Originally Posted by Found Goat
Being an innate introvert, a mind-dweller, for too many years Iíd neglected my physical container. Iíve never been overweight but I have been out of shape in the energetic sense, what with my interests and hobbies tending to be sedentary activities. Iím now middle-aged, and for about the past ten years Iíve made it an effort to be more physically active, on a daily or at the very least a weekly basis.
The secular stereotype of the spiritual soul is often one of bodily inertia Ė of a motionless yogin, meditator, or navel-gazer. These pastimes have their place, but for me only in accord with a moderate and balanced lifestyle.
If spirituality is about self-improvement, then one of the greatest teachings Iíve ever learned was from my studies of the works of a psychologist: the late Alexander Lowen. This highly insightful and eloquent author taught that a part of being self-aware or fully conscious is in the realization that the spiritual and psychologically healthy person is one who is grounded, first and foremost, to the earth, and fully connected to his body (i.e. self).
Some seek to transcend the body via mental practices alone and think this wisdom, while others lead repressed, inhibited lives on account of their, over time, having consciously or unwittingly suppressed all feeling within themselves.
Excerise makes a person feel ... good.
I speak from experience. After Iíve returned from one of my brisk walks (of about five miles), I feel renewed and invigorated and would not trade this simple pleasure and feeling for an OBE or any other mystical experience.
In this sense, many people are spiritual perhaps even without their realizing it, if they are at the very least into eating well and moderate regimens. They need not be into chakras or the lotus position to be counted in my book as spiritual individuals.
It helps that I am self-motivated and require no trainer or coach to perform calisthenics or to take up the hand weights.
Iíve sometimes wondered whether my workouts Ė these intended not so that I may look good to others but with the motive of psychological and physical health in mind Ė are not the greatest of prayers that one can possibly offer up to God in the human form.
Many of the most loveliest people Iíve ever met were not into chanting mantras and hadnít experienced any paranormal happenings but were nevertheless in good shape and emanated an inner glow or joyous spirit. These were able-bodied folk who radiated an inner beauty that I have never encountered in paranormalists, mystics, or occultists.
Ironic, that the Apostle Paul had (wrongly, in my opinion) taught the need for the devout to suppress the body and yet also acknowledged (and rightly so) the spiritual importance of physical training and athleticism.
Within Lowenís psychoanalytic therapy, bodywork was incorporated, toward the seeing to a patientís progress and eventual recovery. Iíve studied his entire published body of work, with his book Joy being most profound. Granted, Lowenís key teachings have also served as a constant reminder, as I often lapse into stationary states demanding of my giving heed to my truest self, my human vessel, and its needs for fresh air and bodily exertion.
So I golf, play tennis, walk, do some stretching to limber up, lift a few weights in the act of toning, and feel the energetic current surging through my legs amidst Lowenís grounding exercise. When I start to slack off on these, I begin to feel sluggish and a little depressed. Then those natural endorphins are released once more and Iím whole again Ė back on cloud nine, if not in seventh heaven. Here's an amen to fitness!