“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
I love this quote because it so instantly reminds me of the truth of the human experience. Without our body, there is no place for spirit to reside, no opportunity for growth or for evolution of the soul.
And yet, so often we hate on our bodies. We want them to be different, something other than what they are. And why? What ever gave us the notion that a body should be anything other than what it is. We think we're too fat, too thin, too much of this, too little of that. There's a constant barrage of negative self-talk that only serves to diminish the sacredness of our bodies.
We weren't born hating our body. When we were babies, we loved our bodies always playing with them, being inquisitive, exploring, and then...
This dissatisfaction of our bodies is a learned behavior. In our exposure to movies, magazines, the media and yes, even weight loss commercials, the ego starts to identify with the visual and verbal cues. Then when it sees you don't match what it's been told is the ideal body/look/type, it starts comparing, judging and yelling "what's wrong with you!"
How can we learn to love our bodies again? I believe the answer lies in awareness. You cannot change something if you're not aware that it exists. When we become aware of our thoughts, we can start to hear the negative self-talk that pulls us away from loving our body.
I've found the simple meditation of sitting and breathing into my heart is a way to create awareness and explore just how rampant negative self-talk can be. By breathing with the intention of feeling the love in your heart, you will start to notice thoughts of every kind slowly taking you away from your focus. But, by simply observing the thoughts and not being attached to them, you can easily reconnect with your intention. Soon, usually very soon, the thoughts return because the ego thinks it's being ignored. The thoughts can be incessant. Relax and return to the heart breathing.
Through this gentle practice you can create an awareness of your thoughts. Over time, if you do this meditation daily, the thoughts can start to calm down. More importantly, and the reason I like this practice is, it helps create an awareness of the ongoing, day in and day out judging and comparing that goes on in your head. With awareness, you can see these thoughts for what they are and how they pull you away from loving yourself and your body. Without awareness, these thoughts often lead you to the conclusion that your body is the enemy.
Your body is not your enemy. Your body is beautiful, sacred, and a home for spirit - no matter what it looks like. Cultivate an awareness of your thoughts, see how they inform your relationship with your body. Through awareness, behaviors can be unlearned and changed. It is completely possible to fall in love with your body again.
In love and light,