The Three-fold Being and Bodily Health
The writer in his late seventies
Health and Happiness are integrally linked
Three-fold Being and Bodily Health
We are three-fold beings yet most of us see ourselves, albeit vaguely, as a duopoly. We experience ourselves through a 'veil of thought' and not with the clarity of who we really are. Because of this we are, for the most part, unhappy with our lives. This is, as it has so often been pointed out, because we're not living life. We are not in 'The Now,' which is the only part of life any of us ever has at any time. Rather we are dwelling in our memories or in our anticipations. We're absentminded, in the sense we're not experiencing our life as it is.
We need to be balanced across the three major aspects of our life to experience happiness longterm
Yet we are three-fold beings. We're made up of body, mind and spirit. These should be all of equal importance to us. They could be compared to a three-legged stool. Each leg gives us balance. If one of those legs is shorter than the others, then we're not stable. If one leg is not there at all, we topple. So it is in our interest to ensure we have all legs supporting us if we are to remain stable, firm on the ground, throughout our lives. When we are 'firm on the ground' we're better able to experience the joy which we actually are. For in our essence we are Joy. We are love, joy, compassion and infinite understanding. But most of us never get to realize that.
First ocean-going ship I ever sailed in. The 21,000 ton P & O liner TSS Mooltan
Rare, indeed, are those really quiet moments
I said that most of us see ourselves as a duopoly. Yet this is rarely noticed. Most of the time we are 'in there' somewhere, identifying and absorbed in our thought and assuming we are that thought. So much of the time we believe our verbal thought, our biased and conditioned beliefs are what we are. Rare, indeed, is that truly quiet moment when we see life clearly and as it is. Most of the time, the part of us we are identifying with, would like things to be different.
It is our beliefs which make for our happiness or unhappiness. So we need to develop a life philosophy that makes for the former rather than the latter. This means some emphasis needs to be placed on that most neglected area of our lives - our Spirituality.
The most profound question we can ever ask ourselves
The most profound question we can ever ask of ourselves is "What am I?" Which immediately brings up the question: "Who is doing the asking?" It is, of course, you. It is the real you doing the asking. It is a question that has come from you, through your mind, your brain, and manifested as words which have meaning. But the words are not you, neither is the question. You are the questioner. You are the witness. You are the experiencer of your life through your mind and body. The major part of who we are often does not become clear to us until the very end of life - if it does then - when we realize what was really in charge all along: our Spiritual Self.
A Royal Australan Navy's training ship: The tiny minesweeper, HMAS Gladstone
If we're healthy, we tend not concern ourselves with our body
But in physical life we need balance. Let us look just one aspect - our physicality. Of our trio of being, our physicality is something we can examine and experience most easily. However, it must be remembered that Body, Mind and Spirit make up what we are. We cannot separate them, even though they may seem to be separate.
Our bodies make themselves felt to us through our senses - especially touch. Feelings and emotions are felt in the body. Our bodies also indicate to us our state of health. If we're healthy, we tend not to concern ourselves with our body, other than to enjoy what it can do for us. We can go for a walk, take in a scene, eat food for pleasure, talk and listen, enjoy sex, relax in a swimming pool. There are almost limitless things we can do within the parameters of what a healthy human body will allow.
Pain is always relative to the situation
On the other side of things, when our health is not good, our energy levels are down. We could experience fatigue, aches and pains, even real agony. When the symptoms of sickness are apparent we can't be readily happy. Yet even this is relative. For example, if we were lying in bed in moderate pain, and then we receive some really good news, then we would, at least for a moment or so, ignore - even temporarily forget - our pain and savour in both our mind and body, the good news. The interpretation is that when our bodies are not negatively drawing our attention, happiness has more chance to arise.
The object of good health, as I see it, is to be healthy enough to not have to think about one's health. So how can we bring this about?
Some basic understanding is needed.
The 20,000 ton aircraft carrier, HMAS Sydney
Nothing is permanent - except our real self: the Witness, the Observer, the Experiencer of our lives
Everything changes - and so do our bodies. Every moment of every minute our body is changing! changing! CHANGING! The sub-atomic particles which make up our atoms, which make up our molecules, which make up our cells, are arising and passing away at a astronomical rate. Apparently a Nobel Laureate from Berkeley University many years ago proved that every particle that makes up our physicality arises and passes away at zillions of times per second. In other words, the man who jumps under the shower for ten minutes has, in fact, a different body when his shower is over. That is how physical aging occurs. Life is wearing out our bodies. But we are not our bodies. We are Life Itself. We are a conscious point of life with a will - according to the late Roberto Assagioli, MD., and find in myself no argument with that.
The patterns which make us up change over time. However pattern changes are gradual. But they are inevitable. Despite what marketers of cosmetics might claim, no one grows younger.
