April 03, 2023
Filed In: Health
It’s in our nature to seek to control those things around us. We want to control our time, our schedule, our health, and our destiny. The opposing truth to this desire for control is the reality of impermanence. Things, elements, and life are constantly changing.
We’re a quarter of the way through 2023, and perhaps you, like me, are starting to pause and reflect on our lack of progress on maintaining physical health. A year of work has distracted me from my once solid routine of morning walks. Work has been a wonderful thing, but by losing focus, I’ve lost progress.
There’s a powerful force in our biology called homeostasis. Our bodies can be willful and fight back even our modest efforts to maintain our health. We use physical exercise to improve efficiencies and increase health, while our bodies struggle to pull us back to idleness.
Homeostasis is the resistance we experience to our good work. Why do we not do the things that we ought to do? Why do I hit snooze for 45 minutes extra sleep when I know a morning workout will set my day up for success? Why do I scroll YouTube when reading a book is far more relaxing? It’s the resistance that homeostasis brings that causes me to tend towards idleness.
This natural tension is as old as humanity itself. We even find it in the Bible and in the writings of the early Church fathers. Sin is easy, sainthood is not. If we don’t give into the myth of sudden, radical conversion, but instead accept the daily work as St. Francis did, we can train our bodies. We can orient our minutes and days to the good work of health, peace, work, and prayer. Homeostasis will sink even the best laid plans if we let it; choose to do the work.