I recently had a very interesting and inspirational conversation with my younger brother about health in a spiritual context. As a doctor, I’m often absorbed in the biological, chemical, and physiological aspects of health. I do believe however, that the human body is more than just the physical element. As a doctor, it is my personal belief that good health is composed of a healthy body, mind, and spirit. And if one of these three elements is affected negatively, the other two will also suffer.
Regardless of what our religious beliefs and practices are, if you believe in a higher power or divinity, then you will agree that we are all connected to this higher universal element. How we connect to it may differ in each persons practice of their faith, but the need for that spiritual sustenance is our commonality. From this stems the concept that our health is a type of platform of connecting to our “God”. In other words, a type of platform for one of the ways we worship. And how we treat our bodies reflects the level of our spiritual enlightenment and connection with God. My brother used a good example when explaining this. He said that imagine if your best friend loaned you his car for a couple of days. If for some reason you got into a car accident or scraped the bumper, you would probably feel bad about it and try to make up for it by either paying for the damages or getting the car fixed. So then why is it that the bodies we’re given in which our spirits travel get treated so poorly? We’ve been given a good healthy body and it has the capability to get us through the journey of life with strength and dignity. Yet many of us take this sacred vehicle and turn it into a “shit-box”. So what does this say about our relationship with our physical and mental health? And what does it say about our relationship with our spiritual self?
You might have noticed that people who are dedicated to physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle often project a very positive and powerful attitude towards life. In my years of medical experience, rarely have I come across a physically fit and active person who suffered from depression (although there are the rare ocaissions that it happens). You may also want to know that physical activity is a prescribed regiment for patients suffering from depression and mental illness. Many people who are active and physically fit are also very spiritually healthy and focused. What’s interesting to note is that the reverse is not true. Being religious or spiritual does not always make you a healthy person. And you would think that those who pray regularly, spread the word of God, or spend days, months and years trying to achieve enlightenment are the ones who should be the example of a healthy body that is pure and free of toxins and illness. The fact is that many of them are suffering from diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks.
The point I want you to understand is that if you are someone who takes their spiritual life seriously, then your health is a major part of that spiritual connection. Neglecting your health and allowing poor choices to destroy your health is a disrespectful gesture to the divine force that gave you that body in the first place. And taking care of your body and improving your health is a way of being thankful for the vehicle you have and returning it respectfully to its rightful owner.
There are those of us in this world who are not born with perfect health, and those who suffer through traumatic and life threatening illnesses. There are many in this world who are put through some of the most difficult circumstances of physical change and bodily harm. For them, regaining their health and physical ability is perhaps the greatest challenge of all. But if you look around you in the world you’ll see people who never let this become an obstacle of hopelessness. In fact it becomes a reason to overcome trials and tribulations and to exceed all expectations.
If you want success, look for dedication, and if you want motivation, look for inspiration.