a statue of a buddha sitting in a fountain

Opal – Live In Safety

The opal, like our bodies, is delicate and fragile.  This doctrine should be taught early in life to encourage a better understanding of the limitations of the body. 

Previously, I discussed living safely through the Silver Doctrine and obeying common sense.  There’s wisdom in educating ourselves before attempting a new activity that might cause injury to the body.

I remember the time when my parents upgraded my tricycle to a bicycle with training wheels. I was four and we lived on a main thoroughfare. 

I watched the big trucks go by and knew not to ride in the street.  Instead, I took the sidewalk that led to an alley that traveled behind the house and circled back around again to the sidewalk.

Every day, I rode the same path and noticed a little boy with a bicycle who lived behind us.  One day, we struck up a conversation and he mentioned that I couldn’t ride his bicycle since mine had training wheels.

I said, “Yes I can.”  His last words were, “You’ll be sorry.”  He handed his bike to me and as soon as I pushed off on one leg, I didn’t travel five feet and fell into the rocks.  This was a painful lesson, and I wished I had listened to him.

Teaching this doctrine to our children while very young instills wisdom before trying new ventures and if someone had explained more clearly why I couldn’t ride a bicycle without training wheels, I would have listened. 

I couldn’t understand the concept of why the two extra wheels made a difference which pointed to a weaker intellect than his.  Girls may need a little more explanation in understanding concepts than boys, but that’s not an indication of a lack of intelligence or an inability to excel. 

Girls have a different approach to their understanding and a different sadhana than boys.  It’s harsh when both are forced into one mode. 

It makes a girl feel weak for being feminine or a boy feel ashamed for being masculine and causes too much societal turmoil and battles between the sexes.  Each has different strengths and weaknesses, yet they complement one another in God’s Great Design. 

My most recent sadness came from a vegan influencer, 39, who died from malnutrition after subsisting exclusively on a diet of exotic fruit in Malaysia.  She claimed that it had been her diet for the last four years, though others stated it was more like seven years. 

She looked happy though emaciated in her later photos purporting the diet as healthy, when in fact, she was wasting away.  Physically and spiritually, the signals were there but she didn’t listen to her body or the warnings of those who knew and loved her.

Currently, obesity is a worse issue affecting 42% of the population and the largest in history.  This, too, is caused by an improper diet affecting health and overall well-being.   Carrying around an extra thirty pounds isn’t healthy even though admitting so, the public calls it “body shaming.” 

Instead, the media shows grossly obese women appearing in underwear commercials which is appalling to the eyes.  If they look unhealthy with clothes on, why should I be forced to look at them wearing so little?  This isn’t just a problem with females as the men suffer from it too.   

If a person is sensitive about their weight, it’s a signal inside to work on becoming healthier, not buying bigger underwear, and feeling good about it.  Yes, I have had the same struggles as many and had to buy bigger clothes. 

It never made me feel better no matter how many obese commercials I watched or made me want to join a let’s-be-happy-we’re-fat club and feel good about it.  Once the awareness is there, it makes sense to pursue a healthier diet.

This is not to say that there aren’t those who have eating disorders. I had that too in my teen years with roller coaster dieting.  I’d go without food for three or four days, sometimes a week, and then splurge.  I suffered from never being thin enough when I looked in the mirror.

Being overweight in childhood is different since the body is still growing and I would discourage dieting and encourage children to be physically active instead.  Providing enough physical activity naturally curbs food intake and has a positive spiritual effect.

Like me, most with eating disorders still understand what a healthy weight is when they step on a scale.   I used it as a form of control since everything else in life was so unpredictable, and I could at least control that most of the time. 

I also dealt with nervous issues which made eating less desirable.  Later, I flipped the other way and found solace in food, and neither extreme is good for the body.

Exercise helps the body and has many positive spiritual benefits.  It clears the mind and improves a person’s health and well-being.  My teen years would have been more enjoyable if I had biked or run off my nervous energy instead of starving myself. 

The church never encouraged exercise as positive for the spirit and I was too nervous and insecure to be an athlete outside of joining a softball team.  Besides, what if I had to miss church during the week because of practice?

Without exercise, the body becomes more rigid with age like the soul does without meditation.  Both are needed for a person’s health and well-being. 

The body and soul is like an eco-system that’s perfectly arranged by the Creator, and optimal performance and happiness are accomplished with karma and raja yoga combined. 

Meditating naturally enhances one’s karma yoga, but lacking self-reflection is like moving without a purpose.  Self-reflection fills that purpose and sense of well-being, thus the two are conjoined, and our work and karma yoga become life-changing.    

Recently, I watched Andrew Tate, a social media influencer, in a podcast with Candace Owen and laughed when he mentioned he was “the most googled man on the planet.”  That seems to be his favorite line now when he’s interviewed.

Many see him as controversial, but he does offer positive teachings for young men when he says, “Get off the couch, go to the gym, and work harder in life.”  His alpha male mentality is less than appealing, but his message is inspiring for many men searching for a mentor and a sense of direction.

Recently, he spent three months in a Romanian prison for allegations that appear to be false, and the effect of this adversity made him more tolerable.  Ninety days gave him enough time to contemplate life, with an improvement in his being-state, and the attitude and tone of his message softened.

During the podcast, he said that though he had all his wealth, he didn’t own anything.  Everything was rented, from his health to his wealth and he still did hundreds of pushups a day while in jail.  This was a deeper reflection than his previous messages.

