Body, Mind, and Spirit – The Trivium Method and True Meaning of Spirit

Maximizing human potential rests on three successive foundations; Body, Mind, and Spirit.

The first two are fairly well understood. The body requires proper care; good nutrition, exercise, rest and cleanliness. The mind requires exercise, too, and it helps to have a systematic approach to learning. The best method I have heard to date is the modern re-working of an old system into a method for learning any subject. Its modern proponents call it the “trivium method” and it relates to the classic subjects of the trivium; grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The grammar phase involves collecting the data; basically gathering the nouns, verbs and adjectives of the subject at hand. The logic phase involves elimination of contradictions to arrive at some level certainty. The final rhetoric phase involves being able to effectively communicate the idea to another mind.

The mind rests on the foundation of the body. There is no mind without a functioning body. Spirit also rests on the previous two foundations. A functioning body and a functional mind is required for the third part of the actualized human being… the spirit.

The spirit level is the least understood and most nebulous foundation of human potential because it is shrouded in mysticism and wishful thinking. Some consider spirit to be part of (or the same thing as) the soul. The idea of an immortal human soul is a mystical idea that really depends on wishful thinking. This wishful thinking is virtually universal in human culture. When I write about spirit, though, I am not talking about anything mystical. I am simply talking about intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is an animating force that drives people, spurs them into action and gives them joy. It comes from within. When a human being is working toward a goal consistent with intrinsic motivation they tend to forget about fatigue and hunger… they get into “the zone” — concentrating intently on their goal. They also have a lot of fun and feel refreshed in the process. Working in “the zone” is not drudgery … it’s a calling.

I feel that I am operating only on the first two levels because I can’t remember the last time I was “in the zone” and I want to rediscover that … to be inSPIRed is to be SPIRited.