A central principle of Morita Therapy is that we have much more control over the body (actions) than the mind (feelings/thoughts).
During long meditation periods I would find that my mind would be all over the place – “I wonder what’s for lunch today?” or “I wish I would have slept better last night.” But I could keep my body relatively still during the same period.
Our bodies have much more capacity and power than we give them credit for.
Off the cushion, I’ve found that I could eat a bowl of beet soup (beets are one of my least favorite foods) even as my mind was saying, “Yuck, beets are totally disgusting.” When you’re angry, you can have the thought, “I’m going to strangle this person,” and not actually attack them. We don’t realize how much control we have over our body, because we don’t pay much attention to how often the content of our mind is out of sync with our actions. If we acted on every thought or feeling we had, our lives would be utter chaos.
Of course, you can’t always control the body, particularly if your body is medically or physically incapable of a particular action. No amount of willpower will allow me to jump six feet in the air from a standing start.
But in many cases my body is able to do what my mind doesn’t want to do or believes it cannot do. Rather than go through a period of mental gymnastics trying to motivate ourselves or attempting to get the mind to change its mind, we can simply let the body take the lead.
We can put on our running shoes even as the mind is thinking, “I’m way too tired to go for a run.” We can gather our cooking supplies even as the mind thinks, “I don’t feel like cooking – I’ll just order a pizza.” We can pull out the file with our tax information at the same time the mind is thinking, “Forget taxes, I’m just going to see what’s happening on Facebook.”
Our bodies have much more capacity and power than we give them credit for. So when you notice that your mind seems lazy or uncooperative, just put your body in charge for a while. And take your mind along for the ride.
(from Tunneling for Sunlight: 17 Maxims for Meeting Life’s Challenges by Gregg Krech)
Gregg Krech Author, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-reflection (2002)| Author, A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness (2004, 2011)| Author, A Finger Pointing to the Moon (2000)| Editor, Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living (1993-Present)| Director, ToDo Institute (Vermont) (1992-Pr......