If I were to ask you ‘Who or what are you physically?’your first response might be, “Come on, I know who I am at a physical level, after all I’ve been living in this body my entire life.” That’s not an unreasonable reply, but it is not one that gets to the heart of this question: who are you at the core physical level? Not what your name is, or what you do or what you look like, but who or what are you at the fundamental level of body?
The simple answer is, that at the basic level you are an unbelievably complex collection of organs, tissues, muscles, fluids, bones, teeth and joints that (usually) all work together flawlessly to keep the ‘me’ that you think you are alive and functioning. There’s nothing earth-shattering in that answer to be sure, but it does provide a segue to the next question, which is, have you ever just for a few moments given any thought whatsoever to all of the activities that occur in your body without your conscious involvement? This excerpt from Deepak Chopra’s book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind provides some revealing insights regarding the multitude of events that are taking place within your body, literally every second that you are alive:
“A hundred things you pay no attention to – breathing,digesting, growing new cells, repairing damaged old ones, purifying toxins, preserving hormonal balance, converting stored energy from fat to blood sugar, dilating the pupils of the eyes, raising and lowering blood pressure, maintaining steady body temperature, balancing as you walk, shunting blood to and from the muscle groups that are doing the most work, and sensing movements and sounds in the surrounding environment – continue ceaselessly.”
In addition to those second-to-second activities, your body is gradually undergoing long-term changes as well. For example, by the end of one year, ninety-eight percent of the atoms in your body will have been exchanged for new ones, and by the time seven years have elapsed, your body will have completely replaced itself on a cell-by-cell basis. Amazingly, the stomach lining actually replaces itself every five days, the skin replaces itself once a month, the liver replaces itself every six weeks, and believe it or not, even the skeleton replaces itself every three months! And most importantly, all of this occurs without one single bit of conscious effort on your part.
Consider also that every time you eat something, your body automatically takes that food source and breaks it down into its component parts, uses what it needs, and discards what cannot be used as waste. What if you had to consciously control the digestive process? Can you even fathom all of the actions you would need to direct just to digest a single piece of bread? We take so much for granted about our bodies, yet most of us are quick to complain the moment that something within us is not functioning properly.
Your body is genetically coded to keep you alive, and unless you actively do something to inhibit its defenses, it will do everything in its power to preserve your health and life. A great example of this tendency toward perfect health is the body’s immediate response to injury. Whenever you cut yourself in a minor way, as you well know, it is simply a matter of moments before the injury begins to heal itself by first clotting the blood in the area, and then immediately beginning to rebuild the damaged tissue.
It is literally remarkable that this myriad of activities is occurring within you at all times, and you effectively have nothing to do with it, as the God-Force is quietly and efficiently taking care of all the details. If you pause for a moment right now to think about all of this, there really is no other way to describe your entire physical life as being anything less than an absolute miracle. However, how many of us really sit down to appreciate that miracle on a daily basis? Granted it’s tough to do that, especially in today’s incredibly hectic world, but just the slightest awareness you give to that miracle every day will help to improve your connection with the Divine intelligence that is responsible for that miracle.
To cultivate this awareness of the wonder that you really are, begin right now to acknowledge the miracle that your body is, and the extraordinary activities it performs on a daily basis. For example, make best efforts each day to take a couple of minutes out of your busy schedule to silently thank your body for digesting your food and for removing toxins and waste. In addition, at the end of each day, take some time to express gratitude to your heart for keeping you alive another day, and likewise to all of your other organs, tissues, muscles, bones and joints for their collective efforts on your part.
As you continue with this practice, what you will likely experience is that no matter what the status of your health, you will notice a definite improvement in the way you feel on a physical level. I speak from personal experience regarding this, because for several years now I’ve made it a daily habit to express such gratitude, and the result has been impeccable physical health, and essentially minimal signs of aging despite passing the half-century mark in 2006. Naturally there’s more to the story, like eating lots of fruits and vegetables, consuming less animal foods, and maintaining a generally active lifestyle. Yet, there exists no doubt in my mind that my daily acknowledgment of the contributions made by every single part of my body plays a key role in keeping me healthy.
I recommend that you adopt the same daily routine of expressing gratitude for each and every part of you, and you may soon find yourself feeling increasingly healthy and more energetic as well. All this providing, of course, that you do not express such gratitude out of one side of your mouth, while simultaneously stuffing the other side with unhealthy food, and sitting idly on the couch most of the time!
(The preceding article is an adapted excerpt from Spirituality Simplified, Copyright 2002 & 2014, by Jeff Maziarek.)
About the Author
Jeff Maziarek is an inspirational speaker and author. His first book, Spirituality Simplified is an easy-to-understand and entertaining work that provides an ideal starting point for anyone with a sincere desire to pursue a path of personal and/or spiritual growth. His second book, Codi’s Journey, is a memoir about his beloved Border Collie who passed away in 2005.
Spirituality Simplified is available on Amazon.com in both print and eBook formats. Codi’s Journey also can be purchased on Amazon.com in both print and eBook formats and on BarnesandNoble.com in eBook format . To subscribe to Jeff’s free daily inspirational emails called “PONDER on THIS,” please visit his Pondercentral website.