Editors note: Every Friday a question is printed at the end of this column inviting a response. If you are a religious leader on Kaua‘i please send in your thoughts or suggestions for future topics. Next week’s topic is on animals. The topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Koloa
Man is both a spiritual and physical being. Though only temporal, our bodies should not be neglected or abused. As the temple of our spirit, it should be treated with respect. Good nutrition, rest, and recreation are necessary, as is the avoidance of alcohol and drugs. Baha’is should not use hallucinogenic agents, including LSD, peyote and similar substances, except when prescribed for medical treatment. Neither should they become involved in experiments with such substances. Tobacco is not prohibited but strongly discouraged because of its effect on health. An effective means to prevent substance abuse is to educate children at an early age on the effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Abdu’l-Baha stated that “ … you should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve …You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation …” Abdu’l-Baha further states that Baha’i laws prohibit “both light and strong drinks,” explaining that “alcohol leadeth the mind astray and causeth the weakening of the body.” He clarifies that the use of alcohol is permitted only when it constitutes part of a medical treatment that is implemented “under the advice of a competent and conscientious physician, who may have to prescribe it for the cure of some special ailment.” He also spoke against illegal drug use. “Alcohol consumeth the mind and causeth man to commit acts of absurdity, but … this wicked hashish extinguisheth the mind, freezeth the spirit, petrifieth the soul, wasteth the body and leaveth man frustrated and lost.”
North Shore Christian Science
Michael Phelps is lauded as having the perfect swimmer’s body. If he dated your average Olympic female gymnast, his 6’ 7” arm span could wrap around her more than three times. She could fit both feet into one of his size 14 shoes. And by the time he hit the other end of the pool she would still be jumping up and down in the shallow end. Especially at five in the morning.
But with nine days of phenomenal swimming, eight gold medals and eight new records, through many post race interviews we got to know the mind behind the body. With joy Michael turns adverse circumstances into opportunities. He turns a negative remark or a comment intended to limit him into his next level of achievement. Losing isn’t in his vocabulary of thought. “I just want to win.” And he focuses every bit of his rigorous training with the stern resolve to embody the Olympic ideal, “Faster, higher, stronger.”
Now imagine if he embodied an opposite mindset. Would the 6’4” frame and flexible ankles get him across the pool just as fast? What if those negative comments had intimidated him? What if he had felt his schedule was too tough to achieve his goals? With that kind of thinking, would he have even qualified for the finals?
Michael’s journey to success and achievements bring to mind a line from “Science and Health,” the Christian Science textbook by Mary Baker Eddy: “You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness.”
Imagine starting each morning with a vigorous session of thinking good thoughts about your body. Change from “I can’t” to “I can,” “I’m not” to “I am.” And then get to know yourself as God knows you, complete, loved, and able. You can even do it while you’re swimming. For help on this go to ChristianScience.com where you’ll find many encouraging articles on healing the body.
Rev. Rita MeKila Herring
Universal Brotherhood Movement
The body is the most important tool you have. Without it, you wouldn’t be here.
It is truly the temple in which the spark of the divine lives. Deep within the core of your being this spark maintains your life whether you believe it or not. It is that unique spark that allows us to reflect the tiny piece of God that we represent. For that reason alone the body deserves at least the degree of conscious respect that we bestow upon buildings that we’ve deemed “homes of God.”
In addition to being our homes while on this earth plane, our bodies are also our cars. They represent the physical vehicle that we tool around in as we move about from one place to the next. Mine currently looks like a U-Haul when I’m actually more of a sports car kind of gal … I’m workin’ on that.
Why don’t we extend at least as much forethought to the fuel we put into our bodies as we do the cars we drive? Don’t we know exactly what kind of fuel to put into our motor vehicles? Then why are we so flippant when it comes to knowing specifically what our physical bodies need to operate at maximum efficiency for as long as possible?
We need to work on that education of self we talked about a couple of weeks ago. We need to take responsibility for having dropped the ball on taking care of our bodies. Authorities have corralled us all down a garden path of deceit and mistruths. It’s time for us to take back our personal power and the quickest way to do that is through knowledge. If you’re tired and find you barely have enough energy to accomplish the things you need to, look at the fuel you’re running on. What’s in it? Is it supportive? Or does it tax the system even more than the line items on your to do list? Let’s all support each other in being aware of the fuel we’re providing our precious bodies. Let’s be aware each and every day of the value and quality of that fuel so that we ensure the most enjoyable and pleasant futures for ourselves.
Science of Mind practitioner
We are not of our body, we are so much more. 1 Corinthians 1:19 says it best:
“Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?”
Most people like to look nice in order to feel good about themselves and be appreciated and accepted by others. This means enhancing our bodies with cosmetics, deodorants, stylish clothes and workouts at the gym. It feels great to look good. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of one’s own body, but forgetting that our body is actually our caretaker and teacher for something so much more causes us to miss out.
It is said that our body is our temple, a place where we may go within to pray and learn and grow. As a child of God, each of us is a very unique em-“bodi”-ment of God. The real thing is within. Even those who deny the experience of this incredible connection experience God when they get that feeling they’ve done something great or when something tells them it feels right. As our teachers, our bodies may express pain within or without to show us what to avoid. As our caretakers, our bodies let us sense when situations are uncomfortable and show us solutions to ease our bodies and minds. Our bodies are our temples. If we care for them lovingly, they stay healthy and rejoice in so many experiences.
Again, the true reality is that you are not your body. You are so much more.
Next week’s question:
• Will you speak to us on
• Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Deadline each week is
Tuesday, by 5 p.m.