A Happy Body is Your Slave

Isn’t my body already my slave?

Nope. In fact, your body probably has you tied up right now, or perhaps even in a cage. The body craves things. Sometimes they are healthy, sometimes not. With it’s powerful primordial signals the body nags, shakes and pokes at your willpower menacing it to give in. The thing is most of the time we don’t realize this is occurring. There is a mind/body separation going on in our modern culture that has reached such heights it’s actually killing us. “People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole. I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.” — Henry Rollins.

Why should I make my body my slave?

Ok so what? Who cares if I follow my low instincts? It’s society’s fault that I am the way I am. Everyone else is the same so why should I even bother?

Well for one it’s not healthy and without our health we have no quality of life.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless, and reason is powerless.” — Herophiles

We all know the best way to stay healthy is through diet and exercise. What is so amazing is that we have control over our input (food) and our output (energy expended through exercise). But there is still that negative self-talk to deal with.

How do I make my body my slave?

The simplest quotes are usually the most motivating. Like Nike’s “Just do it”. We’ve understood this quote on many levels but by adding the words “convince yourself to” just do it, we take it to the next level. And there is the problem — privately, inwardly convincing ourselves. Enter in Discipline.

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” — Muhammad Ali

Convince your mind to become disciplined and your body will follow. Thinking that you’ll just do one crunch less today or maybe drive the car instead of walk that extra 15 min, that procrastination can easily become defeatism and that is what you must discipline against. The simplest way to stay on the proverbial treadmill is to be organized and create routine. Don’t accept any excuse your mind might conjure up not to.

Discipline requires patience and a will to succeed. You’ve got to want it. How do you want it? Try making yourself your ongoing project. It requires focus, patience, motivation and a craving for excellence. Discipline is a vision of excellence and a submission to excellence.

Will this make me happy?

Yes. And if you think you were ever happy in your life, baby you ain’t seen nothing yet. Here is a short excerpt from an article in The New Yorker entitled “A Better Kind of Happiness”:

In his Nicomachean Ethics, [Aristotle] described the idea of eudaemonic happiness, which said, essentially, that happiness was not merely a feeling, or a golden promise, but a practice. “It’s living in a way that fulfils our purpose,” Helen Morales, a classicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told me. “It’s flourishing. Aristotle was saying, ‘Stop hoping for happiness tomorrow. Happiness is being engaged in the process.” And reflecting again on Islamic knowledge, the concept of Ihsan came to light. Excellence in faith as Professor Yusuf al-Qaradawi has mentioned:

Allah loves when one of you is given a task, that he or she does it in the most excellent manner.