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A good healthy physical body is a great asset. Something we often take for granted until something goes wrong. If you look back at the machinery you will recall how complex it is, and just how many parts there are that can go wrong. We can suffer from:
- Birth defects. Some 5% – 10% of all babies born suffer from some sort of birth defect. These can be from inherited genetic causes (about 20%), drugs used during pregnancy, or nutritional deficiencies. About a quarter of these are thought to be due to environmental agents. Common ones include club foot, cleft palate, spina bifida, Downs syndrome, etc.
- An illness. We rely on our immune system to help us fight off and recover from viral and bacterial infections. Many diseases can be treated, but there are some particularly nasty ones (like Ebola), and many that were treatable are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics which have been responsible for saving so many lives.
- Allergies. These can manifest as adverse reactions to food or the environment, resulting in skin rashes or asthma or hay fever. Many are only partially treatable.
- Loss of limbs. Such as from an accident (about 25%), or from amputation due to a condition such as gangrene.
- Paralysis. Involving one or more limbs. A tetraplegic loses muscle function in all four limbs, and around 2% of the population will suffer from temporary or permanent paralysis in one or more limbs during their lifetime.
- Degradation as we age. As we get older many of our senses start to dull, and many older folk suffer from eyesight and hearing problems. Worse are motor neuron diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
We can try to avoid these afflictions, but some are beyond our control. Birth defects and accidents can have a permanent impact on us for the rest of our lives. Doctors can now do remarkable things with artificial limbs, but they are rarely as good as the real thing. Maintaining a healthy immune system is the best insurance policy against many diseases. We are surrounded by viruses and bacteria each day and we rely on our body’s defences to stay healthy.
The physical body is our chariot. We need it to move us around and do things. If it isn’t in top working condition it is going to slow you down and impede you in whatever you are doing, and it is also likely to require you to spend more time looking after it; time which could be better spent in spiritual pursuits. Ideally, the physical body should be a willing servant. It shouldn’t complain with aches and pains. You need to take care of it, but remember that it should serve you, rather than requiring you to spend the majority of your time tending to it (refer back to how we spend our time).
If you have a healthy and vibrant physical body, be thankful and do your best to keep it that way.