Answer this question truthfully…
Are you ignoring your body?
In our society, the vast majority of people live exclusively in their head (yes, even workout junkies). And a small percentage falls into the trap of what I call spiritual escapism, living in the clouds. Both are delusional.
The key – to unlocking our potential and living a fulfilling life – is THE BODY.
The body is not something to be ignored. It’s not something to be neglected. It’s not something to be demonized. And it’s definitely not something to be viewed as an impediment to spiritual growth. In fact, the exact opposite is the case.
The body is the portal to spiritual growth.
“Transformation is through the body, not away from it.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)
The most spiritual, transformational thing you can do is to be FULLY PRESENT. I’ll repeat that again. The most spiritual, transformational thing you can do is to be fully present.
Everyone is looking to escape the negative aspects of reality, including you and I. If you’re denying this, that’s part of your escapist self-deceit. And people try to escape in different ways; drug/alcohol abuse, television, work, social media, addiction to spiritual practices, externalizing power to authority figures instead of looking within…etc. Basically, most people will do anything to distract themselves from… well… themselves, and their raw emotions.
But no forms of escapism work… They just mask a problem and let it fester in the shadows. That’s when things get really ugly, and we see it reflected on the macro level in the world.
Here’s the hard truth: The only way out is through.
The best way to solve any problem, or realize that the problem doesn’t really exist, is to face it head on. Yes, this reality can be extremely challenging. But it only gets worse if you try to ignore or avoid it.
However, everything gets transmuted once you dive fully into reality, into the present moment. And that is done through the body.
With myself and many others, I’ve noticed that physical health is what tends to first open people up to who they really are. It’s the “first domino” that catalyzes spiritual growth, self-awareness, empowerment and all that “good” stuff.
After realizing this, I started looking into why this is the case. And here’s what I found…
5 Reasons Why Your Body Is The Portal To Spiritual Growth
With a healthy body, everything else falls into place.
You can think more clearly and creatively. You also become a better conduit for ideas and intuition. Everything regarding cognitive function and perception becomes heightened when you’re healthy.
Another byproduct of health is being vibrant and full of energy. When someone is healthy, you can see that sparkle of life in their eyes. When someone is really unhealthy, they have that vacant look. This is a huge indicator, because you can literally see that some people are embodying their divinity.
Health is also the practice of self-love and self-care, which obviously has spiritual implications. It’s taking care of your temple and allowing the presence of the divine (or whatever you want to call it) to come through.
So what are the basics of health? It’s really simple when you boil it down. Eat real (natural) food and move your body. If you do that, you’re at least 80% there.
2. Getting Out of Your Head
Being in your body gets you out of your head. And that’s a big deal in today’s society.
Most people are trapped in their head and slaves to their mind/ego. The mind makes a beautiful servant but a terrible master. And the mind is a risk calculator, meaning if you’re trapped in it, you’re going to be calculating risks 24/7.
Our minds are hardwired to detect threats, because that’s what has kept us alive for millions of years. But we no longer have to deal with saber tooth tigers, so 99.9% of fears are purely psychological/abstract and not based in real danger at all.
But, in general, we let this risk calculator run the show. This is why the vast majority of people live in a state of perpetual fear.
Most people spend their whole lives thinking about the past or future and COMPLETELY MISSING THE PRESENT MOMENT. Actually acknowledging, feeling and experiencing your body changes this.
Being more in your body helps you to be present.
You get out of your head, and in the present moment. This point is so important that entire books are written on it (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh…etc.)
When performing a difficult exercise for example, it’s hard (and even dangerous) to be thinking about the past or future. This is why exercising can help you cultivate a practice of presence.
On the other side of the spectrum, many types of meditation involve body awareness and body scanning. This fosters a state of presence.
There’s also mindful eating. The practice of mindful eating means simply being completely present while eating.
First of all, you’re aware of what you put into your body. Most people mindlessly shove food down their gullet, then wonder why their health/performance is sub-par. And another aspect of mindful eating is being fully present and undistracted when eating. This means fully experiencing the taste, smell, texture of food and noticing how it feels when being digested. Practicing this not only allows you to enjoy food more, but hones the ability to feel what is beneficial or detrimental to your body.
And when you’r body is healthy, the clarity and clearheadedness that naturally arise make it far easier to be present (as well as the absence of pain/discomfort).
4. Being In Tune
I hinted at this while discussing mindful eating. Being healthy helps you get more in tune with your body.
And it’s not only with eating. It helps you get in tune with intuition, feelings and emotions. Again, good health allows for all kinds of clarity and the healthy flow of energy. Plus, there are the benefits of getting out of your head and being present.
All of this results in being very in tune with the subtleties of life. There’s nothing woo-woo about it. When you’re healthy, your awareness is heightened.
5. Holistic Expansion
True expansion, true authenticity and true health, is holistic.
You cannot ignore an aspect of self and think it won’t have side effects. We see the neglect of the body in many religions, which obviously doesn’t work out well (where guilt, shame and all kinds of perversions run rampant).
On the other hand, we see the neglect of the emotional and spiritual aspects of self in modern western society, and it doesn’t take a genius to see all major “systems” need to change.
We need to embrace all aspects of ourselves. And love it all.
The more grounded you are, the more connected you are to everything. Being fully embodied is a way of embracing wholeness.
I mean, there’s a reason why “spirit” (or whatever your term is for God/Source) is choosing to express itself physically, right? If not, we wouldn’t be here. Even if it were some big cosmic joke, we’re here now, in human form. So start with being present and fully conscious in this experience.
It also doesn’t stop at the body. The body is an aspect of self, not your entire self. It’s a portal to your true self, not the totality of your true self. Again, embrace all aspects of self.
Becoming Spirit Embodied
So how do we get more into our body?
It’s very simple; engaging in daily practices that benefit the body. Here are some ideas:
- Getting out in nature
- Going to the beach (where you get all four elements at once – sun, air, earth, water)
- Putting your bare feet on the Earth (aka grounding/earthing)
- Any form of exercise
- Any form of martial arts
- Eating healthy (and mindfully)
- Taking a walk outside
- Simply being present
- Fully experiencing your senses
- Meditating on how each part of your body feels
- Breathing exercises
- Cold water exposure (cold showers)
- Conscious sex
Love your body. Cultivate health. Embrace all aspects of self.
– Stevie P!