A friend teases me by randomly noting, “I have a body and you have a body.” Call us young at heart, but we find that this obvious observation never fails to amuse us.
What is so entertaining about bodies? At one level having a body is mundane. Most of our friends have bodies, too! At another level, realizing the absurdity of our physicality is an aspect of accepting our humanity. To me, though, what is funny about noticing that we have bodies is that, once we know that we have a body, we must decide what we want to do with it. And, maintaining a body in good repair requires a healthy dose of care and feeding!
Spirit, our essential being, and body, our physical presence, represent two ends of a dichotomy. We (our spiritual selves) must decide how to relate to our bodies. Some popular options include dictating how we want the body to be (this option is filled with ‘shoulds’ underlain by punishment), pretending not to have a body (demonstrated by those who claim to have no needs, but have many), playing victim to the body (“My body made me do it!”), and cultivating a relationship with the body (satisfying when we are brave enough to choose it!).
The dichotomy is clear: Spirit is essentially creative, while body is reactive. Sometimes spiritual seekers claim that because the nature of the body is to sense its surroundings and to monitor, record, and react to the input it is sensing, that not only does the body not provide a primary motivation for action, but also that the body-level input—because it is not originative—is insignificant. This point of view begs us to answer why having a body, and relating to it, is important to spiritual development.
The gift of the body is boundless: It offers us the time and space to explore various experiences that deepen our understanding of spirit (ourselves), which, then, allows us to cultivate greater awareness regarding the values we choose to validate. The gift of the body is the gift of one distinct and powerful pathway for spiritual growth.
Some qualities of spirit are grace, gentleness, kindness, and love—all of which can be considered to be relational qualities. When we apply the expression of these qualities to our relationship to our body, we allow our body to register how it feels to be supported by spirit. Sensing spiritual support at a physical level in turn enables us to open more fully to accepting the greater spiritual support that is available to us at all levels.
Should we choose to accept it, our charge as beings is to receive the gift of the body, and to invoke our creative talents to honor and appreciate what has been given to us, in both body and spirit. At the end of the day, the more we cultivate a loving, supportive relationship with our body, the less dichotomous our spiritual self and our physical expression become.
Written by Heidi Szycher, a staff member at the Boulder Psychic Institute. Check out her personal site at healings.biz.
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