Have you ever stopped to think about how incredible your body is?

This is the second email in a 3-part email series by Ideapod writer Nathan Dennis. Read the first email on the myth of happiness here and the third email on the idealized self here. Sign up to Ideapod’s newsletters for more like this.

Hey Ideapod fam,

It’s Nathan again — popping in your inbox to share with you some of the ideas that Rudá Iandê has spread in his new book Laughing in the Face of Chaos. Yesterday I talked to you about how myths hold so much sway over our lives.

Today, I want to talk about embracing your body.

I’m not just talking about giving yourself a big ol’ hug — though that’s a damn fine idea.

I’m talking about embracing the miracle that is your body.

In Laughing in the Face of Chaos, Rudá writes “We’ve lost connection with our body. We forget that we live in this marvelous universe that is our body. … Have you ever stopped to think about what an incredible thing your body is? It’s a beautiful, intricate piece of art. Trillions of cells systematically organize themselves and assume different roles to create organs, tissues, and body fluids, all moving synchronically to perpetuate the miracle of life.”

(Quick note: Out of the Box and Tribe members get access to Laughing in the Face of Chaos. Not yet a Tribe member? Join here.)

I hadn’t thought about this before (odds are you may not have either), but our bodies are dynamic ecosystems — even universes, full of our own cells and other organisms that are all working together to keep us living.

And we’re not even aware of consciously in control of so much of this intelligence.

You’re not consciously digesting your food, are you? You’re not consciously filtering your blood through your liver, are you?

No — there are deeper intelligences at work — intelligences which we ignore or even reject.

Rudá writes, “Some religions and philosophies preach detachment from the body in order to experience spiritual enlightenment. The body is pictured as opposed to the soul, and, in certain cases, considered a corrupted source of evil.”

I’ve certainly heard these philosophies before. I’m sure you have too. How many times have we felt bad for having “base instincts?” How many times have you felt “dirty” for experiencing body-inspired instincts?

That sounds funny, I know.

But we all have, right? We’ve all felt bad for feeling something “body-centric” as opposed to “spirit-centric.”

This goes back to what I was talking about yesterday — the power that myths hold over us. In this case, the myth of the soul being good and the body being evil causes us to be so hateful to the one thing giving us life — our bodies!

Our bodies are alive! We can only experience life through our bodies! Perhaps we have souls — perhaps consciousness is just a manifestation of our neuron connections, but the fact is that we (as far as we know) can only experience life through our bodies.

And for some reason, we punish ourselves for this.

Think of all the rough things we put our bodies through, just by working a salaried job.

You work a 9-5 (really an 8-6, right?), where you stay in a chair for 10 hours. You grab a crappy meal for lunch, devoid of vegetables. Then you amble on home, crash on the couch at 7pm, where you devour your Seamless order, polish it off with a beer or two, and stay up until 1am, when you finally fall asleep, only to wake up at 7am, bleary-eyed.

Yikes right?

This is body abuse. We abuse our bodies in order to chase the society-programmed myth of success. We’re chasing money and stability that we hope will give us a better life. In the process, we’re crushing the very vehicle that allows us to live.

This is body desecration.

So what should we do instead? How do we embrace our bodies?

“We must ally with our body…we must understand our body as a living and wise being, as nature, and a source of life, and we must respect it.

Step number one is to understand that our body is a source of life and wisdom. We need to realign our thinking and realize that our body is our ally. When we ally with our bodies, we perform actions to cultivate our bodies.

Instead of starving our body, we need to feed our body the proper fuel to keep it running for as long as possible. We need to strengthen our bodies through exercise and proper sleep.

Because our body is us!

“Do you stop to express gratitude to your body? If you want to deepen your connection with the intelligence of your life, start by speaking to your body, praying to your body, celebrating your body, and meditating in your body.”

We have to have more than respect for our bodies. Our bodies are sacred temples, and we need to consecrate them as opposed to desecrating them.

You only get one body. Treat it right.

Thanks for reading, Ideapod fam. Tomorrow I’ll share with you the most powerful lesson I learned from Rudá Iandê, that of the idealized self and the failure.

See you tomorrow,

Nathan

P.S. Want to read Laughing in the Face of Chaos right now?

==> Laughing in the Face of Chaos eBook ($19)

==> Access all of Ideapod’s eBooks with Tribe membership for $9.50 monthly (with a free 7-day trial)

Nathan Dennis

Nathan Dennis

Nathan Dennis is a Manhattan based playwright and poet of Floridian extraction. A graduate of NYU Tisch Department of Dramatic Writing, he served as a Rita and Burton Goldberg Fellow, and was awarded Outstanding Writing for the Stage in Spring of 2015. His most recent play, Lord of Florida, was workshopped by PrismHouse Theatre Company in the Fall of 2017.

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