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A Prayer of Gratitude for my Body

I want express my gratitude for my body. What a hero it is. A true hero. I hardly know where to begin.

The first thing that comes to me is the simple fact, the simple miracle, that this physical body in which I live is still in service. It’s still here. It has survived all the trauma and tribulations that have populated my life. It has survived the trauma of loss. It has survived the trauma of illness. It has survived a host of challenges and tribulations which need no detailing here.

I'm well into my seventh decade. The big 80 is getting close. But here's the thing. Yes, there are signs of aging, of course. But the amazing, remarkable truth is that this body has not only survived -- in some ways, maybe working out at the gym the past seven years is a factor, though not all of it, I feel stronger and lighter, in better shape than I ever have before. It’s ridiculous, I know. But I’m aware of a little swagger, for example, in my walk. Believe me, though there was more energy, of course, in earlier days – I don’t remember there being a swagger in years gone by.

It feels quite good, actually. It’s not too BIG of a swagger, of course. I’m British, you know.

But enough of that. I want to focus on my hands. I'm looking at them right now. If you want to see an example of mutual respect and cooperation in action, look at your hands. Really look.

I don't suppose I could even begin to cover the intricate and exquisite ways that my hands have worked together just in the past hour or two. I was over at the gym this morning. How perfectly designed my hands are to lift stuff. And then, when I am finished with some weights, to carry them back to the stand and replace them where they belong.

Then there was breakfast. It all worked out very well, thanks to my hands. How it worked was this. One hand held the teaspoon with which I scoffed down a perfectly boiled egg. The other hand, without any feeling of inferiority I could see, played another essential role, picking up my toast when necessary and conveying it into my mouth.

There are many examples I can think of at the physical level when I contemplate the miracle of creation and engineering my physical body represents. But that is only the beginning of the story. What about the mind that this body supports, and in some mysterious manner, facilitates and sustains?

Without this mind, how could I function? I simply could not begin to address such a complex task as composing a post for transmission into something called the blogosphere – a mysterious world utterly unknown to me until three or four months ago.

But even this scarcely begins to suggest the full scope of gratitude that I feel. For there is yet another divine wonder that my physical body facilitates, and it is this. This body has made it possible to express my unique, timeless spirit into this world. How can you put a price on that?

Because of this body, and only because of this body, I have been able to express love. I have been able to receive love. I have been able to walk with Nature. I have been able to follow my dream of finding the Truth. I have been able to write books. I have been able to read books. I can speak a word of endearment to my wife. And so on and so forth.

I can laugh. I can tell jokes, even though the quality sometimes leaves a little to be desired.

We have found a lot of ways to express honor and appreciation in this world. We have a day to commemorate the earth, for example. We have days to honor great figures from the past, Abraham Lincoln, perhaps, Martin Luther King, and so on. We have days in which we remember Mom, and Dad. We have a day, rightly so, to commemorate the memory of all the brave men and women who have given their lives in the service of their country.

I want to take this day to honor the blessing my physical body has been to me, and still is.

Obviously, there will be a time when I am required to release this body, that it may return to the elements from which it was made. There was a time when this particular form did not exist – there will be a time when, like all form, it ceases to be.

But in the meantime, there is this little interlude which it seems to me is vitally significant for everyone of us.

We have the opportunity, if we will, because of this physical body to come to know ourselves as we truly are in this world, that we may fulfill our mission here as effectively and usefully as possible. We have the opportunity to become conscious of our own timeless presence – to bathe in the happiness and bliss of our own changeless, unconquerable, Being.

What rare gift is this? What greater gift could our bodies offer to us than this?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Leela June 23, 2009 at 1:58 pm

What lovely insights. Much gratitude to you for putting it out there.
Leela

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colleen Johnson August 2, 2009 at 7:54 am

It felt so good to tell my body what a hero I thought it was and to send it loving thoughts for all it allows me to experience.
I felt its gracious appreciation for my gratitude. Thanks for the reminder!

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Christopher Foster August 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

Thank you for this Colleen. Your words convey beautifully the potential we have in any moment to stop and really feel and appreciate our living connection with our body. I love how you could actually feel your body’s gratitude for your appreciation. We love our pets. We value their love, their devotion. Our pets are great friends. Our body is a great friend, too — perhaps our greatest friend in this world.

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