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Every one of us is the repository of true wealth. Each one of us has a body. That's one thing we have in common over all humanity. Our bodies are perhaps the greatest gift peculiar to our stay here on planet earth. If you are wondering what your talents are, start your personal inventory with major item number one: a living human body. So what is your relationship with your body like? Do you recognize it as the gift that it is? Our bodies serve our greater purposes here--they serve our overall intent for this walk-about on the physical plane. Our bodies are like scuba gear donned by the soul intent on attending earth school. They are on loan to us from the source of all. They have incredible powers taken individually and even more so when understood in relationship, one to another.
Someone might say, "But wait, Gil! My body causes me nothing but trouble--for instance, right now my shoulder is killing me! How can you call that a gift? What kind of talent is that?" The secret is in the language about the relationship of "self" and "body" here. When we play the victim and identify our body as a perpetrator of harm ("it's killing me!"), we are wallowing in the muck for sure, but the facts about the body remain, regardless of how distorted are one's perceptions of it. Looking through a foggy lens doesn't make the world cloudy, only your view of it! Our bodies can speak several languages. One of them is the language of warning. The body first whispers to us regarding a certain behavior, regarding the way we are using our form. If we ignore the subtle signals, and press on with the behavior, our bodies speak to us in the louder tones of discomfort. When we ignore that, our bodies will shout out to us in pain: "Stop this crazy thing you are doing!" If you recognize your body as the treasure trove of support and provocation to spiritual growth that it is, you will thank your body for the subtle signals, and thank it more for the louder tones, and be profusely thankful for the pain signals. Without them, we couldn't stay on this physical plane for very long at all. We'd simply bust our scuba gear, and need to "surface" immediately.
But if a person is prone to a victim mentality, and we all are to some extent (and if you deny this, well, you're in denial! --how's that for unbeatable logic?!), then the first reaction to pain (since the prior messages were in all likelihood ignored, like the prophets of old) is to blame the messenger: it's my bodies fault that I feel so bad! Then a savior (read doctor, massage therapist, pill) is sought out by the victim to silence the messenger (make the symptoms go away). From the model of self mastery, the body is acknowledged as an extremely wise partner in personal development. The body's signals are recognized as representing a vast repository of intelligence rooted in the divine mind and the dominions of nature whereby our forms are organized with exceeding perfection. When the messenger is reduced to shouting at us, we finally stop in our tracks and look to recognize how our use of our body has generated these signals, and consider as a function of introspection (as opposed to self-judgement) how else we might behave in order to instead create good feelings in our bodies.
Perhaps we came here in part to learn the lessons of a fragile constitution, and the effort to overcome those challenges represent a mountain to climb and proudly conquer. Or perhaps that same fragile physical constitution steers one's interests (if you listen to it) towards a set of activities which, if developed, will represent another kind of accomplishment altogether. I've always thought, well, if I was ever reduced to a state of extreme physical incapacity, I guess that would be a good chance to catch up on praying for others and developing my powers of concentration! Even if I were living in a body reduced by alzheimer's or something to a truly marginal existence, well, even then, I would be providing an opportunity for others to step up to their own call to service, and in so inhabiting such a form I would be doing service myself. Call this a mental game if you will. I call it optimism (one of my talents!). The point is the perspective. If you are willing to identify your body as a gift, whole new vistas open up in your relationship with yourself and others.
(Excerpt from The Heart of Service, 2005, Gil Hedley)