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The Buddha Nature of Your Body: Finding the Middle Way

For those of you who are unaware of the history of the Buddha here is a quick introduction and explanation as to why I say that your body has a Buddha nature.  The Buddha was initially a young prince with all the wealth, power and lifestyle associated with such status.  One day, after seeing suffering for the first time, he left his life of wealth, pompous and leisure and became an ascetic depriving himself of all that was unnecessary.  He was frustrated as this approach was not bringing him what he was seeking any more than his previously life had, better understanding and comprehension of life and its purpose.  One day he heard, while meditating, a sitar teacher explaining to a student that if you tighten the string too tight it will break, and if the string is to loose it will not play.  He understood at that moment that there is a middle way and he went on to teach about suffering and the cessation of suffering from this perspective.  The Buddhists therefore follow the middle way, avoiding extremes. Your body has a Buddha nature because it also does not like the extremes.  In fact your body works diligently to create and maintain an environment within certain parameters necessary for its ideal functioning, called homeostasis.  Your body does not respond well to immobility, holding the same static postures for long length of times, nor does it like prolonged repetitive forceful work for extended periods of time. 

To give you an example, when I was a student in Exercise Science, it was often discouraged to jog as it was believed that it would predispose you to osteoarthritis of the knee.  Research has demonstrated that this is in part true.  Those people who are inactive are more susceptible to osteoarthritis as are those who run excessively.  Those who jog moderately, three or four times a week, 20-40 minutes, actually have less incidence of osteoarthritis (interested to read more click here).  

A group of workers who were exposed to low levels of radiation in their workplace were studied to determine if they had more health issues than the general population.  Much to everyone’s surprise, they were actually healthier.  Why?  Because the radiation was a stressor, not sufficient enough in intensity to cause damage, but sufficient to force the body to make adaptive changes. The body responds to stress, and if we want positive adaptation’s the stress must be of sufficient intensity and duration, it must be done repetitively and it needs rest time to make these adaptations.

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