Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Sweat It

 A doctor and long time spiritual practitioner related a story about the time he was in India with his guru, some decades past. The seasonal temperature ranged from baking to broiling, but lounging under a shady tree was not a desirable option. Most often devotees gathered on the rooftop of the ashram where the teacher loved to fly kites and perform other antics befitting a guru of young age.

The doctor was suffering from intense heat that was magnified by black roofing paper spread over the rooftop. With a burning desire to escape his discomfort, yet a stronger motivation to stay with his mentor, he was desperate to find a coping mechanism. He pondered, "How do the people who live here all the time survive in this climate?"

Being of a scientific ilk, he devoted himself to an empirical study. He observed that the key to the local natives' adaptation was sweating. (At least that was his theory.) Since jumping out of the boiling mosh pit would deprive him of the pleasure of his teacher's company, he decided to learn how to sweat. And voila! He became a man of the land, a sweater who could sweat it out with the best of them.

When I asked him how one learns how to sweat at will, he merely shrugged his shoulders and said, "You sweat."

His enigmatic answer leads me to one conclusion. The only way to learn how to sweat profusely - enough to adapt to extreme heat - is to find a proper shamanic healer whose sweat lodge could provide the ideal environment in which to learn the art of sweating. And if I can survive that kind of sweat, I'll be ready for anything - except a trip to the Antarctic.

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