Before this time, his thoughts were more focused on excellence in karma yoga and working harder and better than everyone else or what he refers to as being the “Top G(uy).” 

Excelling in karma yoga wasn’t a negative message to send to the world, yet all those years of dedication to being the world’s best kickboxer didn’t accomplish the changes that occurred within those few months of forced isolation. 

His passion for kickboxing and becoming the best was the starting point that led to devotion and a deeper reflection on his life. 

This is a wonderful example of how excellent karma yoga and dedication lead to devotion and inner change, or what I refer to as an aghorisadhu in karma yoga.  This passion and devotion turned inward while isolated since he didn’t have all his worldly possessions to divert his attention from the intangible.       

These three months of self-reflection improved his being-state, though he still has a way to go to reach the level of Sadhguru or Osteen.  His degree of inner work while in jail is impressive, but it may fall by the wayside, if he doesn’t continue in his spiritual reflection and instead, as a Muslim, reverts to karma yoga alone.

It’s unfortunate the churches today aren’t emphasizing karma yoga by leading the young people in a way that helps them thrive in their sadhana.  All actions are considered worldly to the church if a person isn’t reading scripture, praying, or attending.  Yet, every action in karma yoga is spiritual in nature since the spirit directs the body.

Once Sid Roth was interviewing a fellow who said he snuck out of church in his youth to go skating.  The audience shook their heads and Mr. Roth gave him a few glances of disdain.  I could think of a lot worse ways to get into trouble than skipping church and going to a skating rink. 

He obviously had the energy to burn and instead, Mr. Roth should have asked, “Why didn’t your church offer activities that encouraged you spiritually?”  Instead, the fellow in dhyana felt compelled to say he wasn’t following the Lord as he should have at the time. 

The whole issue of him choosing to go skating over the church was a trifling issue since God honors both activities.  It would have been different if he skipped church for some evil purpose.  Still, children and teenagers should always communicate with their parents, so they have knowledge of their whereabouts. 

Gathering with others who love the Lord should be encouraging for everyone’s sadhana, and when a child is sneaking away, that’s a good sign they’re not happy with what the church is providing spiritually.  No one stepped back and thought about it correctly, including the fellow who felt bad about leaving.

What if his Sunday school teacher took his class to a butterfly garden instead and discussed all the different varieties and then had a spiritual discussion of their value and importance in God’s ecosystem? 

The teacher could have discussed how the cocoon is like sadhana and the struggle to break free from duality and the result of the struggle is to become divine and beautiful like the butterfly. 

As a child, it would have been much more memorable for me than sitting in a classroom every week and coloring a cross or a tomb.  Even if the teacher had taken us around the block and we named all the birds or flowers we saw along the way would have been fun.  It also encourages children to reflect on the intangible and God’s greatest miracles in life. 

We create happiness and fellowship with one another when the activity is enjoyable with lasting friendships along the way.  I wonder how many in this fellow’s youth group still communicate with one another after all these years.  If I would venture to guess, probably none.        

One day, I heard a loud crash from the apartment above.  My son lives there, and I was worried.  What fell with so much force?  I refrained from knocking on his door since he’s a grown man and almost thirty. 

Later that week in passing, I mentioned the incident and he said, “I was trying to do a backflip.”  The worried mother in me said, “Shouldn’t you practice on a trampoline first?  The floor upstairs is hard.”  He may be physically fit, but he’s not a gymnast.

He said he had a friend who had a large trampoline and practiced some but couldn’t connect with him recently due to their work schedules.  He mentioned that he had watched some training videos which made me feel better due to the possibility of injury.

At first, I envisioned the worst scenario of him wearing a neck brace and tried to dissuade him.  Eventually, I relented since his will, desire, and determination were stronger and I felt somewhat better about his effort to educate himself before attempting it.

When young, it’s difficult to imagine living in an older body that isn’t as resilient as it once was.  The body is more fragile than we realized when we were young.  A broken arm or leg can cause more suffering later in life, long after the initial injury has healed.

We may wake up one day and the broken arm from twenty years ago aches now continuously.  The later years can be quite painful if we aren’t careful enough to avoid injury earlier in life.

My oldest son spent many years lifting weights and realized later he wasn’t using the correct motions and eventually injured his rotor cuff.  Now at thirty-five, he has constant shoulder pain and wishes he would have paid closer attention to proper technique while lifting.

The more we educate ourselves with safe practices, the richer our lives become with learning new skills.  It expands the being-state while gaining stamina, confidence in our sadhana, and spiritual fulfillment.

With safe practices, we can continue to expand and learn new skills through all the years of our sadhana with a deeper appreciation of the miracles of life. 

The body is fragile, and life is much more exciting when the body is free from injury or the pain of a prior one.  We shouldn’t be too afraid to learn new activities but use wisdom by learning from those who have the expertise and knowledge. 

Be patient with yourself in learning new skills for the body is the most precious miracle of all and meant to last for many years.  This is the Bible’s meaning in describing the body as a temple given by the Holy Spirit.  God’s Awesome Power has put your soul into a body to pursue happiness and ecstatic living through ahimsa and spiritual practices.

Inside the temple is the only place we’ll find real joy in living.  Through wisdom in our daily activities, God’s promise of spiritual blessings will continue to flow with each passing year and life after life. 

close-up photo of bokeh lights