Is Your Body an Asset or a Liability?
An asset is something useful that has advantages, blessings, & merits. A liability is something that's a hindrance, burden, nuisance or inconvenience.
How you value your body has a great deal to do with whether it you think it's an asset or a liability. Pause for a moment to take stock. Clearly, your body proves its usefulness when it's healthy and happy. Then, it can get things done, relay good information, and show up with confidence. But, in order for this to happen, you need to make time and take care. Sometimes, your body's need for nutritious food, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, safety, and even love may feel like just another responsibility. And, other times, when it breaks down, under performs, or demands attention, it can feel like such a nuisance.
The fallacy in this simplistic asset/ liability exercise is its limited scope. A full accounting of the merits is much more complex. Did you know that your sensitive, sensual body is a bridge to intuition, intimacy, emotional intelligence, creative inspiration, and spiritual awareness? Did you know your body has an intelligence of its own? Once you know its true value, there'll be no doubt ... your body is an asset even when it seems like a liability. Hang in and I'll explain.
Using the latest technologies and cutting-edge physics, scientists have changed their minds about the body/ brain relationship. Surprisingly, evidence implies that sometimes your body knows what's up before your brain. For instance, your intestines house the enteric nervous system, sometimes called the "second brain". When you have "gut instincts", this system gets triggered first and then sends the message to your brain.
While you use your smart mind everyday, you take your smart body for granted. As Francisco Varela PhD, neuroscientist and philosopher, says: "We are not used to thinking of the body as a self that is as complex an entity as our cognitive selves." To experience how your intelligent body thinks on its own, you don't need scientific proof. Just shift your perspective a bit and pay attention to the obvious. Here are some things we know: the heart responds to emotional events; fight or flight chemistry identifies anything inauthentic or dangerous; facial muscles mimic the feeling state of others; the olfactory sense picks up pheromones leading to attraction or repulsion; and proprioceptive intelligence tells you if you're out of line or off balance and helps you self-correct. These are just a few of the ways your body is a first responder.
But, in order to access all the benefits in your "body portfolio", you need to go there and be there. Unfortunately, with the over-dominance of your intellectual mind, you might not spend any quality time in your body at all- even during sleep. Here are three ways to pay attention and let your body do its stuff:
1. Notice the physicality of life- movement, sounds, sensations, color, and space. Include this sense of presence as a part of your expanded awareness for the next five minutes. Learning to focus in the "now" is a good way to be body-smart.
2. If you're being physical, let the body lead the way. Do a task with your whole body. Breathe with your full inhale and exhale. Chew your food until its ready to swallow. Recognizing your body's design & timing is a good way to be body smart.
3. When you encounter a situation, choice or decision, listen to your gut. Pose the either/or question and your "inner knowing" gives you an answer- comfortable & open or jittery & tight. Being perceptive is a good way to be body-smart.
Being body-aware makes the most mundane activities feel enlivened. Bring it to the gym and work place to augment performance, stamina, and concentration. Tune in with the family and loved ones to increase emotional intelligence. Use it in the boardroom and bedroom to improve your focus, intuition and timing. Trust it as a sounding board and natural ally in your quest for health, happiness, success, and satisfaction. Take it to your meditation to connect with inner space and quiet the chattering mind. Ask it for guidance when you're not doing so well, suffering or lost.
Pay attention, use the asset, and evaluate the results. Once you realize how much body awareness adds to every aspect of your life, you might agree with Guy Claxton's bold assertion: "I am smart precisely because I am a body. I don't own it or inhabit it; from it, I arise." Truly, your smart body might be your most valuable asset!
Be sure to read my future blogs to learn more about listening to, caring for, and enjoying your most valuable asset- your body.