Master of fate, captain of soul

 Man devised religions to conquer nature – 8

Nail bed

It’s quarter to nine in the evening. I have just returned from my 7-km jog quite wet.  I was restless having rested for a long stretch of time in front of my computer screen. Outside I saw the dark clouds. My body demanded exercise and my brain obeyed. Sweating in the rain reminded me of the comment that Professor Saint face-booked regarding the hot sun I had to bear during my last race and performing badly: “I am glad that you listen to your body”.

“What does he mean,” I wondered. Then I flashed back, “If I had listened to my body forty years ago you would not be reading this or I would be in a wheel chair.”

Then my brain jumped to Nelson Mandela who often quoted William Ernest Henley:  “I am the master of my fate.  I am the captain of my soul.”

My thought process accelerated and the rain served as a coolant.

“The brain is a part of my body, the part that thinks. That is not wholly true. Research has shown that thinking occurs even in the micro-cell. Why doesn’t the brain tell me? It seems that it keeps all the secrets except two: pain and sometimes pleasure!”

Then I returned to the earlier thought, “If I had listened to the pain in my knees I would not be here”.

Ignoring the pain that skips from one part of my left knee to another, the brain adopts a fast mode churning out ideas and images that it puts into some logical form.

“I’m fickle,” the brain admitted. “I transmit only the pain messages, so that this man would stop all his stupid running and stop doing the TV-gym attracted to the lovely silhouette of Sandrine.”

People in general like things that give them pleasure. They listen to the slightest pain and run to the doctor. They think that they are listening to the body but do not know that the fickle brain is cheating them. They submit that the brain is their master. They find it impossible to govern their brains.

Thinking of hypochondriacs who fane pain when there is none, my brain relaxed and took over the management of my body. My jogging pace slowed down although going downhill. I was awakened by a twinge in my left knee. I tensed my body, took its control and soon the pain vanished.

My shaken brain saw a skinny Hindu fakir or sadhu sleeping comfortably on a bed of sharp nails and another twisting his body into contortions, I guess painful. It also saw a staunch member of the Roman Catholic order flagellating his body and willingly accepting the excruciating pain. It also recalled the annual self-flagellation ceremony of Shia Muslims.

“These people are my enemies,” my brain declared, “because they want to reveal my secret without understating what they are doing. They want to reduce my pain transmission system and know about the other thinking network spread to the micro-cells. I know, they want to prove that against the evident wish of the brain, the body has always been able to repair, adjust, and reinforce itself without informing the owner. Surely my brain knows it all but I don’t.

Then I briefly closed my eyes to pay respect to Nelson Mandela and his master William Ernest Henley who put to practice: “I am the master of my fate.  I am the captain of my soul.”

I completed my jog two minutes faster than normal.



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