Time to stop hating these bodies.
I can get why the old religions used to hate the body so much.
Imagine the old monks, whipping themselves, to rid their bodies of their ‘sinful’ desires.
They developed a world view where we were pure spirits trapped inside a primitive and disgusting body.
The spirit’s quest was to tame the disgusting and gross body, so the spirit could have full expression.
I think that idea is partly right. Growing up is about learning how to control the animal body in a social context. The reality is, I can’t poo wherever I want. There are social consequences. And so I learn to control my bodily functions, and poo in the designated places at the appropriate times.
And when all of society does this, then we end up with a massively superior collective outcomes.
So the quest for mastery over the body is a good thing.
However, it doesn’t have to be done through hate. It doesn’t have to be done through whips and chains. It doesn’t have to be done through shame and judgement.
The old paradigms are starting to relax. The sexual revolution in the 60s overturned the idea that sex was a horrid business – something you just tried to get it over with as quickly as possible.
Now, we’re open to the idea that sex can be fun. Even lots of fun. And even those people who believe that sex should be contained in the sanctity of marriage are generally now open to the idea that sex can and should be a pleasurable experience.
We’ve come a long way.
But we still carry the echoes of body-hate. We still carry around this idea that we are a spirit trapped in a body. Even if we’re starting to enjoy some aspects of having a body, it’s still a sort of cage. A holding cell. An annoying and needy thing that gets cold, hungry, painful, fat, hairy, gassy and any number of other inconveniences.
If only people could see through this ugly slab of meat to the pure and beautiful spirit that I truly am.
And if only I wasn’t limited by this forgetful, slow and farty beast, I could do amazing things.
If we accept that there’s a distinction between mind and body (we can talk about that another time), how do you think the body feels to hear you talking like that?
How does it feel when you stand in the mirror and lament the hair where there shouldn’t be hair, the cellulite where there shouldn’t be cellulite, the wrinkles that weren’t there yesterday?
How does the body feel when the spirit that has chosen it hates it? When the spirit just wishes it was somewhere else, somewhere better, somewhere more Brad Pitty?
And if, instead, the spirit turns and loves its home, doesn’t that feel like a homecoming? Like a joyous surrender? Like wave of grace.
Isn’t that the union the mystics talk about?
So give your body a break. You’d be lost in space without it.