Most of us try to eat the right foods in order to maintain a healthy body and appearance. Do you remember the movie “Supersize Me”? The guy ate nothing but McDonald’s and he couldn’t take it even 30 days. His doctor told him he had to change his diet because it was going to kill him, literally. It’s become increasingly important how we construct our diets. You can Google “plant based diet” and you’ll get lots of information about how the correct diet can cure diabetes and some claim, even cancer. So you don’t have to look far to see how important a good diet is to your overall health. Eat the wrong things and it can kill you. Eat correctly and it can cure various disease or ailments. Pretty straight forward. We’ve even condensed this philosophy down to a simple cliché’; “You are what you eat.” It would be nice if taking care of your body stopped there and it was indeed as simple as what you eat but, it’s not.
What about the condition of the soul and the effect of that condition on the body? We’ve all experienced either first hand or watched someone else go through hard times and seen what the emotional state of their soul can do to one’s body and overall health. Depending on what’s defined as “hard times” it can be either emotionally draining due to pain from a spouse or family member dying, or it can be physical trauma that brings on the emotional state of depression. Either way, the soul can have a traumatic effect on the body. So much so that the immune system can shut down or cancer can surface simply by experiencing too much emotional stress for an extended period of time. The condition of the soul can destroy the body, in spite of good diet. So the condition of the soul is every bit as important as the condition of the body. They work together.
So, I think it’s pretty clear that we have to take care of our bodies, not only through the managing of our diet, but managing what we subject our souls to as well. You can have the best diet available on the planet and it won’t amount to a hill of beans if you subject yourself to emotional stress everyday. Your body will develop disease and fail. Stress is a powerful weapon against the body. The soul is something to guard.
So, you might be asking; “What do we do about managing the soul? Some of us have stressful jobs and can’t avoid stress; what are we supposed to do?” The quick answer is exercise, beat yourself up and do it often. I guarantee you that will work but I’m not talking about that kind of stress here. I’m talking about what we voluntarily put before ourselves. I’m talking about those of us who go out and seek stress, fear and anxiety in our lives. I’m talking about voluntarily damaging and changing the soul, permanently. Yes it’s true.
If we should be careful about what we eat for the sake of the body, it follows that we should be careful about what we see and hear for the sake of the soul. It’s important to take care of, or guard your soul because, let’s face it, the soul can have a profound impact upon the body.
The effects of the soul on the body are quite remarkable. For example; It’s well documented that laughter will help (and some have claimed) even cure cancer patients. Sound unbelievable? Google it. When the soul is happy, free of stress, fear or anxiety, it can cure the body of many ailments. When you build the soul up through encouragement or hope, you build up the body. Courage isn’t a product of the body, it’s a product of the soul.
If this is all true, then it follows logically that when the soul is fed negative things such as fear, stress, or hate, it must also effect the body in a like manner. The soul will break the body down in proportion to the level of the stress, fear or hate, it is fed.
Our minds record everything we’ve ever seen or heard in our lifetime. It’s impossible to “un-see” things. These visions remain in our sub-conscious where it enters our dreams and can haunt us for a lifetime. It can most certainly shape us into who we become. So what we watch on cable or listen to on the radio can have a direct effect on our souls and therefore, our bodies.
Keep in mind I’m talking about what we voluntarily put our souls through. Unlike the soldiers that go to war and see some horrific things that can’t be unseen. This is not by choice and, in my mind, is why we should honor and appreciate the combat veteran. The combat veteran truly makes an incredible sacrifice; the damage to his or her very soul. Some of us will see things in our lifetime that no one, ever, should have to see. When our paths cross these situations, unavoidably, that’s quite another story and no fault of our own.
I’m talking about the individual who seeks horror, hate, or crime to watch as entertainment and voluntarily damages and changes his soul. If it’s true that damaging or stressing the soul will directly and proportionately effect the body, why in the Sam Hill do we voluntarily allow horror or crime movies in through our eye gates where they will reside eternally in the soul? For that matter, why do we purposely allow anything negative in through any gate at all? Some of us will actually pay good money to go see, yet another, chain saw movie. Really? The sight of someone being sawed to death is entertainment now? Sounds a lot like the Romans and the Coliseum in 100-200 AD. The only difference is that now we have padded seats and popcorn and the perpetrators of the evil we’re watching in the films are using better, more efficient technology. We’ll sit and watch a movie, morally condemning the actions of the actors involved, all while calling it entertainment. Almost seems like a definition of insanity? Yet we go to these movies, seeking them out. Then we wonder why we have bad dreams, ill health, or paranoia.
Worse yet, why don’t we worry more about what this type of behavior is doing to us? What is it turning us into? When it stops bothering us, that’s when we need to worry and worry a lot. If you think you’re not affected by what you see and hear, try putting on a wedding dress and walking through a coal mine. That’s why cops who work Vice are limited in how long they’re allowed to work it. It changes them. If we can become indifferent to another person being tortured or killed, then we need to consider a change of our visual diet. Desensitizing ourselves to others pain shouldn’t be a goal but, it does become a bi-product.
The danger in this is that once the soul has become accustomed to the horrific images, it’s even harder to convince this individual that it’s harming them. There’s an old Indian proverb that says, “If you want to know what the water is like, don’t ask the fish.” We live in a culture today that will numb you to the truth. We will adjust to what everyone else thinks is “normal” and call anyone outside the perceived societal perimeter as something abnormal. My dad used to tell me; “Look which way the herd is going and go the other way.” As I got older the importance became more clear to me.
So what’s the point?
Becoming a gatekeeper for our own soul can be life extending as well as soul saving. We must choose if we want to live, desensitized to the evil and horror of this world. If we choose to ignore this “soul consuming cancer”, we risk having it shape our souls in such a way that we begin to see evil as normative, even worse, harmless. If we let into our soul the very thing we were once afraid of as a child, we will only make ourselves become what we once feared. When we become what we once feared, it won’t seem so bad to us. That’s when we should be scared. But we won’t be. That’s the really scary part of it all.
So, what do we do now?
A good start might be to cut out the input of graphic violence, horror films, anything objectifying women and any other questionable content. Yeah, I know, there’s nothing left to watch but Seinfeld right?
It won’t happen overnight, but you might find yourself happier, healthier and with a brighter outlook on life. You’ll begin to see the world and others differently, even optimistically. You may even notice an increase of empathy for others who are suffering and in pain. When you find yourself wincing at some of things you used to call entertainment, you’ll have made some progress. What you don’t want to do is tell yourself that “I can handle it” and “it’s not affecting me.” This is the proverbial frog boiling in water claiming that it’s not bothering him, and “he can handle it.” The frog will eventually realize his misfortune, but when he does, it will be too late.
The late comedian George Carlin once quipped; “Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.” We can’t allow ourselves to let the culture tell us how we should live our lives. The culture will never suffer because the culture isn’t anyone. It’s a “thing.” It’s simply a revenue machine or, if you’re a frog, a large pot of boiling water, that we mimic and impersonate to stay current. We can all be victims of the culture. If we let it.
Look which way the crowd is going and go the other way.
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