In the Body

7 Oct

I have been a proponent of the body for a long time. Because it’s the house in which I live, I try not to vacate or abandon it and to enjoy and take care of it. Our bodies encapsulate our entire life experience – holding an imprint of feelings, relationships and events. It is the vessel through which we enter and exit the world. For all these reasons, I find it significant. 

Lately, the body has been on my mind for a number of reasons. One, because I work in an eating disorder program, a disorder that is partially characterized by disembodiment or an inability to tolerate the somatic experience. Interestingly, current trends in recovery for this disorder focus strongly on cognition, placing great emphasis on the mind to assist in re-programing one’s behavior and feelings about oneself and the body. While this is definitely valuable there are many additional components necessary to healing the body/mind/spirit relationship. How then do we learn to feel comfortable in our skins? How do we make peace with being in a body? And in the world? With all its strife and suffering. 

Perhaps part of the answer lies in the body itself. Breathing. Touching. Moving. Singing. Crying. Talking. Laughing. And simply being still enough so that we can feel whatever it is we are feeling. Hot. Cold. Tired. Irritated. Happy. Sad.

The other half of the equation entails turning to God. To God’s face. To God’s Body. 

As I deepen in my understanding of faith and Christianity, I am touched that there is support for the body. My naive assumption was that religion would negate the body – make it bad, impure, indecent. But I’m discovering that it is the opposite. The body is valued. In fact, the body is sacred, which is why we take measures to treat ours and other people’s respectively. Not only that, the son of God came to the world in a body, left in a body and was resurrected in a body. So the body can’t be that bad. And in fact, it might be significant if God chose to come through this channel. 

Not only that, when we talk about the church, we talk about it as a body. We are “in the body of Christ.” That to me is a beautiful concept. In fact, my pastor actually told me that in the body of Christ, it is as if the followers share the same spiritual DNA. I love that. I guess it would make sense that when people’s minds and spirits are aligned in Christ, the very molecular structure might correspond, if not literarily then metaphorically. Because the body is significant. It is a temple through which we experience God. If we can quiet the mind and integrate all the other aspects of being.

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