now” kept me out of fear and emotions. The state of now is what allowed me to inhibit my inclination towards panic. I just wanted to be left alone to observe and collect data. Once I had enough data, I could develop a plan of action to fix the problem.

Action was the last step of the observe, inhibit and choose a behavior. For me the hardest part was staying out of panic and inhibiting that emotional chemical rush. It was a matter of years to learn this without guidance from other people.

Mistake and misstep were the normal frustrations without guidance. If I had had guidance I probably would've rejected it anyway. I was always the one that needed to find my own solution. Nothing else was sustainable or replicatable.

Your biggest problem/lesson maybe learning to observe, stay conscious or choosing a plan of action instead of learning to inhibit a reaction. But for me my spiritual weightlifting was focused on in inhibiting my panic.

In summary, we have many failed responses to life events. Spiritual weightlifting consists of coming up with better responses. Learning to be a better fit with the events we are experiencing. Eastern spirituality might consider this being more like water. Western academics would probably call this staying within a dynamic system. Christianity comes closest to this when it talks about being nonjudgemental. New age and new thought spirituality most likely calls this staying in the now.

These are all different ways of understanding the same concept I'm trying to explain here.

Being fluid, being dynamic, staying in the now and avoiding judgements are all core exercises to spiritual weightlifting.

I'll leave it to each person to discover what specific exercises work for them because we are all different.



Clark Mumaw

ex-computer networking technician, post stroke survivor, metaphysical explorer, philosopher, interested in human psychology and spirituality