As we began to explore last week, Pathwalking is about more than just the mind and spirit. The body cannot be ignored.
This week I am going to focus on my approach to improving the body temple as an equal part of the mind/body/spirit trinity. The four aspects I am focusing on in order to better treat my body in regards to Pathwalking are Diet, Exercise, Meditation and Sleep.
Diet. For me, this is not about restricting certain foods or any crash course idea like Atkins or Nutrisystem. Diet is about what I am putting into my body, and how much is involved. To wit, many years ago I was reading the label on the back of a can of soda. Realizing just what was in this, I decided I did not want to be putting this into my body. Over time I started to avoid artificial sweeteners, most fast food, and most other chemical-heavy massively preserved things. If my body is a temple, then I need to treat it with respect. That means that I should be mindful of what goes into it.
This can be a difficult process. When you are busy running from point a to point b and juggling work, family, a social life…sometimes fast food or the vending machine is the answer. The key is moderation. I am pretty sure that once-in-a-while is not the issue. If lunch is a bag of chips and a soda; and dinner is fast food and more soda; and snacks are regularly candy bars….the body gets flabby, overall health is neglected, and this is where the problem lies.
Like all things Pathwalking, this is about choice. Don’t just put food into your body – choose that food wisely. It makes a pretty big difference along the way.
Exercise. For some people this is a chore. But I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the gym and used the elliptical machine or lifted weights or used a stationary bike or treadmill and come away feeling better. Yes, there is that burn from the weights on the muscles, the heavy breathing and strain of a good cardio workout, but the reward is clarity. Your heart pumps better and more efficiently, your muscles strain less to do what they do, and the mind is able to work more easily, more clearly.
The problem with this, often, is finding and making the time for it. Again, when you have a busy schedule to juggle, worshiping the body at the gym or taking a walk or going for a swim can feel overwhelming. But remembering the reward that comes of this can inspire me to make it happen. Another choice to be made.
Meditation. This is a process that I consider part of the program for the body. Our modern society is instantly connected all day, every day. We are in need of stillness, to better prioritize our actions, to examine our plans, to still be awake but give all the thoughts a chance to run around unimpeded, without deadline or a place to be or a job to do. Whether it’s a minute or two or longer, I believe meditation is not just for the mind and spirit, but the body needs this too.
Taking the time to meditate can begin to feel like a hassle, like yet another thing you just have to do. But I find, when I DO pause to meditate, I come away with added clarity, and a reset more powerful than any nap.
Sleep. Last, but not least, the body needs rest. This is different for everyone. Some people need at least eight hours of rest to function. Some of us need less, some need more. However, ignoring sleep is not healthy. Rest is required, and for some of us does not come easily. However, when you mind the diet, exercise and meditate – sleep becomes an easier task.
My issue with sleep is twofold. First, I seldom sleep more than six to seven hours a night, and find I almost never fall asleep instantly, it can take twenty minutes or so. Second, my brain is not fond of shutting off. I find when I am doing better with my diet and exercise and meditation this improves, but nevertheless it is something that does not come easily to me. And despite my personal issues with sleep, I am still a fan of the practice and getting necessary rest.
I can easily go into greater depth on these topics, but I think for now simply bringing to mind the need to attend to the body in the process of Pathwalking is sufficient. Furthermore, what I need to do for MY body may be vastly different from your needs. But having a plan in place is the first step. The second, of course, is carrying out the action.
This is very much a work on progress. I consider this, in fact, a new direction with regards to Pathwalking. If, as I postulate with all of this, consciousness creates reality, than that applies to ALL of reality. Ergo, the body cannot be ignored.
Pathwalking is choice, and I want to choose not only to control my thoughts and emotions, but my body and its health. All of these make me one. All of these make me whole, and being whole makes me happy. Isn’t that the primary point of it all?
This is the seventy-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.