What is the importance of our physical body in a spiritual journey? It took me nearly three decades to realize that I’ve spent most of my life living in my head. Even when I was meditating and focusing on an arm or leg, it was mostly visualization.
I just hadn’t been paying much attention to my body. I was there, but I wasn’t really there to feel it.
Until I had no choice but to, after several weeks of unexplained fever. I questioned this from a Spiritual lens. And here’s what I discovered.
The Practical Importance of Our Physical Body
I’d like to explain this with a short story about Buddha, which I’ll paraphrase from the famous work called Old Path White Clouds.
In a brief period when the Buddha was ardent in his spiritual practices, he reached a point when he stopped eating altogether. At the time, he felt that eating was distracting his meditation practice.
One day, when he came out of deep meditation, he realized that he was too weak and would not be able to sustain his body if he continued to starve himself. He began walking in search of a village to find alms, but he collapsed midway.
A young lady stopped and gave him the tiffin of food she had been carrying. The Buddha, ever since, focused on the importance of keeping ourselves alive and healthy in order to focus on the task at hand, of liberation.
His objective was to keep the body nourished but balanced – hence arose the practice of mindful eating.
And consequently, over the years, he encouraged his disciples to eat only one meal a day, just enough to keep them nourished but not make them sleepy or lethargic.
It’s interesting how different religions and cultures say the same thing.
When I recently read the sacred Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita, it rightfully said, that one who eats too much or doesn’t eat enough, or one who sleeps too much or doesn’t, cannot become a true Karm yogi. It’s all about moderation.
We can then say that the physical importance of the body is that it’s the carrier of the soul. It’s our home, for as long as we’re alive in this lifetime.
Then mustn’t we love and respect our home, trying to make our stay pleasant and conducive to enlightenment?
The Metaphysical Importance of Our Physical Body
Let’s now talk in terms of karma.
When we’re embodied, we’re able to process our karma quicker. We do this by pairing our soul’s karmic patterns with our body’s intelligence to free ourselves of past behavioral tendencies and traumas. We are able to think and be ‘conscious’ of our choices, thus overriding the past and eventually becoming liberated from all past tendencies.
Once we’ve left the body, our ability to handle our karmic debts depletes significantly. Why? Because we no longer have the same level of ability to take action (clear our karma, deeds).
Creating actions in the physical realm is much more energy-consuming than creating in the mental or astral planes. Without a physical body, we don’t have that kind of privilege anymore, to create deep, rectifying actions.
Let’s say someone is born with 75 years of life.
But due to bad habits and poor health, they die by 50. Having misused the body assigned to them, they now need to disperse this residual karma in spirit form. Or, they take on an extremely tough life, like a physically challenged child, to catch up.
So in that sense, we’d be foolish to live with the YOLO (you only live once) mindset. Because we don’t only live once, and if we don’t want to live again, we need to make the most of the body we have now!
5 Spiritual Steps We Can Take To Heal Our Physical Body
Living a spiritual life largely has to do with living a good human life. And that entails a lot of time spent cleansing our bodies and thoughts.
I didn’t want to write this post until I had embodied all that I was writing.
For most of my adult life, I’ve been ‘thinking’. Even when I go to bed, it takes ages to sleep because my brain doesn’t quiet itself easily. And the more we think, the less present we are in the moment.
As a consequence, I’ve tried many, many things and I’d say their combination has made things a lot better. I’ll start my first recommendation around sleeping and how to relax the mind so that your physical body gets the much-needed rest.
Then we’ll move on to the other tips, which associate more directly with the body’s well-being.
Unwind with Osho’s Advice
From time to time, I enjoy reading a few pages of the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, and learning more from spiritual teacher, Osho’s point of view on the 112 Meditation techniques. And one such technique that I recently discovered was undoing your memory. This does wonders to your Conscious mind, quickly tiring it and thus relaxing it.
You have to recount your day, backward!
It’s challenging because it takes a lot of extra work to reverse your memory. Apparently, it helps with your karma too, but for the time being, it definitely does help you unwind.
So all you do is start recalling the events of the day, from the very moment that just passed. And then keep going backward, like playing the reel of a film on rewind.
The only word of caution is to not get attached to any memory, just keep reversing. Then, in no time, you’ll be fast asleep!
And now, onto the other spiritual tips to help take better care of your physical body.
#1 – Intermittent Fasting
There’s a significant relationship between our mental health and gut health. Here is what I can recommend from personal experience, on how to heal both in one shot – intermittent fasting!
I first tried it out in October 2019, after a trip to Bali, when I checked my weight and it was at an all-time high. For the first time, I was a 25 on the BMI. Hitting obesity.
I was fortunate to have come across a powerful book on the subject, called The Circadian Code by Dr Satchin Panda. Over a decade of research and some logical advice helped me take intermittent fasting seriously.
While I highly recommend reading the book for full benefit, here are some guidelines that I follow:
- Eat within an 8-10 hour interval. But at least have a 12-hour interval between your dinner and breakfast, no matter what.
- Fix the interval time. For me, it’s 10 AM to 7 PM on average.
- Fix the number of meals you consume. When you sit to eat, eat wholeheartedly. When you’re done, be done for a good 3-4 hours. Munching is the real cause of weight gain, for most people.
