Ever since my cancer remission, what has become my new body has begun to assert itself as having a problem with…well the easiest way to say it is: my new body has a problem with ME! More specifically, it has a problem with my mind insofar as my mind, as my body has determined, is not aligned with its (my body’s) need for me (my mind) to treat it with respect, appreciation, dignity…you know, the whole temple of the living God thing.
My new body doesn’t like what I try to feed it, for instance. Nothing in my old cookbook or playbook works for it now. While I am delighted to have achieved a healing that has resulted in a new body that is more resilient, energetic, and alive, I am struggling to adjust to having what has become an awakened companion that is also trying to awaken my mind to its presence.
I remember when my previous wife, Nan, became a vegetarian. She suddenly stopped cooking all of the things I loved to eat ( I am a meat and potatoes guy, you know, comfort food). I felt like I lost a best friend. There was no warning or announcement. It just happened, just like what is happening with my new body right now. It wants to go to bed early now, where before we stayed up late, and it wants to poop after every meal. And, as you might have guessed, it wakes me up very early, too early, before people have had a chance to update their Facebook status. What’s up with that?!
To be clear, I could very easily whip my body into shape, get it back on track, force it into submission, or otherwise restore the previous operating system, but that seems like defeating the whole purpose of getting a new body.
I remember when I decided to lose weight. This is a picture of me in 2008 just before my position as Assistant Vice President of Integral Operations at Unity Worldwide Ministries was eliminated. Rather than getting depressed and upset over the circumstances of my employment, I made the conscious choice to focus on getting healthy and to lose the weight that was contributing to a number of health issues. I went from about 240 to 155 pounds in six months and got off all my meds. A year later, I gained half of the weight back. I later realized that it was my old mind that caused me to regain the weight. My new body at that time had insufficient awareness to assert itself like it has now. My cancer got me down to 127 pounds, and now my new body is a solid 143 lbs.
So, yes, I am suggesting that our bodies can become conscious partners in our spiritual journey. And, until we attain a level of appreciation, respect, and the willingness to listen, it is difficult if not impossible to view our bodies in any other way than as something we HAVE rather than as the temple of the living God. This may not be news to anyone else, but it is news to me insofar as I now need to pay attention to what it needs and wants. Not to do so would be to subject my new body to the tyranny of my old mind.
It could be said that the purpose behind acquiring a new body is that it becomes the evolutionary driver toward a more mature and awakened mind. Yes, my body wants a new mind. Not that my old mind had any ill will regarding how it treated my body. It’s just that my old mind’s beliefs, habits, addictions, preferences, and reflexes didn’t necessarily have my body’s best interests in mind (pardon the pun).
Could our heartburn, upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, fatigue, ED, migraines, allergies and everything else they advertise during the evening news be our bodies trying to get our attention? If we have issues with our body or health, it is likely on some level, our body is trying to get our attention and partner with us. Our bodies will literally die for us if that is how far we need to go to in order to discover our true worth and purpose. We don’t need a new body to discover our worth or purpose, but we may likely need a new mind to do so.
Part of the problem is that our health and healing efforts are often entangled in the competing imperatives of medical care and the treatment of diseases. The western or allopathic approach which influences how we relate to, treat, and understand our bodies reinforces the sense that “the body” is one thing and “the mind” is something else. While the homeopathic, alternative, or holistic approach asserts that there is nowhere where the mind leaves off and the body begins, it’s best to consider our corporeal nature and our mind as two poles of a single continuum.
Oh, I forgot to mention that next month I get new eyes. Now that my deductible is maxed out, I thought I might as well get some upgrades while my health insurance covers everything. I’m wondering, though, if my new eyes will have a similar problem as my new body. Will my new eyes be received by a mind capable of perceiving a more bright and expansive vista? Or will my new eyes be bound to a myopic mind that continues to gather evidence to confirm its sense of not enough?
If it’s true that our bodies are print-outs of our subconscious mind and that, when subjected to a mind that is indifferent to or unaware of the body’s efforts to get our attention, we need to move quickly into the recognition that our bodies are partners in our spiritual journey.
When I mentioned to my congregation that my new body was having a problem with my mind, I realized that many people are in a struggle just to coexist with their body much less see it as an agent of transformation. I believe that there is virtue and empowerment in honoring our earthly vehicle, not only as the temple of the living God, but most importantly, as our willing partner when we are ready to embrace its wisdom and purpose.