Spiritual Directors International

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Your Body Is Divine - Listen to It and Make a Friend for Life

Guest Author: 
Janice L. Lundy, DMin

"The body is a multilingual being. It speaks through its color and its temperature, the flush of recognition, the glow of love, the ash of pain, the heat of arousal, the coldness of non-conviction . . . It speaks through the leaping of the heart, the falling of the spirits, the pit at the center, and rising hope."

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

Being in your particular body may not be easy. You may have aches and pains, bumps and bulges, each a source of inner conflict. You may not feel at peace in your body, much less at home in it.

And, yet, in spiritual circles, the body is often spoken of as a beautiful resting place, a divine abode, a source of true wisdom. The Buddha himself said, “Your body is your temple, if you treat it like one.”

If this is true, how can we relate to our body in ways that will serve us well and enhance our spiritual well-being? What wisdom found through body awareness and care can we offer those we companion?

I offer here three lovely and loving pathways for us to consider:

See your body as a dwelling place for the Holy

Remember your breath, your sacred breath? Nothing is holier, more healing, than connecting with this divinely sourced breath that moves effortlessly through your body, minute by minute. What a gift! And one that you don’t need to do anything with except to receive it, remember it, and return to awareness of it throughout your day.

The Divine One chooses to dwell in your body in this way. It doesn’t judge you or say you are not good enough. It flows through every cell of your being without hesitation. It accepts you as you are and wants to live within you, every moment of every day--until it doesn’t—and then your physical form will expire while the essence of you makes its ultimate transition.

Treat your body like a loving companion

Befriend your body and spend gentle time with it, just like you would a dear friend. Treat it kindly, touch it lovingly, speak to it sweetly—and watch how it responds. If your body is regarded as a friend, you will enjoy inhabiting it a whole lot more!

Even in the midst of aches and pains, you can rest into your body, curl up into it, and be with it like a little child. As Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, you can say to your body, “I am here for you.” This means being fully present to yourself as you are right now. You are not at odds with your body. You can say to your body, “I am right here with you, holding you tenderly.” Your body will thank you by relaxing, resting, and repairing itself from any duress.

Listen to your body as a wise guide

The body has more wisdom than we give it credit for. It holds all the memories of the past, the desires of the present, and hopes for the future. It knows what it wants and needs from you in this very moment—if you have the heart-mind to hear it.

If your body says it’s tired, don’t dismiss the message; let it rest. If it craves sunshine or water, supply it. If it wishes the comfort of touch, caress it. The body demands so little of us. It serves us so well--until it doesn’t. Train yourself to listen to your body’s urgings so you know how to treat it in a sacred manner. Its wisdom will come in the form of a soft voice—your own! Simply listen like a good friend would, then give it what it needs to feel healthy and whole.

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Optional affirmation to use

I bow to my sacred dwelling place,

this body of breath, blood and bones

that have served me from the day of my birth.

I thank the Divine One for giving me such a precious gift,

a temple to dwell in,

a vessel to experience this world and all its glories.

With thankfulness and gratitude I bow.

 

Editor's note:  Please be aware that Jan is co-presenting our webinar "Spiritual Companionship for the Spiritually Independent" starting soon... Learn more here:   https://www.sdiworld.org/educational-event/spiritual-companionship-spiritually-independent


 

Dr. Janice Lundy is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute which provides education and certification in interfaith and interspiritual direction. She is an interfaith/interspiritual guide herself, the author of several spiritual formation books including Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be and My Deepest Me. She is also the creator of the Pure Presence® method of compassionate listening. She is currently Visiting Professor of Spiritual Direction at The Graduate Theological Foundation. She resides in Michigan, USA.

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