How many of us realize the tremendous intelligence that our body possesses?
Take the example of our digestive system.
The whole process of converting bread to blood is such a complex and delicate one, requiring fine intelligence to convert the different types of food into energy to run the body. What is achieved through a few feet of coiled intestine would need a few miles, if it were an industry outside of the body! The process of digestion starts from our mouth. We chew the food and the saliva we secrete starts the digestion. There are so many big and small body elements that perform amazing functions in the process. We swallow the food and it passes through the throat into the food pipe. Beautifully the food is blocked from going into the wind pipe instead of the food pipe by the epiglottis. The food enters into the stomach, which is like an elastic bag and has a delicate and powerful digestive mechanism. Depending on the type of food taken in like carbohydrates, proteins or fats, the digestive mechanism varies.
The digestive fire in us, what we call jataragni in Sanskrit, is related to the acid in the stomach. The stomach is such a delicate organ but it actually contains this powerful acid needed to digest the food we eat. The stomach itself is beautifully protected from this acid by a thick mucus layer around its wall which neutralizes the acid. All the complex foods we eat take just a few hours to digest and absorb into our system. Imagine not even a single process has to be consciously thought about! It is managed automatically and so precisely, adapting itself so beautifully to accommodate all our diets. After the stomach, the food passes into the small intestine where the majority of the digestion takes place. It is actually a long structure but so efficiently fitted in a small area with many folds which increases the surface area of absorption. Most of the nutrients get absorbed in the small intestine. The main function of the small intestine is absorption of nutrients. The complex products like carbohydrates and proteins are broken down into basic elements and absorbed. The nutrients that are absorbed are carried to the liver for further processing. Then the food moves into the large intestine where mostly water absorption occurs. Then the food that cannot be absorbed like fiber is mixed with other waste products from the body and thrown out as waste matter. This is just a basic explanation of digestion.
But in the body it is such a complex, well-organized and adaptive mechanism.
Similar to the complex process of digestion, controlling the level of blood sugar involves an intricate mechanism.
When we eat, the level of sugar in the blood increases because the food is broken down into glucose or sugar. Because blood reaches all parts of the body, it is very important to monitor a person’s sugar level. Otherwise, many parts and functions of the body like the kidneys, eyes and nerves can be affected. This is what happens in people with diabetes. Insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas which decreases the level of sugar in the blood, is important in regulating blood sugar levels when we eat food. This hormone helps protect us from blood sugar levels that are too high. If the blood sugar level drops too low, sugar stored in the liver is broken down into glucose by a hormone called glucagon that is also released by the pancreas. The glucose is then released into the blood stream and the blood sugar level increases. The same pancreas which generates the insulin that reduces the blood sugar level also generates another hormone, glucagon, which raises the blood sugar level! Every moment, the level of blood sugar is regulated so beautifully by the body sensing the level of blood sugar and activating the appropriate mechanism to maintain it in a safe range.
Take the example of the human brain. Such a mind-boggling intelligence operates inside a structure that is just about two fist sizes! To date, scientists around the world have not been able to replicate tasks that the brain seems to do so effortlessly.
A recent research report reported that ten linguists working full time for ten years to analyze the structure of the English language could not program a computer with the ability of a child that learns the language in the first five years of life. A computer may be able to perform trillions of mathematical and logical operations in a second but it cannot perform the amazing array of parallel tasks that the brain performs every millionth of a second.
If you see, the body and the heart function in such beautiful synchronicity. The natural pacemaker in the heart sets off an electrical impulse every few seconds. This impulse creates an electromagnetic field, which is sent to the whole body. The field acts as a field of resonance where all the body cells tune in to each other. Because of this resonance, each cell not only does its own specialized function but also adapts to the activity of its neighboring cells, so our body can function in a completely integrated way.
The human body starts from a single cell which replicates and becomes about 250 different types of cells. Imagine one cell transforms into so many different specialized cells that form the complex parts of the body! Not only do these cells do their specialized job, their very maintenance needs millions of things to be done in a second. And all their activities have to be coordinated for the body to function as a single organism. It is the best example of distributed intelligence.
Just think, when our body can digest food, pump blood, adapt to the environment and at the same time perform a thousand other complicated tasks without help from outside, you have to accept that there is an intelligent energy driving it. If you just reflect on this, you will realize there is something called body intelligence. But we don’t see it because it goes on silently within us.
A small story:
Once a king went to an enlightened Zen master and asked him, ‘I heard that you are an enlightened man and you radiate energy around you. You are always in bliss. What do you do?’
The Zen master replied, ‘I eat when I eat and sleep when I sleep.’
You may ask, ‘Don’t we also do the same thing?’
Look into your own life. You will find that while you are eating you are thinking about all of your worries and problems. Your mind will be busy planning everything about work tomorrow or your vacation next week. You quickly eat your food because there is no time for eating. You don’t really eat when you eat! When you eat, your being never feels the food. If you eat with awareness, you will never feel the heaviness because you will never overeat. Your body has its own intelligence to decide what food to take and how much. You can very clearly find out which food suits you and which does not if you eat with awareness. This itself is a great meditation. In the same way, when you sleep, you never really relax your mind, you start analyzing all of the events that happened that day. Just try focusing on the present moment and falling asleep, that is enough.
source: Living Enlightenment