I’ve always pushed my body hard. I interpreted “mind over matter” to mean that I could just ignore my body when it was hurting as long as my mind was strong enough to push on. I constantly pushed my limits and was amazed when I accomplished feats like backpacking 35 miles in one day or staying awake for 71 hours straight. I viewed my body as a tool, not as a part of me.
After meditating for some time it became difficult for me to work out anymore. I didn’t fully realize why until just recently. When I used to play sports I was driven to win. My competitive spirit would drive me to push my body. I thought I was doing my body a service by getting some good exercise but I was actually bringing a lot of negative mental energy into my body.
For a while, the only physical activities my body wanted to participate in were yoga and walking. In these activities I was gentle and kind to my body. I’m learning that all of the other athletic activities I used to do aren’t bad but my mindset when I did them was. I’m still working my way back into some more rigorous physical activity, but it’s becoming clear that to grow with dhamma and live a loving life I need to send more positive energy to my body. Rather than give up on sports, I need to give up beating myself up. I love being active so hopefully dhamma will help me learn how to be active in a positive way. Time to meditate.