I can often get so tangled up in the minutiae of thinking about what is real, what exists beyond death, and the nature of God that I neglect the reality around me. Can’t you?
A times I can get so tangled up in theological doctrines as they pertain to Christology and transubstantiation that I don’t even pay attention to the beautiful things in my life that make any of the theology worth it.
The dog slobber on the tennis ball,
the gentle creak of the winter trees in the frigid breeze,
that girl’s blue eyes or the peaks of this singer’s falsetto.
I look up from my laptop and realize I’ve missed so much of it.
What good is a theology that can’t plug itself into reality; that can’t function hand in hand with beauty or healing? Most theologies that operate at such a high level that they never touch the ground (or that only interact with ‘the next life’ and have little to say to this one), are worthless. And actually are not even biblical.
Yesterday after I turned off the water in the shower, I stood still. I decided to count to 50 without moving. I felt the drips slowly running their courses down my skin as dry patches began to appear. It reconnected me to the inside of my body in a way I hadn’t felt in a while.
Sometimes we live so much inside our brain that we can neglect to live inside our body.
I know it may sound dumb, but it’s happened to me more and more frequently lately. It’s the reason, I’ve realized, that I get so impatient in traffic or when the grocery checker is slow. It’s because I don’t want to be here, so I’m impatiently waiting to get through this line, or this traffic, and get to a place where I can let my brain run free (read: type some nonsense out on my laptop like this), and all other time is just filler.
But that can’t possibly be the case. There is no such thing as ‘filler time.’ Every second that whizzes by us is an irreplaceable segment of your life. Either you’re there for it or you’re not. Either you’re aware of it, or you’re impatiently rushing through it to get to others.
So how do you descend from the clouds and return to the ground which smells like dirt and isn’t made of any neat, recognizable shapes? Change your body.
Go for a walk and feel the chilly air sting your fingertips.
Jump in freezing water and see how it sucks the breath out of you.
Or run until you can’t breathe.
Lift weights until it hurts and enjoy the burn — a sensation that serves to remind you that your body is the place you live and your brain is putting it through these exercises.
The best way to change your mental state is to change your physical state.
This is not a New Age practice, but a biblical one. Think about how many biblical imperatives there are to move your body in worship: lift up your hands, bow down, rise, etc. God knows our bodies respond well to metaphor, so He likes to tell us how to use them.
Change your body to wake up your mind.