This morning I took my regular walk up the hill from our house, across a stream, up some more hills until I reached my “sit spot” – one place I go to release and unclench. It feels different this morning. First of all, my knees really hurt thanks to the long hike I took yesterday. “I need Physical Therapy,” I say to myself. And then I realize how beautiful it is to notice my body. I am actually feeling my knees, and I stop to thank them for all they do for me. (I’m sure the person jogging in the opposite direction thought I was a bit strange.)
The walk is different, too, because of the sounds. The grasshoppers are chirping, the Towhees whistling, the Magpies shouting. The wild bushes and trees are blossoming, and the air is full of beautiful scents. Most of all, I notice the breeze. I’m not sure why, because all winter I’ve been walking and have never really noticed the breeze, even though it’s been there. Skin is the largest organ of the human body, and yet so often I ignore it, especially when I live only in my mind. Today I feel more whole. I feel saved.
On Easter, I talked about how salvation is not a belief, it is a practice of releasing the dualisms that rope us in and tie us in knots. One such dualism is body vs. mind.
In her book “I Am My Body,” Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel reminds us that during the age of the Enlightenment, human beings understood themselves as rational beings, and defined their bodies from that perspective. The body was something external to them. For Descartes, it was another substance. For Kant, it was animal-like; something which had to be overcome and controlled.
Dualism that separates the body and mind can make us feel like hell; feel torn, disconnected, anxious.
Moltmann-Wendel says that when we unite our thoughts and senses, we feel whole. We become whole. And that is our definition of salvation!
And so, on Sundays this month, we will practice salvation through embodiment. Music, rituals, rhythm, touch.
At home and throughout your daily routines, I invite you to notice the wisdom your senses provide. You are your body.