The Greeks are having a lot of issues right now, and that’s unfortunate. Because at one time the Greeks were at the center of civilization’s development. They built the first city states, organized governments and established rules of law. and after many years of political reform kicked out the tyrants and created the system known as demokratia, or “rule by the people”…the forerunner of our own modern democracy.
Ancient Ideas That Still Are True
When I was young, around 13, I enjoyed reading Greek literature — Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey. I was particularly “taken” with Greek mythology and philosophy. It seemed to me then, and now, that there is hardly any idea discussed today that has not already been debated by the writers of ancient Greece. War and peace, love and hate, greed and intolerance, sexuality and homosexuality.
I was especially intrigued by the Greek idea that a healthy mind led to a healthy body, and vice versa. Around the same time I found and read a book on our family’s coffee table that my mother had been reading called “Psychosomatic Medicine”. It discussed other factors that had been implicit in Greek philosophy, like exercise and nutrition for the body and the brain, and adding the importance of feeding your mind self-reinforcing positive thoughts... like you would always be healthy.
So at 13 I decided to test these theories by becoming physically strong, running, playing ball, eating well and thinking positively. And for nearly 70 years now, except for a bout with the 24-hour flu in1960, I have never been sick.
Truly, our body is the physical host of our mind while we dwell in the physical universe. The mind and the body are interdependent and complementary. And just as we can develop powerful bodies through exercise and nutrition, we can develop powerful minds that allow us to get in touch with the infinite universal intelligence implicit in the cosmos.
Next time I will talk more about the mind: how as intelligent beings we interact with an intelligent universe. How through our mind we influence what happens in the universe and create the lives that our minds help us to imagine.