We are integrated beings. We are not just a body, we are not just a soul or a spirit. We are all that we are and all of us is important to God. It's simple, actually. If you're hungry, I mean really hungry, you have more difficult time focusing. If you finally eat but all you eat is Big Macs, you'll most likely feel like crap and this will affect your whole outlook on life--the way you speak to and treat others. If you eat good food, on the other hand, you'll feel better. You might even be more optimistic and kind. Our very spirit is affected by what's happening in our bodies because they're part of the same person (hmm... perhaps this could lead into a discussion on the Trinity).
The adverse is true as well, however. Our body is affected by our spirit. Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated? Exhausted beyond just being tired? Burnt out? Depressed? Physically affected by what's going on in your heart? Well, perhaps this has to do with the sort of "food" we are feeding our spirit. We live in a culture where we are constantly being spoon-fed spiritual crap. There's just noisy words, jumbled images, confusing messages, crowds of busy people, and it's all everywhere we turn. If we don't recognize that, in fact, all of that to which we expose ourselves is feeding our soul, then we're just going to keep eating it and we're never going to realize that we need something more healthy if we're going to survive.
Well there is a smorgasbord of good spiritual food--a well of fresh water--on reserve for us if we're only willing to partake. If we are intentional about taking the time to pray, to sit in silence, to find some solitude, to do anything that might offer us some alternative to the visual and audio noise that's constantly feeding our soul with the scraps of a glutenous culture, then I doubt we'll ever regret it. I doubt we'll ever find ourselves saying, "well that was a waste of time" after spending time in restful silence, even though it's counter intuitive. Spiritual disciplines are called that for a reason... they take some discipline... indeed, they take practice. But if we allow them to shape us, if we'll intentionally allow God to shape us, then we might find ourselves acting and hoping with the God who dreams big dreams.
In this way, Spiritual disciplines are for radicals. It's for those who are tired of being shaped by a culture which couldn't care less about them. It's for those who are tired of being squeezed for everything they've got by bankrupt society. Spiritual disciplines are a resounding "no" to the imagination and pervading values of the dominant cultural systems and they are a resounding "yes" to the God who offers his own body and blood as a family meal to the ones he loves.