Jog if you like it, don’t jog only if you’re trying to live forever

How the fact I’m alive one minute to the next is only because I keep breathing, heart keeps beating, all the countless chemical reactions my body requires are still going on. And this attitude is different from usual attitude toward body in that I think we’re (I’m) so frequently distanced from my body intellectually/emotionally. Even at the doctor’s office, my blood isn’t my own, etc.

Other people are Spirits or Ideas, not their bodies, you know — and I think it’s not just me, that this attitude is also a cultural thing, a culturally chosen way (that is, arbitrary way) of looking at a body, as if it really were something separate from your mind/personality.

And not that the body’s something to worry about (so much of medicine sees body as something to conquer — take these drugs and everything will be fine. Like the farmer spraying chems on fields and thinking everything will be fine. Yes, chems are the language of life but just because you’re shouting things and things you want seem to be happening doesn’t mean you really understand what you’re saying, or who else is overhearing your shouting and being affected by it).

And I’m doing the same thing (similar thing, anyway) when I sit in front of TV and stuff my face. And I’m not talking about dieting here, just that when I’m not paying attention to the food I’m eating, I’m not paying attention to my body. I mean, I’m not going to stop eating all treats just for a “healthy heart,” which is obsession and the heart is basically uncontrollable anyway. But I am ignoring what body needs, when I’m full, etc. More like neglect. And I’m not saying my goal in life is simply to live long, like some people’s seems to be, starving themselves, lots of pointless exercise, etc.

At some level, I think it is authentic to recognize you’re not in control, that you’re totally at the whim of your body.

Yet I don’t want to get into the habit of feeding my face, because that’s taking the body for granted, also inauthentic. That’s thinking that the body doesn’t matter, that my identity is my mind only — I’m saying the body is also part of one’s identity. What it means to live mindfully is to acknowledge the body — to eat mindfully, away from the TV, but not worship the body or think your body won’t change (all those who put looking good, plastic surgery above all else, or those who do things to avoid dying). Jog if you like it, don’t jog only if you’re trying to live forever or something.

[From journal of Sat., 6 Nov. 2004, Journal 39, page 104-6]

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