Rate this Article
Building Your Ark: (2) Structural Integrity
(PART 2 Of the Building Your Ark Series)
Your body is the foundation of your Ark. When building any structure, if you want it to last, it needs to have a strong foundation. The pyramids of Egypt and South America have lasted thousands and thousands of years because they are built with a firm, solid base. You wouldn’t start building a pyramid from the top down, or build it upside down with the point on the ground and widening out at the top. Your structure needs to have a foundation that will support everything that you place on top of it. The same goes for the metaphorical Ark we are building to meet the wave of changes that are rolling towards us. You wouldn't build your Ark out of brittle, rotten or termite-infested wood.
Our body is the foundation of our being. It is our physical presence in this world. The better we care for it, the longer it is able to function effectively. Unfortunately, modern society is starting to make caring for our body more difficult. The sedentary lifestyle of our age, brought on by technological innovation and cheap energy, has made everything excessively convenient. We have evolved into a people who spend most of our time sitting at a computer, behind the wheel of a vehicle or blooped out in front of the TV.
But it is not just the sedentary lifestyle that is a problem. Our diets have changed as well. With the population of the planet closing in on 7 billion, food production has had to adapt to meet the growing demand. Sadly, much of the response to the demand has resulted in a massive increase in food with little or no nutritional value. Processed foods, full of chemicals and preservatives, have become our staple diet. And while hopefully most people would agree on this point, the effort and attention it takes to monitor the food we eat is siphoned off by the numbing distraction of all the stuff we are preoccupied with.
Realistically, the eventual outcome from being sedentary and eating chemically processed food is some form of deterioration. Deterioration starts either with musculoskeletal difficulty in the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves; or it affects the internal systems causing diabetes, cancer and a host of other non-communicable diseases.
Is your way of living drilling a hole in the bottom of your Ark?
The 18th Hexagram in the I Ching-Book of Changes is KU - Repair. It is about realizing that some of the perceptions and beliefs we have been taking for granted are incorrect. It is a time of diligence work and assertive action. Repairing your Ark requires sincerity and resolution.
This list provides some basic guides to plugging the hole in the bottom of your Ark, healing your body and reinforcing the structural integrity of the foundation of your being.
1. Breathe More. Breathe Deeper. I know, I repeat this often, but it is necessary. Getting more oxygen and energy into the body is vital to the process.
2. Rotate your Joints. The blood and energy get trapped and constricted in the joints. Rotating your joints opens the passageway for it to flow. Circle your wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles regularly.
3. Stretch your Muscles. Stretching creates space for the blood and energy to flow into. There are stretches for every part of the body. Feel where you are tight and stretch there...gently.
4. Read the labels on the food you buy. Cut out processed food, chemicals and preservatives. Beware of artificial flavors and colors. Eat Smart.
5. Abandon Fast-Food Forever...really.
6. Go outside and spend time in the natural world. This is vital. We need to remember our connection with the Earth. That connection cannot be found on the Discovery channel. You need to touch it and breathe it.
7. Persevere. Nothing of value is gained without effort. Cultivate the discipline to keep your attention focused. Don’t be Distracted!
Obviously, repairing your Ark is not always necessary if you are already practicing much of the items on the list. However, there may be times when we need a little upkeep here and there.
With the bottom of our Ark on the mend we can begin to focus on our navigation system.
Next: Peaceful Mind: Noticing the Flow
About the author:
Aaron Hoopes is the founder of Zen Yoga and the author of 7 books on breathing, gentle movement, meditation and diet.