This is a chapter from my fifth book called Freedom

I believe in a holistic approach to living. Part of that is taking care of the mind, body and spirit. I have been exercising for about three hours everyday for the past eleven days. I feel really good afterwards. I do not want to stop this trend. Somehow I manage to start and stop in the past. Some periods are longer than others. I have lost weight and come down to a beautiful size about three times in the past. There was one time I could actually run. I was light on my feet. I was fit and strong. I am capable and I am going to do it again, God willing. This chapter and the next two chapters will be dedicated to the body, mind and spirit in that order. In Islam the body is considered a gift from God. There is importance in maintaining good physical health. Part of that is exercising, part of that is eating healthily and part of that is stressing less. Fasting is a pillar of Islam and it is encouraged. I do not fast because of health reasons but I feel like if I get fit and strong I will be able to. The thing that scares me the most about fasting is getting constipated from not drinking water or getting really bad headaches. Recently I tried intermittent fasting where I am allowed to drink water and it ended with the worst headache.

We often hear that our body is a temple. This emphasizes the importance of taking care of our bodies, just as we would care for a sacred place. The body is holy. Both words are four letters long. Both words rhyme and contain o as the second letter and end in y. The letter b can open to form h and the letter d can flatten to form l. When I see body, I can see holy. There is a connection between the physical and the spiritual. The body is a vessel for the soul. A vessel for the spirit. Our body is God's creation. A complex masterpiece. An intelligent design. A wonder to behold. Our body is proof that God exists. The words God and body share the letters "od". This could stand for "our divine". Our divine body. Our body is our connection to God. In Islam we are taught that God is closer to us than our jugular vein. Divine = di + vein. The (di in) divine comes close to the Arabic word for religion which is romanized as dīn and anglicized as deen. What could be seen (rhymes with deen) as the point of all of this? Our bodies were created to worship God. This is taught in Islam. Mankind was created to worship God. Not because God needs this but because we need it. Worship is to benefit us.

I have talked myself into how important the body is from a spiritual point of view and given myself enough reason to take care of my body. The next chapter is about the mind and I re-mind myself that I live with mental illness. This is a challenge by itself and I do not need to complicate things by not taking care of my body. Taking care of my body is a good mental health strategy. It is good for the mind just as it is good for the spirit. The body, mind and spirit work together and we need to take care of them together and hopefully I can show that in these three chapters. Today I am grateful for this body, how it still carries me after everything I put it through. I am 44 years old and the more I get older, the less durable my body becomes. Being 44 is about finding a balance between pushing myself and honoring my body's natural pace. Taking care of my body empowers me to live life to the fullest. Taking care of the body is freedom. The renowned yoga instructor Iyengar has given us one point of view that I quite like, "From freedom of the body comes freedom of the mind and then ultimate freedom!" When your body is not holding you back, your mind can explore its full potential, leading to a state of ultimate freedom that can be spiritual and intellectual.


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