Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More than Just Diet and Exercise.

Diet and exercise may make me slim and fit: they won't change my life.

And I do want to change my life. No, that's not quite right: I want to change myself.

I want to be more content with what we have.
I want to be less angry.
I want to have more joy.

I was reading some blog entries at Exploring Life today. I came across this, credited to Joseph Pilates:
It is the mind itself which builds the body.
(The entire article is wonderful. If you are intrigued, do check it out here.)

Brian Alger goes on to write:
If the mind builds the body, then the body is a result of what we choose to think about. This means that the body responds directly to what we think, and therefore how we feel. source.
My body is the manifestation of my mind--it is what you get when you live with anger and without contentment and joy.

The path to a leaner body, then, is through my mind (but not necessarily my thoughts. Exploring my thoughts and examining them and wrestling with them is fine, to a point, but I am coming more and more to the conclusion that it is an indulgence. How I love my insights!). Rather, I'm beginning to suspect, the path through my mind may be no more complicated than what Buddhism calls the practice of mindfulness. (I'm reading Savor; Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh and it is messing with my head.)

How I feel is the result of my thoughts--but not just my thoughts. That, I think, is a Western conceit (and limitation). How I feel is also the result of the way my body reacts to those thoughts. That is the case most literally: my endocrine system interacts with my brain and most definitely creates joy and satisfaction, anxiety and panic and so on.

Thus, I can change how I feel either through changing my body--or my thoughts--but most probably--through changing both simultaneously.

No idea how. On the look-out though for both a method and a teacher.

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