Kung Fu Exercise Book #3

3) Our bodies are the creations of our minds.

Admittedly I have not found a single source for this particular quotation, but it has become a concept that has been well received; especially in the post Human Potential Movement of the 1960’s, and after the popularity of “The Matrix”.  It does have an Asian root, as the concept can be seen as an underlying motif in many of the belief practices in history, but it can also be seen in things such as Human Potential Movements such as Christian Science or Scientology.

For me, this particular statement has many levels, as most things will when we ascribe meaning to it.  I will assume that you have already made your determination as to what it means to you, and whether or not you agree with it.  It seems to make intuitive sense, and riles against conventional scientific understanding – depending on where you come from on a perspective level.

Let me introduce three concepts that I have used to further refine the intuitive meaning:  “Neurons that fire together, wire together”, “Our bodies cry the tears that we won’t”, and “without the mind, the body is useless” (this latter one comes from this list as well, and you will notice it is strikingly similar to the Matrix).

Although many scientific or analytical minds will rile against the esoteric undertones of what I’m about to say, they will likely also appreciate the overall message (or at least the methods).  I believe that this statement – “Our bodies are creations of our minds” is a simple concept that carries a lot of weight… almost literally.  In todays world we are constantly pushed forward, or at least the expectation exists of being productive and busy, and by consequence many people say to themselves that they deserve to relax, etc. I am not debating that.  What I am going to say is it’s to the extent, and the means of that relaxation.  We believe that it is a hard-working persons right to come home after work, do the chores that need doing (no matter how much we abhor them) and then watch movies or TV shows for the remainder of the evening.

We sleep in on the weekends, drinking etc.… and then we begrudgingly return to the grind after our “too short” weekend.

Because we’re supposed to be so busy, we eat food fast (even considering the speed of service of “fast food” to be slow on occasion) to keeps us going – and upon returning home, we wind down or otherwise stop, conserving energy for our next demand at work.

At work we are also notoriously exposed to situations and people we don’t like, yet say or do little or nothing to amend/correct these situations or interactions.  This we take home with us as stress… If we can’t deal with things, eventually we feel like there is too much and we can’t do anything about it, etc… and some people react to these situations differently, such as by being constantly stressed, paranoid, angry, bitter, depressed… these are cycles we have all seen in either ourselves or others.

Why is it that overly stressed or depressed people are “always” sick?  Why are depressed people disproportionally overweight, or vice versa?

We are human animals, emphasis on animals; and like with all animals, operant conditioning applies.  We’re subject to Pavlov’s theories just as much as the salivating dog in his experiments.

What is the difference?   We have cognition and self-awareness – we have the supposedly higher cognitive ability to identify meaning and consequence beyond the stimulus response.  This is our “mind”, or “willpower”, or “drive”… But if we allow ourselves to routinize, or continue to believe we are less than we deserve, or suffer stress of our jobs unnecessarily:  our routines become ruts, and our bodies react accordingly.  Ulcers, weakened immune systems, gray hair to say the least as potential consequences to the stimuli over time.

As we routinize everything from our activities, our thoughts and/or opinions, and our responses, our neurons build pathways and connections.  The more we experience those reactions, the more entrenched the neural pathways, and eventually they are neural superhighways, which then only cataclysmic change will alter there course… or subtly affecting change over a long period of time.

If you have given up, you body will show it.  Posture changes, weight loss or gain is unchecked, etc… if you always think of yourself as the victim, you’ll project that in your eyes and in your posture.

We are partially created by our nurturing environment and our natural predisposition – but also by how we choose to react to things… no matter the previous experience, how we react is ultimately up to us.

In a society that treats the body as a secondary afterthought, with intense focus on our minds – specifically the abilities use of rational thought and knowledge regurgitation, our approach to our bodies has been lost… we have begun telling our newer generations that their bodies are secondary to their education.  “Get good grades first, worry about sports later” is the apparent sentiment when funding for, or access to, sports and physical education programs gets cut in public school programs.

Paradoxically, a healthy body is one of the outlets for a healthy mind.  With exceptions acknowledged and accepted, a healthy body is an indicator to a healthy mind.  Note that I am not saying a mechanically fit or aesthetically perfect body are the standards; a few extra pounds, or a limb from an accident, etc. are not indications of a slovenly or self-destructive mind.

A balance must be struck between the two, the mind and the body.  A negotiation between knowledge and experience would go far… a clear mind, focused, honest, unhindered by the insecurities of our past, etc. can be seen in the walk and mannerisms of a person.

Another association I’ve had to this concept is one that says, “our bodies cry the tears we won’t” – and this is seen in the growth of stress related diseases and reduced immunities prevalent in todays society.

Draw your own conclusions to this comment; look around you.  Do you see people carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders?  Do you see people puffed out, pumped up, or otherwise posturing to cover up their insecurities?

Look at yourself and see your rut, or the last time you laughed so very loud.  Evaluate the world you live in, and realize that your body is responding to what your mind is creating…

You have the face you’ve earned by 40…

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