Sir Ken Robinson has a great line about the mistake we all make when we regard our bodies as simply a means of getting our heads from meeting to meeting. As a teacher at a high school, I am confronted on a regular basis with this phenomenon. My students are trained to move quickly and efficiently during five-minute passing periods, and then to sit relatively still while developing their intellects and character. Even at a school as progressive and benevolent as the one I am fortunate to inhabit, it is no wonder that we forget that we are animals, possessed of the profound gift of physical grace.
Whether or not you agree with Sting that we are spirits in a material world, I would argue that when you regard your mental world as primary and everything else as secondary, you create a petty tyrant and constrict her wisdom to a swath of experience so narrow that it would seem hilarious were the results not so tragic. Degenerative disease, interpersonal isolation, and emotional imbalance become immanent. When reason and logic are the only standards of value, the majority of our experience is devalued, and our lives become less meaningful.
Consider that reason may simply be one of many powerful tools you possess for navigating the world and creating a rich life. You have a body which is designed to thrive when challenged intelligently, and which can be a source of immense pleasure, creativity, and peace. You have an emotional landscape as diverse and dynamic as any rainforest – a landscape intimately tied to the realities of your body, by the way. You have a web of relationships that, consciously or not, define and inspire your capacities to effect change and rest easy in your heart.
Certainly, the intellect can be a powerful ally. Be careful that its power does not seduce you into moving it from the status of trusted friend to sovereign ruler.