So this morning as I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I couldn't help but notice a picture of one my artist friends, dancing in the sun. Her caption on the photo explained that she was enjoying her body, as it was a temporary thing, on loan to her for the time being.
This was a new idea to me, the idea of our bodies being “on loan”, so to speak. As I thought about the idea more I realized it was a very interesting way to look at ourselves.
Man is made up of mind, body, soul and spirit. The body is temporary. Almost every religion believes that the body does not go with us after death. It rots and deteriorates while the soul and spirit move onward.
If the body is temporary then so too must be the mind, since the mind lives inside the brain, which is an organ of the body. The mind is where we get our logic from. It's our decision making process and logistical machine. While this is very important in every day life, I think it is thought-provoking to realize that this too is a temporary element of ourselves.
That leaves us with the soul and the spirit. These two things are universally recognized as eternal – they don't die with our bodies and minds – they live on in a variety of ways which none of us fully understand. However, the point is not to understand how they live on, but to understand how we live with them now.
Soul-inspiring practices are often right-brained activities such as dancing, painting, making music, making love and creating new things. The simplest way to feed the soul is by engaging the five senses: touching, feeling, seeing, hearing and tasting. It's the small things. Gazing at a flower, inhaling fresh air, or going for a walk are all ways we feed our souls.
Likewise, the spirit is fed in ways our body and mind are not. Spiritual practices involve reaching outside of our earthly minds and bodies and encapsulating a greater purpose and meaning. This is a very intangible activity, thus it is very hard to describe. Perhaps the intangibility is a clue to the eternal ways of the spirit.
So why do we spend so much time focusing on our body image and educational level, when in the end those things return to dust? Wouldn't we be much more suited to focus our energy on nurturing our soul and spirit? After all, where do most of us turn when we reach the brink of sanity? Where do we turn when we feel as though everything is falling apart? The wisest among us turn towards feeding their soul and spirit. It's how we maintain. It's how we survive. Most importantly, it's how we thrive.
Artists often understand this better than anyone. Great works of art are not logically thought out, but they are born of the spirit or imagined in the soul and thus captured in a tangible work of art.
What can you do today to feed your soul? How can you nurture your inner spirit? What are your thoughts about your body being temporary and your mind being on rent?