Sreenath Sreenivasan

Thriving Mindfully

Category: The Body’s wisdom

The Body’s Wisdom

It was a bright summer morning. With her baby in tow, my friend Laure walked slowly inside the community kitchen.

Since she looked a bit tired, I asked her,

‘Did you not sleep well? Your eyes look a bit groggy.’

‘Yes. It is because I never get an uninterrupted sleep at night. My baby wakes me up every night at 2 am sharp, asking to be breastfed.
It is a miracle how she wakes up at exactly 2 am everyday, no matter what!’

‘Well you have a natural alarm clock for 2 am !’ I quipped.

‘Yes, one that is beyond my control.’

‘At least you know how to turn it off’

‘That’s a consolation!’ she shared, staring at her baby dotingly.

It was fascinating to learn how a baby had such an accurate body clock.

This happened over an year ago. From then on, I made a conscious attempt to sense the time whenever I felt the need to know what time it was.
And gradually, I got pretty good at it.
I could guess the correct time within a ten minute window on most occasions.
Even right now, I guesed the time to be 5:21 am. I checked the watch and the time was 5:14 am. I only had the reference of my surroundings. The last I had looked at the watch was yesterday night. The only reference of passage of time was my own body’s sensation.

Since we all have access to the exact time in our watches or phones, we never think of sensing the time with our instincts. It almost seems impossible and bizarre to be doing that.
But ever since I developed the instinct of guessing the time first before checking it on my phone, I slowly came to realise that the body has a fairly accurate sense of passage of time.
We just have to learn to trust our body’s natural wisdom.

These days we have so many apps on our phones that help us keep track with our body’s mechanisms. But the convenience comes at the cost of our instinct.

One of my friends uses an app that helps him track how many hours of deep sleep he got at night. Every morning he checks these analytics in his phone.
But I felt, one can quite easily tell how well they slept by how they feel in the morning. We are outsourcing these simple tasks at the cost of our natural instinct.

There are apps that remind a person to drink water, to sleep, relax, to breathe…

If one has to be reminded of all these things, then one should definitely reconsider their lifestyle!

The human body has innate wisdom programmed into it. We just have to trust our natural instincts and with enough sentient practice, we will be much closer to the sensations of the body and our immediate surroundings.

My grandmother could tell the time from the phase and position of the moon, the call of a particular bird, the shadow of her house and sometimes, just by pure instinct.

Agreed that life wasn’t as time bound in my grandmother’s era as it is today, but the instinct of being in sync with our self and our immediate environment is worth cultivating.

The next time you have a need to know the time, try guessing it first before checking it in the clock.
Once you do it enough times, you will realise what a masterpiece the human body is !

 

Learning to Unlearn

‘Don’t strain your body, let it loose’ commanded my swimming instructor.
I gasped for a breath after another failed attempt at floating in water. The sun shone brightly on the disappointed trainer’s face.
‘Try again’ he said in anguish.

Swimming is one of the life skills I did not get an opportunity to learn as a kid. Battling my phobia of water, I finally convinced myself to learn to swim. It was the third day at class and my instructor couldn’t believe how stiff my body was under water.
‘ Why are you so stiff? And why can’t you hold your breath for longer? Even a ten year old kid can do this!’ he said.
I didn’t have much to explain. I kept trying for the rest of the session.

Once I got out of the water, I started thinking about what happened during the training. I kept wondering about the comment he made about how even a ten year old kid could do what he was asking me to.
While I was a bit worked up after hearing that, over time a sense of calm dawned on me. I realised that accidentally the trainer had given me a great sermon.

We always associate progress with growing up. We always envision to be the best version of ourselves in future. But I realised that it is a partial perspective. Progress should be associated as much with growing up to maturity as with preserving the childlike elasticity of thought and action. The innate wisdom of body and mind programmed in kids is often unlearned as we age. Our body and mind grow up to an ‘acquired stiffness.’
The pursuit of true growth should be aimed in both directions, as much in ‘unlearning’ as in learning.
As a 27 year old, I aspire to have the maturity of 45 old man as I age while preserving the elasticity of being in a 10 year old boy.
That combination would make for a complete human in my opinion.
So now as I prepare myself for my next attempt at floating, I will focus on unlearning, to grow past my acquired stiffness.
In sincere pursuit of having a nimble body and mind of a ten year old boy.

On being…

Today morning, with a gentle winter breeze came along an idea that got me thinking.

We call ourselves human beings. Even in the way we address ourself there is a hint to action, a verb, of ‘being’.
That speaks a lot about the nature of our existence.
With each passing moment we are becoming something. It does not matter if one is aware of this transition or not. He still becomes something with the passage of time. He keeps on evolving.
Our involuntary functions of the body keep on going. Cells are born, cells die, regenerate, mutate and evolve. Our hair, nail, skin keep growing. All the processes of body keep on going.
On an involuntary level we are are always ‘being’ and becoming. It is a natural function of the highest efficiency.

However, on a conscious, voluntary level, are we becoming what we want to?
We have control of our mind, don’t we?
Are we doing the best we can with our mind?
The body is always ‘being’ as efficient in its processes.
How about the mind?

If we attempt to emulate the ‘being’ of our body in the ‘being’ of our mind,
Our evolution as a human being will undoubtedly be supreme.

Think about it!