Question: I find that as we get older, we have to be kinder to our physical body.Sri Chinmoy: Not at all! I do not agree with your theory! If we become kinder to our physical body, then we will only lie down and sleep for twenty-four hours. The older we become, the more we have to be conscious about the activities of the body and the stronger will we have to be. Otherwise, lethargy will overtake us.
The more we show an affectionate feeling or a compassionate feeling to the body, the more the body will take advantage of us. Some people say, "Ah, I am now on the wrong side of fifty, so I should stay in bed. At least fifteen minutes more rest I deserve." But I do not agree with those people at all. I believe we have to say, "No, I am now on the wrong side of fifty. Therefore, I should take fifteen minutes less rest."
Like that, always we have to ask the body to do more and more, not less and less and less. If we tell the body, "You need more rest, much more rest," that will be the wrong approach. Then, even when we try to energise the body, the body will not listen to us. If we surrender to the body, if we want to become kind to the body, then we are digging our own grave. At first, the body will be so happy, but then this same body will make our lives useless, useless, useless.
True, you can no longer run at seven minutes per mile pace, but if you can run at even ten minutes per mile or eleven minutes per mile, you should do it. Otherwise, if you allow the body to go in its own way, that will be a horrible mistake. Inside the body, the mind is working. Once upon a time, the body was used by the mind to run the fastest. Now the same mind is telling the body, "You are useless!" Once upon a time, the mind compelled you to get up at six o'clock and meditate. Now the same mind is telling you, "It is too early!" Finally, you get up at eight o'clock and then the mind has to say, "It is too late!"
So the best thing is always to be strict with the body and to be more vigilant about its activities. And if we say we need more rest, more rest, we are only weakening our inner strength. No, we do not need that kind of weakness.
But again, you have to use your wisdom. If you see that lack of rest is telling upon your health, if you see that it is weakening you, then you have to be very careful. At that time, it is good to be wise. If you are taking less rest and, as a result, you are unable to walk in the street — you are dragging your body — then you have to know that you have gone beyond the capacity of the body.
So be wise. See how much the body can take. Sometimes we have no idea how much capacity the body has because the mind is acting in and through the body. The body may have the capacity to walk 200 metres, but the mind will say, "Fifty metres is enough." We have to watch how much the body can do for us, and how much we can do in and through the body.
If we take the attitude, "O my body, you are too old! Now I have to be very careful, I have to be very wise in dealing with you because I know that every day your capacity is decreasing, decreasing," if we have that kind of compassionate feeling towards the body, then in a few months or a few years, the body will say, "At last I have full freedom!" Full freedom in this case means nothing other than inaction. Sooner than at once activity will disappear from your life. So always use your wisdom, wisdom, wisdom.