Posted by Frederic Brussat on April 13, 2015

"Work of the eyes is done, now
go and do heart work."
– Rainer Maria Rilke

My heart is a marvelous fist-size pumping organ whose chief physical duty is to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the cells and organs of my body. It labors tirelessly beating approximately 80,000-140,000 times a day, depending on the resting heart rate. This astonishing feat adds up to 42 million heartbeats a year! My gratitude is abundant.

One of the major challenges . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on February 5, 2015

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke used to spend his lunch hour outside watching the faces of the people walking by; he found it a pleasant way to pass time. One day he wrote in his notebook: "It never occurred to me before how many faces there are. There are multitudes of people but there are many more faces, because each person has several of them."

I come from a long line . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on December 23, 2014

We have read that sitting is the new smoking and when we sit all day hunched over our computers, we are doing irreparable damage to our precious bodies. In this article by Caroline Dowd-Higgins, she quotes Lisa Fields who believes there is a high price that eventually must be paid for our sedentary lifestyle:

"A growing body of research shows that long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity."

Buddhists talk about the four postures of reclining, sitting, standing, and walking. In New World Mindfulness, Donald McCown and Marc Micozzi characterize sitting as the place where stillness and change meet. That's an interesting way of describing the one posture that we have persistently overdone in our lives.

Here are some of the hazards . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on October 27, 2014

As a boy I loved to run just for the sheer animal pleasure of it. There was something magical about moving my body – the feet flying, the churning of the legs, the pumping of the heart, and the rapid breathing – that was immensely appealing to me. I had always been a walker and running became for me a natural extension of this form of exercise.

As a young man with all the usual pressures and deadlines brought on by too much work, running became a release. By removing the stagnant air from my lungs and by focusing on the present moment, I experienced a life-enhancing feeling of true freedom. Oddly enough, the exertion of moving fast gave way to relaxation once the run for the day ended.

As a middle-aged man . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on August 21, 2014

Like other bodily fluids (snot, vaginal fluids, and semen), saliva is not something we talk or think about very often. This clear, watery liquid comes from several glands in your mouth which secrete two to four pints of spit every day.

Think of your saliva as a wonderful overachiever. Let's take a gander at the things it does for us. It wets food and makes it easier to swallow. It assists the tongue to help us taste things. It keeps the mouth moist and comfortable. Saliva has proteins and minerals that help keep our teeth clean and prevent gum disease. The enzymes in saliva serve as little warriors in the battle against bad breath and infections in the mouth. As a germ killer, saliva is more impressive and effective than any mouthwash.

In Living in the Tao . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on August 4, 2014

One of the many marvels of being human is the large role played by our biological clocks which regulate such activities as blood pressure, metabolic rate, digestion, heart rate, and urinary output. Because genes control our biological clocks this personality trait is inherited.

I happen to be a lark rather than an owl. As a college student I was a person who loved to stay up late and study far into the night. Now I go to bed at 9 pm and get up at 4 am, which means I am a really committed lark! This habit of rising so early works well for Mary Ann and me since she is owl who likes to stay up and get up late; she takes a while to feel lively in the morning. The cats seem to prefer my schedule since they get an extra meal out of it and love to sleep in my office after their breakfast.

My need to have a routine . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on June 4, 2014

Today I want to bring my attention to my wrists which like my toes have not received the accolades they deserve. They had an important role in my childhood and youth when I played baseball, helping me swing the bat properly and catch a ball with the right turn of the glove. I think of how important wrists are for most sports: golf, tennis, ping pong, darts, bowling, even the one-on-one battle of arm wrestling.

I have always used my hands to punctuate my words. I have pictures of me talking in front of a group or preaching where it's obvious I've been using my wrists to turn my hands in all kinds of positions.

The list of gifts from my wrists . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on May 8, 2014

Those who spend their time studying the body and human nature tell us that eyebrows are one of the most distinctive features of our appearance. No wonder so many women spend time plucking or penciling them. Others let them grow wild and take great pleasure in letting them extend in all directions. Since I cut my ponytail off years ago, I relish my eyebrows as a remaining outward sign of my inner rebel.

Scientists have a term for eyebrows: they are "superciliary patches." What do they do for us? Our eyebrows help keep moisture out of our eyes when we sweat or walk in the rain. You probably can recall some service your eyebrows have provided. I can think of many a time when they have kept both sweat and suntan lotion from getting in my eyes at the beach.

On another level . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on April 21, 2014

Although it is not true that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, it could be argued that it is one of the most versatile. It is essential for jump-starting the digestive process by serving as a guide. It keeps food between the teeth until it is chewed or masticated and sent on its merry way. Here the tongue is a capable manager.

The tongue is also what scientists call a peripheral sense organ in that it helps us perceive the sensation of taste. As Quaker J. Brent Bill reminds us, "taste is a way that God's presence comes to us." Think of all the magic moments in your life when your palate was introduced to a sweet, sour, pungent, or spicy taste. I can still remember the first time I tasted a piece of moist carrot cake or when I reveled in the exquisite taste of guacamole where the avocado had been laced with just the right mixture of garlic and cilantro. In both these delectable treats I was grateful to the presence of the Divine in my taste buds. Here the tongue is a gifted master-of-ceremonies.

The tongue is an erotic organ. . . .

Posted by Frederic Brussat on March 28, 2014

By far, the most pain I have ever experienced was when I had kidney stones. They are accumulations of mineral salts varying in size from microscopic to the size of a fingertip that form in the kidney and then travel down the ureter to the bladder. As the tiny, sharp crystals rub against this tube, it causes severe pain through the region. It may take days or a week for a kidney stone to pass and throughout this period of watching and waiting it is best to rely on a strong pain killer prescribed by an urologist.

An estimated 10 percent of Americans develop kidney stones at some point in their lives. This can be one of the most excruciatingly painful health disorders; a friend of mine who suffered through six bouts with kidney stones says that they are more painful than what a woman goes through giving birth. After my nightmarish experience, I have made it a habit to drink at least 6 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. This is the single most important measure one can take to prevent kidney stones from forming again.

My experience prompted me . . .


About This Blog

The world's religions encourage us to acknowledge the sacred qualities of our bodies. But how do we do this? This blog will explore spiritually literate views of the body through some of my personal experiences and favorite spiritual practices. More