This month’s blog is inspired by a Quora question: “What are the spiritual benefits of having a Sauna?” David Drimmel graciously guest blogs a response.
Innovation is what has made humanity as civilized and advanced as we are today, and sauna therapy is one innovation that has withstood the test of time in the human experience. Not only are saunas shown to be beneficial for one’s health, saunas have been used in many cultures past for ceremonial purposes and spiritual practices of purging in the high heat environment. Being used in the Finnish culture for over 2,000 years, there are reasons these methods have withstood the test of time. From traditional wood burning, electric dry and infrared saunas, and steam saunas, there are a variety of methods for bathing in high heat. And though there are many benefits to one’s health, how does this contribute to spiritual growth? Let us explore the different ways using a sauna in one’s lifestyle can promote spiritual growth and how this plays a role in our current reality.
Let us begin by looking at what spiritual growth, or enlightenment, is from the perspective of the Angelic Assembly that oversees this development of our world.
“The idea of spiritual development must also be broadened because any activity that brings you into contact with Spirit—in other words, any activity that engages you with Knowledge—is, in essence, a spiritual practice and a form of spiritual development. Spiritual development has more to do with the motive than with the activity.” Living the Way of Knowledge – The Pillar of Spiritual Development
First, it’s important to consider that none of these ideas are definitive. It is based on an individual’s experience and their motive or intention. Though many of these activities may appear to be spiritual by their demonstration, they are only a potential for promoting spiritual growth within the individual. Something can be a spiritual activity or practice without promoting growth. The Angelic Assembly that oversees our world speaks of Knowledge as the deeper spiritual Intelligence that is present within all sentient beings in the universe. If spiritual development is to engage us more closely with this inner knowing, it could be said that even some practices that disengage us from this inner knowing would demote spiritual growth or keep this inner knowing dormant.
“Without an arena of expression, however, spiritual practices are like seeds that will not sprout, a crop that will not produce, an endeavor that will not yield its intended benefits. That is why when you speak of spirituality, speak of work in the world and of meaningful relationships, for this is where spirituality lives and expresses itself through the love and labor of people.” Relationships and Higher Purpose, Chapter 13: Maintaining Relationships
This brings up the three ways saunas, with the intention of spiritual practice, can promote spiritual growth.
1—Maintaining a high degree of health.
In order to successfully engage in meaningful work and relationships, we must maintain a high degree of health. Statistically it is known that saunas reduce chances of cardiac death in those over age 50 who use a sauna 5 times a week. If you are using a method like sauna bathing to maintain a high degree of health, it could be said that this is a form of spiritual practice, even as mundane as it is.
When we are healthy, we are free to engage with life and participate. It has been known for the length of our existence that health and vitality are valued for what they produce in the world. From a more practical point of view, saunas can be as simple as a daily activity like showering to maintain the body as a vehicle of expression in the world—a simple, yet necessary, part of life from the perspective of relationships and higher purpose.
“Develop a high degree of health. […] You are not here to work on a body. You are simply asked not to damage it so that you can accomplish something of importance here.” Wisdom from the Greater Community Volume I, Chapter 6: Health
Though one may be encouraged to develop a high degree of health, striving for this may be a form of personal intoxication. Therefore, using saunas may also be a form of escape and may not engage one with Knowledge. Many people develop their health for personal gain or to look good—not necessarily something to frown upon. However, is looking good a spiritual practice? According to the Angelic Assembly, it is not.
“You are concerned with survival, with being liked and with looking good. Looking good is also about survival because survival is not only being able to continue to breathe, but also gaining security and meaning through association with others. Here it can be said that there are only two things in life: there is Knowledge and there is looking good. Much of your thinking is to look good so you can offset your pain, guilt and anxiety. This makes you want to have your body look good so that it can be accepted by other minds in bodies who are engaged in the same activity.” Relationships & Higher Purpose, Chapter 2: Your Relationship with Yourself
2—Relaxation and Meditation
With all the rigors of the world and stress from daily life, saunas can be a place to retreat, relax, and allow the mind to be still. For example, certain infrared wavelengths from infrared saunas have a vasodilating effect on the body which activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is an environment for enjoyment, healing and relaxation. De-stressing is part of maintaining a high degree of health, as stress is the number one cause for disease and ultimately death. Perhaps a sauna can be a positive and important lifestyle choice for many because of how it makes them feel both physically and mentally. It is a relationship we must choose for ourselves, if it be right.
“Eat well. Get enough sleep. Have daily exercise. Engage with the right people. Follow what you know. And keep asking for Knowledge. If you engage with the wrong people, it will undermine your health and well-being and will bring you back into confusion and disorientation. Follow what is simple and understood. Perhaps you have said to yourself, ‘I know I shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘I know I should do that.’ Go do it. Do what you know. Why hesitate? What are you waiting for? Do not wait until a crisis occurs. Do not wait until a little problem has become a big problem. There is much you know already that you need to do to maintain your body and to have greater health mentally. Do those things. Do not ask for more. For you cannot use more until you use what you have today.” Living The Way of Knowledge, Chapter 4: The Pillar of Health
3—Innovation and Expression
Innovation is something that has made our lives easier and more enjoyable, improving the quality of life and allowing people to live longer, prosper and have time to consider and express more deeply. Saunas have been innovating for hundreds of years, thus making them more accessible and even more beneficial for those who implement sauna bathing into their lifestyle. This kind of practice, which promotes health and healing in many ways, can then be demonstrated in the arts such as dance, music, painting, poetry and athletics. Any activity that can promote freedom of expression in any form can be a spiritual practice and can promote spiritual growth and even ignite dormant Knowledge within individuals who participate.
“There is a Greater Force in the universe that promotes innovation, promotes reform, promotes advancement, promotes creativity and promotes the freedom to make all of these activities possible.” Life in the Universe, Chapter 11: Unseen Forces in the Universe
Coda: Do saunas help my purpose for being in the world?
This question really gets to the heart of this blog. Are saunas the cause of spiritual growth if used in a spiritual practice? The simple answer would be no, as what truly engages us with this is our participation and allowing a space for this inner knowing to emerge and become a light unto the world. From a more detailed point of view, everything we are in relationship with is either helping us or hindering us on our paths to enlightenment. And if we truly seek to participate and experience our greater purpose in the world, then saunas may be a tool to help one maintain one’s health while journeying in the physical universe and reclaiming their spiritual heritage.
“Every person that has come into the world has come for a greater purpose, on a mission sent from God. This purpose and mission are kept sacred within a deeper Intelligence within each person, an Intelligence called Knowledge.” New Message on Fulfillment (August 24, 2007)
[All citations are the writings of Marshall Vian Summers.]