All through life I have had this body that I have been carting around. An amazing body that I have not really ever stopped to appreciate deeply. This body is my vehicle, my means of getting around from point A to point B, a very useful and practical thing indeed. But have I ever stopped to feel that there is so much more to appreciating this body and all that it can really be, and more importantly, all that it can be a vehicle for?
Well, let’s find out…
For most of my life I have seen my body as just a ‘thing,’ as mentioned before, “something to cart around and get around in.” And most of the time I find myself getting frustrated with my body – why can I not move faster, be less clumsy, get more things done; why do I have to stop to feed, care for and sleep this ‘thing’? Why can I not eat and drink certain foods without the body reacting or getting sick?
This has been my approach for a long time – a resentment of my body for not fitting a picture that I have had of how I should be – an approach that sees the body as a vehicle to be used and quite frankly, abused, in many ways. And I’m not talking here about having a history of drug or alcohol or physical abuse to share. In fact I was not one to drink much at all – I had a few sips (literally, as that was all I could handle and wanted to have, just to fit in a little) out of a glass of beer or champagne on the odd occasion with some friends in my mid 20’s and then stopped the few sips completely in my 30’s, so alcohol was not my way of abusing my body. And though some of my friends in my mid 20’s were into smoking pot and other drugs that were around, this was not something I was drawn to being involved in, so drugs were not my way of abusing my body.
But I still abused my body, in a different way – I did indulge in sports and in studies. Now you might say “Is this not good?,” and it is not that sports or studies per se are abusive to the body, but the type of sports and the way I went around it was abusive. Perhaps not in an obvious way but in a way that was subtle with insidious effects that are far more long lasting, as well as laced with the reasons why I got into these pursuits.
I got into sports (tennis and running) when I was young as a means to get attention from my dad and essentially have a ‘buddy buddy’ relationship with him.
I also felt safer playing the role of being a tom-boy at school as my body was developing and I began to turn into a woman, which I was certainly not comfortable about.
So I got into sports and was especially drawn to tennis and competition tennis, which meant training many hours per week and travelling for comps. There was the hard, physical training I did, the pressure I put upon myself, and then there was the anxiety and nerves of the competitions and the gruelling flogging of myself that I was not good enough, that I had to keep pushing myself to the next level, to keep proving who I was.
From tennis I moved on to martial arts training in Jiu Jitsu, with the excuse that it was good for me to learn self-defence as a woman. I did this for a few years and then moved on to Yoga and running, pressuring myself to run a certain number of kilometres per week and to also train for many hours of Ashtanga yoga, pushing hard even though my body felt tired, run down or I had my period etc., all so that I could say I was fit and healthy.
At the same time, I also turned to studies and University Education. One degree followed another and I nailed them, with each one working hard till the early hours in the morning, sometimes only sleeping a few hours per night to ensure I passed. My first University degree was in a foreign language so I had the added pressure of deciphering the language, in addition to understanding the complex biochemistry I was studying. The rules at the time at the public university were harsh in that a pass mark was around 75% – and if you failed one subject you would have to re-sit all of them.
I also had the added pressure of knowing that if I did not pass then I would have to leave the country we were residing in and hence no longer live with my family and friends. I never once reached out to discuss this with anyone as I felt everyone had enough pressures they were working through themselves and I did not want to be an added burden. I made my life hard and worked hard, never once considering that there was a different way to do this – a way that would actually consider and respect deeply the body I was so-called ‘carting around.’
I got sick a lot, with chest infections (bronchitis), a severe case of glandular fever that knocked me out for 9 months, chronic knee pains and later on chronic fatigue. These were all the messages from my body that the way I was going about life was not working.
Finally, in my mid 30’s, I met Serge Benhayon, and though I did not make any changes initially in the way I was living, it was the beginning of being open to a different way of being. As I began to seek out the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom and had some Esoteric healing sessions, I began to build a different relationship with my body.
I began to understand how I was putting huge amounts of pressure upon myself, how hard I was on myself and how many demands I placed upon myself and my body! I was never one to eat poorly or to drink alcohol, nor to abuse myself in all the other obvious ways that we see and know in society as being abuse, but as I began to develop this relationship with myself, I came to realise that there are a multitude of other ways to abuse the body whilst making it look like you are doing the ‘right’ thing.
Essentially, I got to realise that I was living through my mind only at the expense of my body and not really embracing this body as Me, or even a part of me! Thanks to the Esoteric work and Ageless Wisdom Teachings, which come from a Livingness in the body and not from the knowledge of someone’s mind or head, over time I have come to realise that the body is a tool, but a very precious one… one not to be abused, but instead used ever so lovingly to express that which lies deep within us all, our essence.
How I live my life now is vastly different to how I lived it prior to encountering the Ageless Wisdom. I am far more caring and nurturing of my body than I have ever been, taking the time to go to the toilet and brush my teeth without rushing; making sure my posture is supported at work, in the car and at home; eating foods that feed me/support me back (yes, this actually works!); working and staying active to support myself and my family.
There are many things that I still do today that may not appear different from the outside, but there is a difference in the quality that I am doing them in – in terms of being so much more caring of my body, this amazing vehicle that I have the honour of taking with me everywhere I go.
I say honour, because I have come to realise that it is the body (and not the mind) that is our means of connecting to our Soul, and this is the blessing: to care deeply for the bridge that allows the Truth to be accessed and then lived.
But I am also realising more and more how there is a constant deepening of my understanding of the body. And so, very often I will find myself feeling like I am back to square one – abusing my body again but in this I am realising the more insidious ways that I have placed pressure upon myself, or demands on myself etc. So as I grow, my relationship with my body changes and deepens. Wow – what is next?
By Henrietta Chang, BNat, BBio, MApplSciEcol, EPA, ATMS, ANTA