Keeping the body fit and strong is best done with a three-fold approach
One way to slow the inevitable changes is physical exercise. We can't stop the aging process. It's pointless to try. Yet we can retain the effects of a younger body for longer. We can have the blessings of having a seemingly younger body: more energy, strength, zest, through regular exercise. However, for maximum effectiveness, the exercise in itself needs also be three-fold. We need bodily strength, aerobic fitness, and suppleness - to gain the increased energy which goes along with these. These qualities are what we had when we were in our youth; these are what we need to focus on if we are to retain our youthful attributes into middle, and even old age.
The right attitude or our personal philosophy of life also plays a big part in this 'keeping us young' but I won't go more into this at this stage.
The WW2 Riveclass Frigage HMAS Barcoo, run aground at Glenelg in South Australia
Our bodies weren't made for the perpetual sedentary life. That why we've got legs
In order to retain our muscular strength we need to regularly exercise, that is, use, our muscles. In our sedentary world this generally means taking up some sort of sport, or hobby which involves the use of our larger muscles. Probably the simplest way is to join a gym and attend two or three times a week. We don't need to become world-champion weight lifters or body builders. We do have to work hard enough to raise a sweat.
Breathing is our top priority. Yes, even more cricial than water, food, drink and rest
On the aerobic side, we need to increase our depth of breathing and our breathing rate through muscular exercise. This will get our hearts pumping blood faster and with greater pressure. This in turn will assist our circulatory systems to clear out impurities which have accumulated in our tissues and, of course, strengthen that essential organ, our heart.
But on top of aerobic exercise, and muscular exercise, we need to retain our bodily suppleness. This can be done by simply doing a few Hatha Yoga stretches, or similar, on a regular basis. Say a couple of times a week. As it has been said, "We are as young as our spines are supple."
The 540 ton WW2 boom defence ship, HMAS Kookaburra
Okay, so our bodies are made of "The dust of the earth."
Our bodies are, of course, made up of what we eat. It may be said that we're made up of the "Dust of the Earth." But we can't live by eating only dust, even though the necessary minerals lie within.
The human body is a wonderful instrument with great tolerances. It will work, respond to, and behave for us even if we do not give it optimum health attention. We can eat an unbalanced diet for a long time. But our bodies will not put up with that indefinitely. Eventually, if the food it requires is not provided it will begin to break down. Many people are not that far away from breakdown for much of their lives without their realizing it. And it is all self-imposed.
The aging process - does it have to happen so quickly?
Over the years I have noticed - and no doubt you have to- how people look so remarkably different in body-build between, say, twenty-five, and forty-five. The youthful body has so often given way to a paunch, double chin, and more than a little flab. Yet this is considered normal. That said, in the 'uncivilized' parts of the world, where natives roam in search of food, it is commonplace to see men of sixty and seventy no fatter than men who are a third their age. I doubt the Masai cattle herders have many middle aged 'fatties,' and before the their introduction to Western culture, most Australian Aborigines were fit and slim all of their lives
The 762 ton HMAS Kimbla
People get quite indignant when they'e told about the truth of their bodies
I expect the reason those tribesmen who live in lands where they're still hunter gatherers, not only do not live sedentary lives, they do not eat except when they are actually hungry. Neither are they subjected to the 'artificial flavours' and 'added ingredients' that we in the more 'civilized' parts of the world are. When food is not aplenty and variety not exceedingly wide, people seem to be the healthier for it.
For example, when I was a lad back in the 1940s in England and there was food rationing, it was rare to see an overweight person. Even rarer to see an overweight child. Nowadays it's a epidemic. Moreover, people are beginning to accept being overweight as the norm. People get indignant when subjected to the truth about their bodies. Of course, when we get indignant, or offended, it is because a part of us knows that what is being said is true, and that always invokes an ego-induced fear.
We cannot be happy for long in an unhealthy body
We live in a world where, because of the enormous amounts of additives, especially sugar, and the over-eating habits of the majority of our population, Type 2 Diabetes, or 'Onset Diabetes' as it is also called, is commonplace. Why? Mainly because people will not exercise enough, but will eat more than enough. This, of course, leads to ill-health which, in turn, leads to unpleasant symptoms, which leads to unhappiness.
We cannot be happy for long in an unhealthy body.
The Danish Ice-reinforced ship, MV Nella Dan aground on Macquarie Island
Get the body fit, and work on the mind. As you do that, you're coming from your Spirit
We've dealt only briefly with that one leg of the trio needed for balance - the physical body. It gets more complex when we start to get serious about our minds. And even more complex again when we start dealing with our Spirituality. Yet if we are to be happy, we do need to deal with Body, Mind, and Spirit. Escapism does not help. We are what we are. So the more we understand ourselves, the better our chances of dwelling in that quality we all long for so much - happiness.