January 27, 2011

External and internal training

Photo JE

We can learn many principles for internal life by studying principles for what is more external. The external aspects of a human body express the internal. The body expresses the heart and mind. This is the reason why many principles that apply for the body also have value for what is more internal, the heart of love and desires and the mind of thinking and feeling.

Let’s look at how we train our body and keep it healthy. We hear or read about guidelines for health and exercises for the body. What if we acquire much knowledge about exercises and good health but we would not act from it? It would not help our body anything and the knowledge we gather becomes empty.

What is true knowledge in this regard?

Let’s follow how it works for a certain body exercise. First we find out about such an exercise, then practice it over time. As we practice, our knowledge deepens and becomes our own. Also, our body adapts and responds to doing the exercise by growing and developing. After we have worked out, we need to recuperate. We take some extra rest and good food and after one or a few days we again practice the same exercise. Our body changes through this and when the exercise is good, our body develops in a good way. Also our knowledge increases and there is unity between what we know and what we are.

The same principle applies to internal life. We read something in a book or we get an inspiration. We could gather this knowledge like in an encyclopaedia and we could also teach others, but what use does it have if we don’t practice what we learned? Just like we do for the body, we need to practice the truth we learned. We need to go over to action and only that will really change our mind. Our mind becomes healthy and strong by practicing truth. Our mind begins to look like a dusty old library when we don’t practice.

When we bring internal truth into practice, this can be compared to a workout. Also after the daily workout of the heart and mind, we need rest afterward and we need to nourish our heart and mind with what it needs for its growth.

This nourishment could be new truth, but it could also mean that we need prayer or meditation, or a walk in nature, or meeting loving friends, or just a long sleep.

Just like sporting people apply schedules for optimum results, also in internal life we can find rhythms in which the stages of learning, practicing and recuperating unfold best.

If any of these stages are left out, our heart and mind will weaken or even get ill, just like the body deteriorates without daily good practice.

What should we practice? Just something that seems nice to us? We need to be careful here. Just like a body doesn’t develop well when it is only exercised in one particular way, for example only by extreme body building, also our heart and mind could grow crooked like a tree that was forced into one direction by prevailing winds.

When we learn truth, we need to practice and also pass it on to others.

When we feel love, we need to share this love.

March 4, 2008

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