These last few weeks, I have been feeling the strain from giving myself wholeheartedly to the demands of the path. And I have become very aware of the need for raw heart, and alert mind to be held within sturdy container of healthy body. Hence the importance of self-care, starting with such basics as eating healthy, exercising one's muscles, and getting enough sleep. As the French say, 'Qui veut aller loin menage sa monture' (Whoever wants to travel far, steady wins the race)
The Buddha agrees:
So, too, prince there are five factors for striving . . .
Here a bhikkhu has faith, he places his faith in the Tathagata's enlightenment . . .
Then he is free from illness and affliction, possessing a good digestion that is neither too cool nor too warm but medium and able to bear the strain of striving.
Then he is honest and sincere, and shows himself as he actually is to the Teacher and his companions in the holy life.
Then he is energetic in abandoning unwholesome states and in undertaking wholesome states, steadfast, launching his effort with firmness and persevering in cultivating wholesome states.
Then he is wise; he possesses wisdom regarding rise and disappearance that is noble and penetrative and leads to the complete destruction of suffering.
These are the five factors of striving.
- from Bodhirajakumara Sutta: To Prince Bodhi, in Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha -
What do you do to take care of yourself?