07/18/2012 02:32 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2012

What We Know in Our Bones

We humans think we are pretty special. Our highly-developed brains have led to very high levels of conceptualization, which in turn has led to our huge impact on manifesting those concepts and literally reshaping the material world we live in.

This has led most of us to believe that our brain's capacity for intelligence is unique, and it has made most of us forget one of the most basic elements of our embodied experience: Namely, that we benefit from several intelligently-operating systems, often despite our brainpower.

For example, when was the last time you actually thought to breathe? If we had to remember to do this and consciously manage this process we would all be dead by now. How about the last time you figured out how to fight off a cold? Or did your immune system identify invaders to your body, determine the right defense, and route the antidote to the place of attack?

That awesome Fourth of july day barbecue: Did you cogitate your way into digesting the meal, breaking down the food, absorbing the nutrients and rerouting the toxins? Or is it possible that our digestive systems are smart enough to know how to do that all on their own? And how about those beautiful children you or your sister had running around the yard. Are they as easy to conceive, develop and grow as the toughest essay you've ever had to write?

Now what about your heart. Did you have to coax it into beating this morning with some of that famous human logic? And who taught it to actually build a moment of rest into every beat? Certainly not those of us who think that it is never a good time to take a break!

We may spontaneously envision our bodies as well-oiled machines that we take good -- or not so good -- care of, but that is just the big-headedness of our thoughts neglecting to give credit where credit is due. If we really, really reflect upon this, it might actually lead to the question of who is exactly taking care of whom.

The next time your body "lets you down" or "can't keep up," remind yourself of all the things that it is doing for you, all the intelligent ways that it is processing the flow of life, keeping you here and providing such an amazing platform for your thoughts to roam far and wide. Maybe the body can't roam quite as far or as fast as those thoughts do, but then again, when was the last time a thought "knew" how to break down something that you had never, ever eaten before, retaining the nutrients and eliminating the toxins?

Our bodies are not our thinking minds, and thankfully our thinking minds are not our bodies! There is so much intelligence coursing through us on so many different levels, and "we" (who/whatever that means!) benefit every moment of our lives from it, whether we ever think about it or not.

Luckily, we don't really ever have to. But we should at least thank our bodies from time to time for all they do for us. Even if it's only a "gut instinct" of gratitude.


-- db

For more by Doug Binzak, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.