It’s been said by numerous people numerous times that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our bodies, while technically not our spiritual selves, are our homes for the time being. They are provided by Nature and exist as our vehicles for service in this world.


By Robert Butler

It has been a hectic week.

Having different houseguests for eight straight days, this was the first day I had all to myself and I was looking forward to it. Having not done so since before COVID, I scheduled a bodywork session by a talented healer that was very much needed.

This particular morning, I awoke to a long text from a friend who was going through the breakup of an abusive marriage. Her experiences mirrored that of my mother, who 60 years earlier risked everything by moving me and my older siblings from Florida back to New York to escape my violently abusive father. I felt compelled to counsel my friend and spent the better part of an hour doing so.

It felt right—and sadly familiar. A great deal of sadness came up for me as I contemplated my mother’s burden that subconsciously I had carried for many years. Yes, I definitely needed this bodywork session!

I had planned a leisurely breakfast, but it was not to be.

My business began pulling at me non-stop, blowing up my phone with issues and problems that required immediate solutions, all as I tried to assemble an avocado sandwich and be ready for my session. The resulting stress pulled me right out of my center.

My plan to be peaceful and grounded when this angel of healing arrived went right out the window. Through all the turmoil, I arrived at the front door at the exact same moment she did and, it turned out, I could not have gotten there even one second sooner!

She set up her table and immediately went to work finding all the parts of my body in which I held stress. I have understood the mind body connection for many years, and it has been experientially proven that our bodies hold different emotional wounds in different areas. We can ignore them, try to forget about them, and cover them up with all kinds of diversions, but the body never lies! Not only was my body not lying to me, but it was also shouting loudly! It seemed as though my entire body was one big trigger point!

The pain was intense as she dug deep into my problem areas. I realized this was a great metaphor for life, as healing often requires us to go through pain before we can come out the other side. As one of my dearest mentors once said, “If you want to heal you’ve got to feel!”

Gradually, I began to release much of the pain I had been holding and one of the miracles of life once again revealed itself to me.

It’s been said by numerous people numerous times that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our bodies, while technically not our spiritual selves, are our homes for the time being. They are provided by Nature and exist as our vehicles for service in this world. They are also our vehicle for transcendence. In this way, they are the greatest gift, yet many spiritual seekers hardly pay them any mind at all.

How many people contemplate the number of breaths we take or number of heartbeats—what to speak of the innumerable systems that function automatically without any conscious effort on our part? And yet many of us move through our day almost on automatic, blithely going about our business, endeavoring to fulfill our desires, unaware of the consequences of our choices, never stopping long enough to contemplate what the impact is on our very own body.

Meanwhile, disease and old age are creeping up on us.

Every spiritual tradition has its practice for taking care of the body. In Buddhism and Tao there is Tai Chi as well as other martial arts. The Vedas of ancient India describe numerous paths of yoga, also designed to maintain the body for optimum performance as well as spiritual realization. In the West, high impact physical training is prominent, yet even just walking can be a healthy, nourishing and spiritual experience. Varieties of massage and other forms of frame-care such as chiropractic are a great boon.

As spiritual practitioners it behooves us to honor our bodies for the amazing gifts they are.

No matter what we believe to be our purpose in life, or what path we follow, we cannot execute it without cooperation from our body. It is precious beyond calculation. That is not to say that we should focus on it exclusively, but that we see it as part of the integrated whole provided by the Divine to help us wake up to our eternal spiritual nature.

Our minds can play tricks on us. Other people may deceive us. But our bodies never lie.


Even as a child, Robert Butler was fascinated with the nature of consciousness. A practitioner of Bhakti Yoga and committed vegetarian since the age of 17, he embarked on a lifelong journey to help himself and others uncover the mysteries of life. After living in an ashram in his late teens through his mid 20s, he traveled extensively, and delved deeply into personal growth and healing work. For the past twenty-five years, he has run a San Diego based nonprofit that supports three Bhakti Yoga ashrams and sustainable farm communities: Audarya Ashram in Philo, California, Sarahgrahi near Asheville, North Carolina, and Madhuvan in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. He is an author, spiritual counselor and senior staffer with the ManKind Project, as well as a mentor with the Boys to Men Mentoring Network. He lives in Encinitas, California.


Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall



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