Although I disagree with some aspects of this book [such as the monumental emphasis on “self-cohesion” and the reliance on carnality stated just after the quote below (if you ever pick up the book)], this quote encapsulates a lot of what C. S. Lewis states in his writings. Particularly, it showcases the fact that we are not meant to be ascetic (shunning our bodies and the world), but appreciate the dim mirror of the original glory God put in the world (as well as acknowledge its fallen state) so that we may be inflamed by it.
God instills within us a yearning for the presence of the Holy. God nurtures in us a longing to feel God near, and to feel an intimate part of God’s work in the world.1
Jesus knew that we live and move and have our being through our body. He reflected the spirit of the Hebrews, who in the Old Testament show a remarkable sense of the unity of the human being. Nowhere in the Old Testament is a person described as simply a soul inhabiting a body, and the body is never depicted simply as a casing for the soul. We are not all body, but all that we are we are through our body. The restoration and personal maintenance of the self is always bodily, for that is how we are in the world, as body-selves.
Self-cohesion stays firm when we live through our body fully. That means letting our bodily feelings come strong and forceful: letting our nerve endings tingle when listening to inspiring music, letting our heart ache for those who suffer, letting our whole body absorb the pleasure of a hug or the sexual stimulation of our partner’s body. It means running our fingers through the soil and knowing we are part of it, breathing in the winds of spring and winter, feeling in rhythm with the seasons and with the ebb and flow of life. It means savoring our vigor as well as the decline that comes with aging. It means sensing our own death and greeting it from afar.2
1Randall, Robert L. “Self/Time Management in Preaching.” The Time of Your Life: Self/Time Management for Pastors. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994. 75. Print.
2Ibid. “Self/Time Management in Personal Maintenance.” 125.
*I would also caution the seemingly new age pantheism-type language used on page 131 (talking about being one with the clouds) and page 138 (talking about the religious awesomeness of the “now”).