(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.