Singing the body electric

My body, my truth

One of the most controversial books of my younger years was a book called Our Bodies, Ourselves. Written by a women’s health collective out of Boston in 1970s, it was the first book to really tell it like it is about what women’s bodies look like, and what they actually do.

It was an important book because up to that point, women were often disassociated from their bodies, and societal norms of the day supported maintaining rather than releasing feelings of shame and secrecy.

Loving your spiritual body

Male or female, our relationship with our body is a complex thing and within our teaching the complexity of this relationship is exponential. The reason for this is outlined in the fulsome chapter in The Science of Mind on the Body.

Our view is that the Body translates as not only our physical body, but the body of everything in existence. And all of this realm is an “effect”. 

So what we are called to do is love this spiritual body that we all live in – our individual body, our jobs, our lives – because we are the co-creators of it. Doing “love” at this level requires a deep level of intimacy with who we are. So, while the 70s may have shown women to get familiar with their physical body, we’re now being asked to get familiar with our spiritual body.

Using our physical body as an example, that means nourishing it with healthy food, using its muscles and doing so respectfully. And there are some other adages that sound pretty old-school, yet contain truths too – cleanliness is next to godliness, and thinking pure thoughts. Replace “pure” with positive or affirmative, and you get the point.

I’ll drink to that

It’s this last one – pure thinking – that assists in supporting what I believe to be the most valuable aspect of our “body electric” – our mental health. As our mind is the centre of our connection to Spirit, it’s vitally important that we maintain a positive or at least flexible outlook so that we can manage what is in front of us.

When a body is feeling run down, feeling tired, feeling depressed, it is out of alignment with its spiritual truth. The mind craves flexibility, fluidity. It’s a signal that something needs to be done.

The tendency is for us to move to fight or flight – to begin to think that we need to “fix” something.

But what if we simply listened to what our body was trying to tell us. The answer could be simply picking up a glass, and drinking water.

Water is one of the ways we can support our body in re-minding itself of our inherent wholeness. Studies show a dehydrated brain in a sense calcifies, which leads not only to feelings of fatigue, but also depression, anxiety. Think of what it’s like to feel mentally nimble, and it’s not hard to consider that a body lacking fluidity will have difficulty climbing mental heights.

It wasn’t so much about going outside of myself to “fix” something, rather it was about turning within to reveal what needed to be known.

Thinking with our whole Mind

Now that we have come to understand that there is a mind-body connection, that what lies within is often at the beck and call of what lies between the ears, we can move our creative minds towards a bigger idea.

What we think lies at the foundation of our world. As a teaching, we’ve focused traditionally on the individual, but if we truly believe (as I do) that all is an effect, then this is true of our societies, our cultures, our countries, our world. As within, so without. How do we as a society honour our full body – do we make good choices for our body at the individual level, and at the level of the collective? How can we empower ourselves to be mindful about the “body of our affairs”. 

If there is even a small link between dehydration and mental illness, we could ask how might this inform our decisions around public washrooms and water fountains. How might a small change in our view of water – in understanding its role at a spiritual-cognitive level – result in improvements for homeless people – not only in their experience of health, but more importantly in their ability to see themselves in a positive light.

As Walt Whitman says, our bodies are sacred. All bodies are sacred. This is the container of our One Mind consciousness.

Drink up – and acknowledge your body electric! 

Rev. Karin
Karin Wilson is the Spiritual Director at the Centre for Spiritual Living Yaletown in Vancouver, BC. A writer as well as spiritual coach, Karin spent more than 20 years as a journalist contributing thousands of articles to a wide range of media, including CBC Radio's The Current, Daybreak Kelowna, and The World at Six. In 2015 her voyage to Haida Gwaii was featured in Science of Mind magazine.