Like many famous sayings, this one originates from the Bible:
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
When you consider the traditional definition of a “temple,” its becomes clear why we should think of our bodies in the same way. A temple includes the following elements:
- it is a place dedicated to worship
- it includes a divine presence within it
- it is a place reserved for a highly valued function
So, what does this mean with respect to your body, and your treatment of it?
Well, first of all, do you worship your body – that is, do you take care of it? This includes not only daily hygiene, but also regular exercise, healthful food choices, and meditation for mental health. Among other things, you should consider a daily walk, 7-8 hours of restful sleep and several servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
But just as there is no size fits all, recommendations for a healthy body will vary from individual to individual. You may need more sleep than some. Perhaps you cannot drink coffee. Only you can decide what feels best from a health standpoint and then act accordingly.
Do you believe that your body has within it a divine presence? I do! In fact, when you think about it, the human form – and actually all living creatures – are miraculous. You don’t have to will your lungs to fill with air, or your heart to beat. Neurons in the brain flicker constantly and blood pumps through our system over thousands of miles of vessels. Understandably, people have marveled at the wonder that is our living body, and many attribute its existence to a higher being.
When you consider the third element, the fact that your body is reserved for a highly valued function, there are two considerations. First – what is important to you? That is, what do you live for each day? And second – how can you best preserve your ability to do the things that you enjoy? Like the temples in which people worship, your body serves you each and every day. It is the vessel through which we reach our potential, and strive towards our hopes and dreams.
Perhaps you love the outdoors, like I do? In order to achieve this valued function, you will tend to your body’s muscles to keep them strong, and avoid harmful behaviors like smoking. Just as the owner of a building checks the foundation, pipes and insulation, you need to have regular health check-ups and tend to the proper functioning of your body through diet, exercise and healthy relationships.
Do not take your body for granted!
If you agree that you should treat your body like a temple, then treat it with the utmost respect and care. Healthy living requires considered decisions concerning stress reduction, regular exercise and good food choices. This is the way to honor the divine within, and to preserve your body for its higher functions! Worship your body for all that it does for you… carrying you around to visit friends, allowing you to enjoy nature’s beauty, and the ability to engage each of your senses in the wonder of life!
Even if you are not a religious person, it is helpful to consider your body as an important edifice – it is indeed the foundation on which your good health and well-being is based.
I have often said that happiness comes from your own being. You are the caretaker of your body and your soul! As a musician, I just love this quote:
“Life is like a piano… what you get out of it depends on how you play it.”