This morning I took me and my dog, Phoebe, for a walk. I guess the opening of presents brought me back to the biggest present, my own body. I’d been having a little back pain and hoped to relieve it by visualizing the sacrum and its ligaments. I could feel, refreshingly, movement in that area as we walked.
Then curiosity began to extend to the other bones. It’s been a while since I spent time experiencing each one. I brought my awareness through each of the other bones as we walked, starting with the 26 vertebrae (it just seems so non-accidental that there are basically the same number of letters in the alphabet as there are bones in the spine and foot). Then through the bones in the lower body. And I felt each bone and joint moving as we walked. Then to the ribs, sternum, the shoulder girdle’s bones, the arms, hands, and head.
I felt with renewed amazement how every bone and joint in the body gently moves when we walk.
Not only is there movement at each joint but of course, inside us, we are mostly flowing water being moved by breath, heart, digestion, and so on. Even lying down at rest, there is constant rhythmic movement inside us at every moment.
A few years ago I was working on a radiologist. This man had viewed every inch of the human body – through MRI’s, CT scans, x-rays. I was so curious about what he’d seen.
“Of all the things you’ve ever seen,” I asked, “what is the most incredible?”
He said, “It was the first time I saw a real-time x-ray of a spinal cord inside a living person.”
“Why is that?”
He said, “It looks like it’s dancing to the Rolling Stones!”
It turns out, since nerves are not firmly fixed within the spinal canal, the electricity passing through them makes them move rhythmically; they’re sensually undulating in our core at every moment.
Most people don’t know anatomy and even if they do, they learn it through two-dimensional, non-moving pictures.
With deepened awareness, we can renew our appreciation for this biggest present of all, the gift of living form and movement.
What an unlikely priviledge in this universe, to be born in human form, to have the ability to be self-aware, and even to evolve in one lifetime because we just want and decide to.
When I am flooded with the sanity that accompanies the natural gratitude for this miracle, I wonder – why we don’t as a society, more fully honor the miracle of human form and function – in body, mind, emotion and spirit?
It’s not too late.
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing,
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.