Chapter 3: The Navel: Seat of Will
But one can make mistakes in this part also. Just as one can make a mistake with one’s diet - eating either too little or too much - so a mistake can happen here also: one can either do no physical exercise at all or do too much. Wrestlers do too much exercise: they are in a sick state. A wrestler is not a healthy person. A wrestler is putting too much of a burden on the body, he is raping the body. If the body is raped then some parts of the body, some muscles, can become more developed - but no wrestler lives long! No wrestler dies in a healthy state. Do you know that all wrestlers - whether he is a Gama, a Sandow or anybody else with a great body, even the greatest in the world - die unhealthy? They die prematurely, and they die of violent diseases. Raping the body can develop the muscles and make the body worth looking at, worth exhibiting, but there is a great difference between exhibition and life. There is a great difference between living, being healthy, and being an exhibitionist.
Each person should find out according to himself, according to his body, how much physical work he should do to live more healthily and more freshly. The more fresh air there is inside the body, the more blissful each and every breath is, the more vitality a person will have to explore the inner. Simone Weil, a French philosopher, has written a very wonderful thing in her autobiography. She said, “Until the age of thirty I was always sick. I was unhealthy and I had many head-aches. But it was only at the age of forty that I realized that until the age of thirty I had been a materialist. I became healthy when I became more spiritual. It was only later that I saw that my being sick and unhealthy was related to my materialism.”
A person who is sick and unhealthy cannot be full of gratitude towards existence. There can be no thankfulness in him towards existence: there is only anger. It is impossible for such a person to accept something from existence when he is full of anger towards it. He simply rejects it. If one’s life does not attain a certain balance of health through right-work and right-exercise, then it is natural that one will feel some negativity, a resistance, an anger towards life.
Right-work is an essential rung on the ladder to ultimate religiousness.
The third point is right-sleep. Eating has become disrupted, physical work has become disrupted - and sleep has been totally murdered! The thing which has been harmed the most in the development of human civilization is sleep. From the day man discovered artificial light, his sleep has become very troubled. And as more and more gadgets started coming into his hands, he started feeling sleep to be an unnecessary thing, too much time is wasted in it: the time when we are asleep is completely wasted. So the less sleep he could do with, the better. It does not occur to people that sleep has any kind of contribution to the deeper processes of life. Some people think that the time spent sleeping is time wasted, so the less they sleep the better; the more quickly they reduce the amount of sleep, the better.
This is one type of person, wanting to reduce the amount of sleep needed. Another type has been the monks and the hermits who felt that this sleep, this unconsciousness in the form of sleep, was the opposite to the state of self-realization or self-awakening. So according to them it was not good to sleep, and the less you slept the better.