- Being hungry does NOT mean being weak. Hunger is the indication that your body has digested the food. At this point, your true gut healing begins.
- If you want to have something sweet, make it the first meal of your day so that you can maximize your waking hours to digest it.
NOTE: Late-night snacking and munching in-between meals is a huge problem for many of us. If you initially struggle, try having a spoonful of edible coconut oil. It works wonders to curb untimely hunger pangs!
Having followed this for just a few weeks, you will instantly notice your sleep getting better. Also, the quality of your thoughts improves because you’re not as irritable, your bowel movements are better, and so is your gut’s health.
When we’re able to maintain higher levels of thought, we can observe a quieter mind more effortlessly. And we’re not constantly thinking about eating, one of the biggest hurdles on our journey to enlightenment.
#2 – Grounding
I go in-depth about the essence of grounding when I teach about the Chakra System. Also, some basic things you can do right off the bat are:
- Play with pets and children. They are much closer to the harmonious energy of the Universe than we are and being in their presence can remind us of our joyous Truth;
- Go outdoors and be in nature. Either walk barefoot in the grass or take a hike in the forest. Or if you’re fortunate enough to, go take a dip in the ocean. Mother nature can heal our energy like magic!
- Take out time to just be. Use this time to observe your surroundings, slow down and pause for a bit. Our bodies and minds are constantly consuming information and working on overdrive. Sometimes a 5-minute pause can be like restarting your internal clock!
#3 – Exhaust Your Physical AND Mental Energy
Did you know, each soul, when reincarnating, comes with a dedicated reserve of physical and mental plane energy? The two must be exhausted separately.
While subconscious work and activities such as thinking and meditation will do wonders to exhaust your mental reserve, we’re not doing enough to burn out the physical energy allocated for our lifetime. Or in the opposite case, some people are consuming that energy too fast.
Whatever side of the spectrum you may be on, start approaching your two energy reserves with the intent to attain enlightenment.
And spend your energy in both realms, in moderation. Too little or too much time spent burning energy through the physical body is detrimental.
#4 – Communicate With Your Body
It was groundbreaking for me to write a letter to my physical body. It was like something sacred opened up inside of me. Have you ever tried that?
It’s worth taking a few minutes to just say hello to your body and to thank it for all that it’s done for you. Or for all the times you didn’t pay heed, and how you plan to better take care of it.
Some other tips for communicating with the body are:
- Meditate at a cellular level. I teach this in my Get Out Of Your Head Workshop if you’re interested to learn.
- Do a body scan every morning when you wake up, and before you go to bed at night, to check in – how are different parts of your body feeling today?
#5 – Heal the Issues In Your Tissues
This is where we need to step into our thoughts consciously, to help heal the body. Did you know that the thoughts which affect us, get stored in our body, and if left unchecked can become a host to many diseases and hormonal imbalances?
So the resentment you have against your high-school crush, or the anger you feel for something mom said when you were 10 years old, is all stored in your body. And it’s slowly eating away at it!
Books like Anatomy of The Spirit can really teach you how thought manifests into disease. And how cleansing a thought can reverse the effects of the illness!
There are many ways to actively investigate our subconscious patterns and heal them at their root level. To name a few popular solutions:
Having a series of questions to guide your self-reflection can really help you when you’re getting started, versus an uncertain “dear diary”. If you’re new and looking for tips, here are 7 different journaling techniques I’d recommend trying.
Now, there’s a lot of fear around hypnosis, and I understand because I’ve been raised with the same notions. But having experienced hypnotherapy myself, I’ve noticed enormous amounts of mental block clearing, which I had no clue about.
Granted how strange hypnotherapy may sound, I’ve put together a post that addresses your questions about the process. If you want to undergo a session of hypnotherapy, it’ll be good to read this first, to set your expectations.
– Chakra Balancing
This is my favorite subject to talk about, because of how easy it is to rebalance yourself, once you understand the Chakra System’s role in your life!
Not to toot my own horn, but I highly recommend my chakra balancing workshop, if you’re interested in uncovering and healing blockages in a practical way.
– Inner Child & Parental Wound Healing
This is one of the shadow aspects of our healing, where we go into memory lane. It can be uncomfortable if you’re not ready to open Pandora’s Box.
But I always tell people who come to me for inner child work, that if your younger self went through it once and came out alright, you will too. You’ve got decades of experience in front of your younger self!
And it’s high time you use it to your benefit.
– Masculine & Feminine Wounds
It can come as a surprise how much our gender biases hold us back from being our true Self. Being able to balance one’s inner yin-yang nature ultimately harmonizes the mind, body, and spirit. And it can lead to a more holistic way of being.
These are all modalities that can teach us where our limiting beliefs stop us. And help us re-evaluate the importance of our physical body in this journey.
Alternatively, you can explore energy healing in the form of Reiki, Pranic Healing, and Crystal Healing.
I’ve repeatedly heard this advice, from great spiritual leaders. You don’t need to do many things, you just need to do one thing right.
So, if we could just devote our life to taking care of this temple, this body, it will lead us to the very heaven we seek as an escape from it. The importance of our physical body in this spiritual journey is actually imperative!
No matter how well or sick you are, please love your body. It’s been serving you for decades, and it is your first and last companion in this life.
Be your body’s best friend, not enemy. It will reward you ten times!
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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