Well, are we all ready for a work out? Great! But first let’s sit down and talk about some other things –like, why bother? As I write, books shelves already sag under the weight of health, diet exorcise and nutrition oriented publications. So It would be redundant, to say the least for me to add to their weight. Instead I’ d like to focus on the, “why bother” aspect of good health practices. To begin, the benefits are obvious. A healthy body feels better –it’s a nicer home to live in. And it costs less to maintain –well, that may depend on your monthly outlay for vitamins, nutrition supplements, organic, free range noodles and new books about all the reasons you are absorbing the extra costs of your “healthy” lifestyle.
But consider the whole subject from a slightly different angle. What if you did not have a body? What is the value of a body, even a pudgy one that can’t do more than one push up –the sloppy, wiggle worm kind that us weaklings perform…
Consider the precious human body. You live inside of it and if it is weak or injured your are by some degree limited in your range of activity. You may not be able go for a hike or even a short walk around the block. You may not be able to go to the grocery store without help. How frustrating for those of us who have enjoyed the mobility of a healthy body to suddenly find ourselves in the position of someone like our Super Man, movie idol, Christopher Reeves. I shudder to think how bitter the experience of no longer being able to scratch my own nose.
But it can get worse. Self, the individuated expression of consciousness depends upon the body to interact with the world and other people. Notice right now how you seem to sit behind your eyes. And in the act of expressing ourselves you may be able to feel the way that the intention to speak and think is an energy marshaled in the chest and pushed forward by and in combination with your head. In a peculiar vision like experience, I knew as it had never occurred to me that I needed a head and eyes to provide traction and a platform to project my thoughts as words and a myriad of subtle expressions into this world to interact with this world inhabited by other living people. Think of the experience we are told that a ghostly form has –it tries to talk to the living and touch the world it has left behind. But the living cannot feel of hear it. It makes you wonder if being a ghost would be more frightening than encountering one!
Without dragging you thorough a lengthy explanation of how and why –I’ll simply relate that events conspired in such a way that I was outside my shell and falling. I was conscious but unable to relate to others. I say I was falling because with nothing to support me –no body –what else could be expected? Having no body means having no sense organs no arms legs or torso to support me. Those who have had this kind of vision will tell you that “visions are often loaded with important information. I am relating one of them to you know –so know it for what it was and take it for what you believe it is worth. My “vision” of not having a body was an extremely unpleasant experience. So –seen in reverse –it is apparent to me that having a body and keeping it healthy is worth everything!
Knowing that we all die and face the difficult side of what I am describing places us in a classic Catch 22 –a double bind. My theory is this. A strong spirit is a directed spirit.. Why I experienced that fall into the abyss relates to my emotional condition at the time. Let it be enough to say –at that particular time my spirit was neither strong nor directed.
So what does all this have to do with the topic of health? At least one aspect of your physical health is the opportunity it provides to strengthen and direct our spirit. To the point that until you have developed spiritual strength and clarity –it would be very wise to keep you body in good condition –you should plan on staying alive at lease long enough to orient your eternal self –the unique, spiritual point of reference that you are.
Some spiritual traditions speak of the precious human body –as being precious because it is suspected to be the one vehicle that affords us the opportunity to wake up –to become enlightened. The idea is that the human body is that rarest of vehicles, which spans the physical and non physical worlds –the body itself is tangible and it is the home of individual, intangible consciousness –the non physical from which flows our raison d’ etre. That’s French for, “why the hell bother?”
Coming back to where we started –a healthy body makes a more comfortable home whether we are young or old –healthy people enjoy better attitudes and more vigor to apply to life as it flows from us and all around us. As we get older a person who has made the effort to stay strong and flexible will be very glad they did. But then you already read “Ten Good Reasons to Stay Fit after Fifty” in ten different magazine articles.
Summing up. We stay healthy to feel good and enjoy our life experience. We want to stay healthy to be capable of service to others in all the ways that others may need or even just enjoy our help and companionship. We want to stay healthy because it feels so good to be useful and actively engaged in the world. And we want to stay healthy to maximize the time available to strengthen and fine tune those inner forces we call spirit –our eternal selves.
Some tell us that this world –this life were are experiencing is all there is –that at the time of our death all that we are is extinguished. Though I personally do not believe this is true –be aware that the best I can say is that I do not believe it. The important point would be that it really does not matter what anyone believes about what we will all experience, (or not), at the moment of our death.
Until then to feel good –to be strong enough to actively participate with the people we know and love is enough. To be able to engage in the widest possible range of possibilities with all those having this same experience –this is enough. To be healthy enough to take advantage of all the opportunities to learn, grow, help and enjoy our lives –these obvious, unambiguous examples are all the reasons we should need to be encouraged to build physical strength –to maintain healthy bodies and minds.
So for these reasons and more that none of us know for certain… yet –I wish you Good Health!!
Tom Carroll has offered these words to guide, instruct and bring comfort as you grow in love and service.
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