Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lacking Authority Over My Self

I saw a little cartoon yesterday. A patient in a doctor's office says, "Doctor, I don't feel well and I don't know why."

The doctor tells him, "I want you to meditate for 20 minutes twice a day, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, avoid processed foods, eat plenty of organic fruits and veggies, spend more time in nature and less indoors, stop worrying about things you can't control, and ditch your TV. Come back in 3 weeks."

Ah! Of course. It's that simple.

The thing is, it probably really is that simple, and we all know it. If every single one of us followed that advice for three weeks, it is almost guaranteed we will feel better. No, it wouldn't cure every malady in our lives, but we would feel better. And we all know it.

So why don't we do it?

Do we think we don't have time? Very likely, but that's just an excuse, I suspect. I had plenty of time this summer, but I still didn't meditate or exercise. And ditching the TV would add a lot of minutes to my day. (He didn't include internet entertainment -- I think that would be valid, also.)

Do we argue we can't afford it? Yes, processed foods are cheap, and organic food is expensive. But most of us, if we thought it important, would find a way to make that happen.

We don't do this stuff because we don't want to. Because we'd rather continue to feel lousy, with the right to whine and complain about feeling lousy, than put out the effort to do the things that will help us feel better. Probably because feeling lousy zaps the energy we have for the effort.

We're a sad lot.

But two thoughts ran through my mind as I pondered this cartoon: first, if a doctor actually told me to do these things, I would do them. I know because a doctor did tell to do similar things once (for my sleep problems) and I did them. Most of them. And I really did feel better. (Although I didn't sleep better.) Why do I need an authority in my life to instruct me to do the things I know are best for me? (There is HUGE connection to be made here for our spiritual walk, the role of the Law, our relationship with God . . . but I won't go there today.)

Second, why don't I just pretend I've been given this prescription by an actual doctor and follow it for three weeks? Chances are, I would feel so much better, I would want to keep most of it up indefinitely. But the truth is, I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn't keep it up even for three weeks; I would quit when it got hard. Lack of self-control? Lack of faith in the method? Who knows. But it wouldn't happen. (Oh, the spiritual implications here . . . so much to say . . . )

I'll repeat: we're a sad lot. A new friend of mine has Lupus, and when she was diagnosed, she started on a journey to find any possible means of alleviating her symptoms, including changing her diet, adding exercise . . . all this stuff the cartoon doctor recommended. Why does it take major debilitating situations to force us to do the stuff we know we need to do anyway?

(Ughh . . . it's almost painful to hold back . . . a post for another day . . . )

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