When I was growing up there was a weekly magazine that came with the newspaper which had a column written by the person with the highest recorded IQ. I really enjoyed it but one thing she wrote has always stuck in my head. She said the brain is just like your body, it needs to be exercised to perform better. My first thought was that is stupid…. Some things are physical and some are mental and there is no room for crossover. But my second thought was, wait a second, this is the SMARTEST person in the world (more or less, I won’t argue about the quality of IQ tests, etc, but suffice to say she is an extremely intelligent person!).. so if the smartest person in the world says this about the organ that makes you smart, I have to trust she knows what she is talking about!!
We must take care of our bodies, eat well, exercise, etc. But we must also take care of our brains… brain exercises! Puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, singing, math, etc, etc… anything that gets the brain firing!!
Now, how we take care of our physical bodies also affects our brain chemistry, which affects our well we do brain exercises. However, the converse is true as well, our well we take care of our brains affects how well we look after our bodies…
If we are depressed, we tend to not exercise, not eat well… and then this rolls over into our brain, and a negative cycle, feedback loop, is created.
If we don’t exercise or eat well… this can roll over into our brain chemistry and we can become depressed and/or have decreased mental abilities, and this again, can create a negative feedback loop.
Of course the converse is true… if take care of our bodies, it helps our brain and if we take care of our brains, this helps our bodies….
So, we need to be kind to ourselves, both mentally and physically, and realize how important or rather, realize how not unimportant taking care of our brains truly is. (and our bodies too, but most of us already now that, regardless if we follow through, lol).
All of this can extend into the spiritual, if one considers this another level, in addition to mental and physical. We must make sure we exercise not only our bodies and our brains, but also our hearts (I don’t mean the raw physical heart, but rather our Buddha-heart, our Buddha-nature, our Buddha-mind, our spiritual heart).
Tending to each, supports the others and all grow together. Ignoring each, lessens the others and all regress together. Let us be kind to ourselves.