Taking Care of the Material Body and the Person Inside

Taking Care of Body & Mind
(Originally published in aspIRe Magazine Issue 15)

I would like to share with you all my thoughts on a subject that’s very close to my heart – how to achieve overall soundness of body and soul.

We all have ego. The real meaning of ego is the self – I am. But sometimes, we put on a false ego. This false ego takes on many shapes and forms. For instance, if you identify yourself as a doctor and that’s what you call yourself, that’s a false ego. You are using a label to describe yourself; it’s not who you really are. You were not always a doctor or may not even be a doctor for the rest of your life. This goes for any other label you may give yourself. The false ego is the conditioning of a person to his/her environment. It is influenced by factors such as occupation, religion, nationality and name, among others. This false ego becomes your identity. This false identity then makes up who you are. Your success or happiness will be based on who you think you are. If you have misidentified yourself as a material body, false identity equals false goals. If I identify myself with my material body, I would automatically think that the more I indulge or gratify my senses, the happier I will be. I’ll associate my happiness with food or buy all the latest fashion just to keep myself happy.

If you think you’re the material body, you become the senses that comprise the body. So what would be your goal in life? Sense gratification. However, that should not be the case. You are doing that only to fill up your emptiness inside.

You have to understand that you’re not just the material body. There’s a person inside that you’re forgetting. Let me use a birdcage as an analogy. A cage is not just a cage. There’s usually a bird living in it. If you don’t feed the bird everyday, it will die. If you’re just cleaning the cage and neglecting the bird inside, it will without a doubt die. What’s the point of having a nice, shiny cage if it’s empty?

Similarly, what’s the point of taking good care of your body but neglecting the person inside? If you speak of success, what is it to you? Is it having a lot of money but ending up destroying your body by drinking, smoking and eating junk food? Does that equal success? Do you work so hard to make money only to engage in activities that would end up harming your body? Or, can success be something else? Such as, using that money to become a better person, a better citizen of the world. Do we not all want to be better people?

The real ego is you – the self, spirit-soul. The spirit-soul is the consciousness that sustains the whole body. Without my consciousness or awareness, I would not be able to type this message. When the soul leaves the body, the body dies. When the body is unable to function properly due to a disease or old age, the soul has to leave. Essentially, death only pertains to the material body because the soul is eternal.

So, take good care of yourself. Feed yourself with food for the mind, body and spirit. Eat healthy. Exercise. Spend time with yourself by communing with nature and meditating. Read books that give you spiritual enrichment and enhance your understanding of the human experience. Love and respect all living beings. Contribute to the betterment of the society.

23 thoughts on “Taking Care of the Material Body and the Person Inside

  1. TRUTH INDEED JAPA ? !

    I am fighting to quit SMOKING from very long time … But I couldn’t able to quit SMOKING ?!

    How to quit SMOKING immediately JAPA ?!?

    • Madan, you can’t just kick out an old habit without replacing it with some activity of a higher nature.
      It is easier to give up something when it’s replaced with something sweeter.
      I advice you to take up meditation in particular Japa or silent meditation to ease your agitated mind.
      You are trying to fill some emptiness or void. Somehow people think it’s smoking that can fill that up.
      No amount of smoking or intoxicant can fill in the emptiness of the soul.
      You need to feed the soul with spiritual nourishment.
      You are not the body, you are spirit in nature Sat-Eternal. The needs of the soul, your needs can’t be fulfilled materially.

  2. Hi Japa,
    I really loved this article. I have a challenge in my life which reflects in my business as well, i get fired up sometimes and work really hard but as time moves i tend to loose motivation and loose energy and get stuck there till someone or some event motivates me. I am not able to live in the present moment with bad thoughts from past and about my future passing my mind.Can you suggest me few ways of improving myself which will help me live in present.

    Thanku,
    Goutam :)

    • Hello, Goutham! There are 2 ways that a person can get fired up or motivated; One is externally, that is when we are with a group, a club, who we associate with, attending a motivational talk, seeing a movie, being with a positive person, etc. These external forms of motivation are good but they will only last 3 days or a week. The fire created is external and can also easily die down when it’s dampened by others.

      The lasting motivation is internal and it is moved by one’s vision and mission.

      It’s a passion, a burning desire, that cannot be dampened by anyone. Whereas it motivates anyone who associates with you.

      Such enthusiasm is what wakes you up in the morning, despite weather conditions, emotional state, etc.

      No one can give you internal motivation; it is something that is born inside of you when you get tired of your existing condition and want to make a true change.

      Example: No overweight person can lose weight even if he has a hundred fitness trainers.
      It’s a decision that he has to make himself; the rest are simply his tools to achieve his goals.

  3. Hi Japa,

    Its an awesome article!!!

    I actually will know something is wrong or right subconciously but when comes to practical situation, I tend to commit mistakes or speak wrong to people at times.I think not to focus on negatives at all but again will repeat the same anf spoil. How can I overcome it.can u please suggest me!!

    Thank you,
    Hari Krishna Orsu

    • It is said that the power of speech is so strong that we need to learn how to control it. The tongue gets us always in trouble so we need to learn how to control it. One ancient practice to control the tongue is that of “Mauna” – “silence”. Silence means that I will not speak lies or any nonsense. If I have nothing good to say, I will just keep my mouth shut. We only have one mouth but most other senses by pairs so a good practice would be to hear twice before you speak, see twice before you speak, think twice before you speak, work twice with both hands and legs before you speak, breath twice before you speak. This way, it will allow you to conquer the tongue and will enhance the rest of your senses when the tongue is subdued.

  4. Hi Japa,
    From the background you come from i am sure you carried good values and you are someone who understands the living energy inside you and your path is on truth.Being a businessman in the present world might have been extremely difficult in this material and greedy environment ,can you help me understand how you made sure that this business pressures and expectations dint effect you nourishing of the spirit.Were their times during business that you felt that you might be in a wrong path?how did you manage to maintain the values in an environment where you rarely see values.

    loads of love and respect,
    Goutam

    • Dear Goutam,

      I hope my answer reaches you in the best of health and spirits.

      I am not a saint, but I was taught from a young age to follow strong spiritual principles founded upon the 4 pillars of real religion or dharma laws of God.The practices of austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness.

      I practice by practical application; I refrained from the following 4 pillars of sinful life:

      1. NO meat eating including fish and egg.
      2. NO intoxication including caffeinated tea and coffee.
      3. NO illicit sex relations outside of marriage.
      4. NO gambling.

      These 4 regulative principles of spiritual practice become the foundation in which I conduct myself.A person cannot be strong enough to battle the temptations of Maya or illusion without the proper practice of spiritual values and disciplines.

      As a businessman, I apply the Karma Yoga practice wherein I offer all the fruits of my karmic activity to God. This practice of karma yoga frees a person from the karmic reactions of his activities.

      Sincerely,

      Japadas

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