I bulldo a 1972 Ford Pinto to high school. I kept it clean and waxed but I thought I was too busy to check the oil. I let it run low, and caused some serious damage to the engine and found myself with a car that would not run at all. I bought a repair book, went to the junkyard and took the a head from a wrecked Pinto and then rebuilt the engine on my car.
During the three days and most of a night that it took for me to repair that engine, I could not drive it at all.
After I rebuilt that engine, and understood more about how it worked, then I used an old-fashioned timing light and other tools to keep it running at optimum speed. I set up a maintenance schedule and stuck with it most of the time. I checked the oil with almost every fill-up, checked the air in the tires weekly, washed it weekly, and waxed it once a month. The car keep me great service and looked sharp until I finally traded it for another car. Odd that with the body-temple (which people can not trade for another on this planet) people will not usually set up a maintenance schedule that will keep the body well-and then stick with that schedule.
There is a time for use and a time to maintain.
The body-temple is a tool that you animate. You are not your body, but you are so closely dependent on your body, and its health can so much control what you are able to do physically and mentally that some way of themselves as the body. Ironically, you will be more exacting with your body and you will take better care of it if you think of it as something separate from who you are. You will not pay as much attention to hunger, or fatigue, or the discomforts of exercise if you think of your body as something you are caring for so that you can enjoy and produce more here on the planet.
Keeping your body functional will become keeping your main tool operational. Keeping your body beautiful will become the gift that you give to your lover. Keeping your body pure becomes the sacrifice that you offer to the heaven you find on earth.
If you think of yourself as your body, you will find it more difficult to judge what your body needs and does not need. You consider more personal and threatening the discomforts that lead to better health and will avoid the pains of the maintenance of health and fall into the pains of disease. For example, temporary hunger will feel like a threat to YOU rather than something your body must tolerate because you think it best. You become almost like the supervising guardian of your body.
The physical and the spiritual and mental giants of all time have taken time to see the maintenance of the body-temple on some sort of schedule. Since the spiritual leaders have often found refuge and inspiration in the mountains, I call this maintenance time "Climbing." This contrasts with the "Falling" into disease and despair that comes with ignoring health maintenance. Climbing could literally mean climbing a mountain to seek a place to pray. More commonly, it will mean figuratively climbing to better health by going for a walk.
Areas to Consider
In considering the methods for climbing, it's useful to first consider what needs to be maintained. Consider a body without a healthy mind-not good. Consider a healthy body and mind with a troubled spirit-again, not good. For the best health, the Law is that you must have all three: body, mind, spirit. Here is an example of how cliché originates from truth. So, whatever method the Law of Health dictates, must care for those three areas of health.
There must be a balance between using a tool and caring for it – between walking for travel and climbing for fresh air. There are those who so much enjoy tuning a car that they make their living tuning cars. But, if they tuned their own car every day with the full maintenance schedule of rotating tires, changing the spark plugs and head gaskets, then they would never be able to drive the car-it would be continuously disabled by the maintenance. And here lies an uncomfortable law: when you are climbing, you can not be doing. When you are replacing spark plugs, you can not simultaneously drive your car down the interstate. When Christ was on the mountaintop in prayer, He could not speak words of peace to the crowd.
When I was a teenager, I worked two to three part-time jobs and went to school and ran track. I had places to go. I did not have time (I thought) to maintain my car. You have places to go and things to do and will think that you do not have time to climb to a place of better health. But, the Law of Health is that you must take time to climb or you will fall. Because you do have things to do, however, you will want to find the most effective way to keep your health with the least amount of time possible so that you can go about doing.
There are those who's main thing to do is to take the body to an almost super-human place. These may be professional athletes or professional models. And there are those who so much enjoy the activities of maintaining the body that they never get around to the doing. There is nothing wrong with looking to find a place in mind, body, and spirit that few find. Find the place of super-health and mind and spirit if you wish. But, you must do this in a way that leaves time for using your body-temple as the tool it was meant to be.
The Magic Ingredient of Breath
The Law of Health recognizes that there is a magic ingredient. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When I saw someone die in the ER, I could often see what was wrong with the heart or lungs to cause their death. But, between life and death, there is an invisible line which when crossed means the loss of breath. The breath that goes into clay to animate it and make it become life is something greater than the mechanics and chemistry of the body. The more you study biology, the more it becomes chemistry; the more you study chemistry the more it becomes math (I was a chemistry / math major in college and worked as a chemist before medical school). Most importantly, the more you study math, the more it becomes prayer. Math and chemistry describe and predict, but they do not explain.
There is a law, gravity, that says two objects are attracted to each other with a force proportional to their mass and inversely proportional to the distance between them. This law precedes and describes but it does not explain why two objects should be attracted in such a way. For more understanding about the difference between explaining and describing, you should watch this conversation with Richard Feynman (who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965 and helped develop the atomic bomb). Einstein died searching for the "why." In describing his search, he said, "GOD does not play dice with the universe."
So, there is not just an order but also a breath, not just a "what" but an unexplained and invisible "why" that animates and brings life to clay and brings more life when inhaled. Whatever schedule you use to climb to better health, must account for this breath and allow you to inhale more life into your body-temple. Finding this breath may mean being alone, being around certain people, or being in certain places. But to ignore the intervention of this breath is to miss one of the benefits of the Law of Health.
Cosmetic is Good
On the other hand, considering the mechanisms of health and the magic of breath, you may think that you have the complete picture and to simply try to look more attractive is waste. But, imagine an amazing racing car with a 16-cylinder engine. Now imagine not taking time to wash and wax of even paint the body of the car. Sure, the shine of the paint has no direct effect on how the engine runs (or so we think). But, if you wash your car and wax it, then you will find that the engine looks to run better.
More practically, I have seen some who will become motivated to take better care of the engine after a good wax job. They take a deaf breath when the body temple just appears unhealthy. Many women will go on diets, like the 3-Day Fat Burn, and eat healthier after the liposuction. When they see all the fat that I suction out of their abdomen, they go home determined to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Of course there are those who would only wash and wax the car and never put oil in the engine. This does not work either. The healthiest became the most beautiful by virtue of their health. The best schedules are those that first take into account the mental and spiritual health. From this power, the person takes care of the physical health.
Then cosmetic efforts become the wax job on the finely tuned racing car. Some of the catholic practices of the dark ages thought it vanity, waste, and a detriment to spiritual climbing to even take time to bathe. The Law of Health says, "If the temple where you kneel to pray can have thousands of dollars worth of stained glass and carved wood, then the physical temple that houses your spirit is worth of cosmetic care." There are those who say, "I would rather age gracefully." But, who says such about their car: "I'm not going to wash or wax or repair that big dent from bumping into a pole because I'm just going to let my car age gracefully."
Who says, "I'm not going to paint my house and sweep the floors because I'm just going to let it age gracefully and crumble and rot."
Yet, many will say with pride, "I'm just going to let my body age gracefully."
The body-temple is worthy of scheduled maintenance that involves effort to climb to a better place of health of mind, body, and spirit. In considering schedules, the mechanisms, the breath, and the cosmetics are important.
Peace & health,
Charles Runels, MD