So I've recently been reading the 7 Habits by the wonderful Dr. Covey. One of the things he suggests in the book is that you read the book with an eye towards teaching the concepts to others. So I thought one way to make that really hit home for me is to write a few blog posts about my reflections on the concepts he presents in relation to finding balance in both body and mind.
One of the concepts he introduces early on is the idea of finding a balance between P, which stands for production and PC, which stand for production capability. An easy way to think of this is when making coffee: Coffee is the product, while the Coffee Maker is the production capacity. The goal is to find a balance between these two, so that produce the best product, while keeping your capacity at a sustainable level.
Often when we exercise we have a hard time striking the balance between the two, because they are both very intimate to us. When we seek balance through fitness, our bodies are both the P and the PC in this equation. We use our body, to improve our body. Of course there is something very poetic about that as well. In one way, it's very easy to maintain this balance, because the more effort we put into our body, the P, the more we build our fitness, the PC, which lets us put more effort into P. The problem comes when we separate ourselves from our bodies. When we make our bodies the problem.
No matter what your fitness level your body is a product of 2 things:
1.Your karmic patterns.
2. Your mind.
Let's take a quick look at the first. Your body is a very clear example of karma. Karma can be very complicated, but fundamentally it's just cause and effect. You body is the result of a combination of causes. Things like heart disease are caused by family history (genetic cause), how active you were growing up (past cause), and what your diet is life (nutrition cause). This isn't supposed to make you critical of your actions. Instead thinking this way encourages us to notice, 'oh my body is a combination of factors some of which I can control, some of which I can't. This also means that your future body will be a result of current causes and conditions. I'm never going to be 6ft tall no matter how fit I get, but depending on what I do today I can change how fit I am in the future. What I do today is a gift to my future self. What gift do I want to give?
The second factor is your mind. Not only is our body image largely determined by our mind, but also our actual body represents the way in which our mind turns. Karma starts with a single thought, which then turns into repeated thoughts or actions or both. Those thoughts and actions turn into patterns, but it is all dependent on that original thought. When we bring more awareness to our minds we make it possible to see our thoughts and step in between them and the things that come afterwards.
Awareness it the key to transforming our way of thinking. By acknowledging that our current body is the result of past factors and past states of mind, it becomes clear how important it is to have a compassionate attitude and approach to our fitness. If we make our body the enemy to achieve fitness, we are focusing on the P but not the PC. We are focusing on the effects, but not the causes of our future self. Fitness must start with a gratitude for the body we have now. Your body is the vehicle that will take you where you want to go. If you treat it with honor and respect you will be giving your future self a body that has been honored and respected. If you treat it with disdain and criticism, you give your future self a body that has been criticized. Which body do you want to give yourself?
Take sometime at the end of the day or before you workout to reflect on all the good things your body has done for you. Reflect on how it's carried you along, digested your food, helped you do work, and all the other things you can do because you have a body. Then take some time to think about and write down the gifts you want to give your future self. More ease, more confidence, a half marathon finish, appreciation, whatever it is remember that your future self is relying on this very body, this very mind, to help it manifest. Your body and your mind are your companions, your teammates on the path to a balanced life.
Thanks for reading and be well.