“Remember that the body is the temple of the soul. Those who mistreat the body tend to mistreat the soul within. Observe vital health laws, such as exercise, healthy diet, and self-control.” ~ Susan Santucci, Pathways to the Spirit
I think it is safe to say that the majority of us tend to mistreat our bodies in many ways–through neglect, disrespect, overuse, overconsumption, covering them with chemicals, filling them with chemicals, and all other sorts of abuse and activities that do not treat our bodies as if they are the temple for our souls. And yet they are the very temple that houses our souls in this life; they are truly amazing creations and wonderful gifts. But if we abuse them or fail to take proper care of them, they will begin to cease functioning properly and fail us, thereby diminishing the quality of our time here on Earth.
And yet we seldom think about the effects our unhealthy habits have on our bodies or souls. It is easy for me to drink five sodas in a day and never consider the effects the caffeine and additives have on my body. And it is easy to consume unhealthy foods, or even more food than I need, without keeping in mind that for every pound of fat I put on my body, my heart must work all the harder, and my muscles have to work harder to compensate for that extra pound of weight, and my joints become all the more strained.
Far more concerning, is the fact that our bodies are the physical, outward manifestations of our being, and thus, it should be much easier for us to see the ways in which we are treating them. But if we have difficulty with that, what about the much more hidden internal part of our being–our souls? The good news, as Susan points out, is that we need not look much further than how we treat our bodies, for they house our souls. And the ways in which we treat our bodies are usually an accurate reflection of how we treat our spiritual selves as well–if we neglect our bodies, then there is a high likelihood that we neglect our souls as well. And if we mistreat our bodies by indulging in harmful chemicals such as drugs and unhealthy foods, then we probably mistreat our spiritual selves, too, by exposing them to unhealthy thoughts, images, and ideas.
How much time and care do I put into taking care of my body? Do I neglect it, not giving it enough healthy food or exercise? Do I keep my body clean and functional? Do I use my body in a disrespectful manner? Do I allow my body the opportunity to rest and recuperate? Am I constantly aware of all that I am doing and not doing? We must take care of our bodies, for they are our soul’s vessel upon the oceans of life.
Think of your body today as a ship that needs tending to.
Questions to consider:
How does it become so easy for us to neglect our bodies over long periods of time?
What kinds of things do you do that keep your body from being the best that it can be? Why do you do them?
What does it mean for our bodies to be the “temples of our souls?” Do we normally treat them as we would temples when we visit them?
For further thought:
“The body is the soul’s house. Shouldn’t we therefore take care of our house so that it doesn’t fall into ruin?” ~ Philo Judaeus, The Worse Attacks the Better, Section 10