When a person gets too old to set a bad example, she or he usually starts giving good advice. Observing fast when one is suffering from severe indigestion does not qualify as ritual abstinence from food, does it? Let us stop such practices of making a virtue out of necessity. Let us first walk our talk before we ask others to walk our talk.
I love being body-oriented. How can I be soul-oriented? Is one’s body opposed to one’s soul? True spirituality is based on balance. It is similar to a physical exercise regimen based on the balanced development of all parts of the body. A soul with a body is a body but not otherwise. Both the content and the container are important. We have to value our body even as we take care not to identify our whole being with our body. The body is like a door. It provides the passage for us to enter the soul’s seat, the sanctum sanctorum deep within. At the same time, stopping at the body is like stopping at the entrance to a house of worship. Some people, in the name of religion, hold the body in low esteem. It is like devaluing the entrance to a temple. If you understand the need for this balance, your inner being will guide you to higher reaches of harmony and proportion.
What does it mean to say, “Value your body?”
First, appreciate the miracle of the body. What a wonderful creation it is! As physiologists uncover more and more secrets of the body, they keep marveling more and more at its intricacies. Each part of our body is mysteriously forged in the furnace of nature. It is a masterpiece of design engineering and aesthetics. The works of Picasso or Michael Angelo couldn’t come anywhere near the human body in its subtlety or delicateness of detail. Not respecting the value of this miracle is devaluing the mastery of the master craftsman who conceived of it. When you see this body as a marvel, you cannot bring yourself to abuse it. Being indifferent to the body is disrespecting the body.
The greatest sickness is being indifferent. Indifference to our body is as ridiculous as indifference to our near and dear ones as illustrated in the following.
Sharma’s wife came across her obituary in the newspaper. She was shocked. She waited for her husband’s phone call, which never came. At last, out of desperation, she called him. “Did you read today’s newspaper, dear? It says I am dead.” “Yes, I read in the newspaper that you are dead,” the husband replied. “Then why did you not call me to find out? screamed the wife.
“But hey, where are you calling from, heaven or hell?” asked the husband.
Such indifference demeans us and our human nature. Remove this virus from your attitude to your body.
Why do I feel so lethargic?
You have probably not experienced the joy of exercising. There is joy hidden in the body. Doing yoga, practicing deep breathing, and engaging in regular physical activities would release energies lying dormant in your body. More than the body it is your mind that says, “I am tired.” Concentrate on overcoming that negativity in your mind. Work on such a negative mind.
Reflect on this.
Varma was feeling out of sorts, so he called his doctor and asked him to come over. He felt he couldn’t get out of his bed. The doctor rushed to Varma’s house. The doctor took one look at the patient and fell to the floor with a thud. Varma thought the doctor had got a heart attack. He jumped out of bed, ran to get some water, and called for an ambulance. The doctor got up after a while, took his bag, and demanded Rs. 200 as his fee. Varma screamed at the doctor, “I have been taking care of you for the past half an hour, and now you want me to pay you!”
The doctor said It’s because of me that you got out of your bed, isn’t it?. My charges are for making you get up from your sickbed. “Where did Varma’s energy come from? Most of us are psychologically ill, rather than physically unwell. It is true that when someone else’s problems overwhelm us, we forget our difficulties. Engage yourself with others’ problems, and you will learn to take your problems lightly. A Christian pastor I know recommends a hospital visit as an effective antidote to self-pity. When you see the extremes of suffering being experienced by several others, you will thank God for letting you off so lightly.
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