Tooth wisdom

by Joseph Barker, Web designer, writer and doodler, Melbourne, Australia

As I lay back in the seat, a nurse placed a cover over me. I took one last look at the picturesque scene of the sun setting out the window before a great big screen was moved in front of my face. “I don’t want to disturb you, but what you see next may make you upset” said Doctor Max. Then he switched on the screen to display the full uncensored, gruesome scene. What was in front of me was a close up of my teeth. Bacteria and build up was everywhere, all over the inside of my mouth, in between the gums bubbling away like some Icelandic water spa.

This made me sit up a little stiff in my seat. How had this happened? After all they looked good to me, and hey, don’t you know, I don’t even eat sweets! But as Doctor Max asked me a few further questions, it became clear my teeth regime was not quite as squeaky clean as it seemed. “Do you brush inside and out every tooth?” “Do you methodically floss in between?” “Do you spend an equal time in every spot?” “Do you you always brush with care?” Well…no. I had to admit, that I did not, more often settling for a quick scrub around whilst thinking of something that happened to me that day.

Isn’t it odd that we can be consistently told the best thing to take care of our body, but then go right out and do the opposite thing? How many times have you been to the Dentist and been guided how to take care of your teeth, only to forget these words as soon as you walk out? And let’s be honest, do you actually bring your whole attention to this task every night? When you stand in front of the mirror, do you stay aware and enjoy being there with you? Do you feel each brush, each move? It’s such a simple task to do, for a species as intelligent as us shouldn’t it be easy?

Yet, in my experience it is not. When I start to brush, a few seconds later I often find my mind elsewhere. Perhaps it’s a thought about what happened at dinner, what is scheduled tomorrow at work, or even a ‘good deed’ that has occurred to me. Ultimately the effect is the same – I am off in a day-dream. In recent times I have attended presentations by philosopher Serge Benhayon. Here what he offers is the simple fact that we are naturally designed to be present in everything we do, and that living ‘absent mindedly’ is a large part of what is causing us to be so unwell. This made immediate sense to me. You don’t see a dog considering what happened last week and what it fancies for tea tonight – it is right there with you, completely in the moment. So why is it we behave in different way?

Inspired by Serge’s words and Doctor Max’s TV show, I turned over a new leaf with brushing my teeth. I chose to stay present and to keep coming back to my body when I brushed. This needed to happen a lot! Like a wayward dog on a leash I found I often needed to call my mind back. But over time I have developed a rhythm where it stands out if I’m not there doing the action with all of me. Recently I have started to ensure I spend a lot longer on each section,  consistently brushing with a quality of care for me. Also I’ve begun brushing after lunch as well as breakfast and dinner.

Recently I went back to see Doctor Max, and we were both blown away by the changes in my toothy hygiene. And thanks to his impressive big screen, we could compare before and after. To his amazement and to mine, he could tell me that not only had the excess bacteria disappeared but the gums which were receding before had begun to regrow. If he had gold stars I think Doctor Max would have given one to me. And of course, I felt pretty pleased too.

This experience got me to thinking that if being present and aware with my tooth brushing was this powerful, how could this apply to the rest of life? After all, if I find that I escape into mental thoughts so often when brushing my teeth, is it only happening here? Or is it happening all of the time? When I walk along thinking of that email, when I listen to others while thinking of the argument I had earlier on, or even conjuring up something smart to say? Wow what if the reality is that I am not truly present in much of the day?

If you consider the beautiful quality you can feel when you move in harmony and in tune with you, where you feel every cell and every molecule as you move, with your mind marveling at it all, it starts to make incredible sense that we ache and experience pain when we ‘do life’ distracted, half-hearted and on auto pilot.

And consider for a moment the yucky bacteria I saw on the big screen – the ‘hidden consequence’ to my absent mindedness forming there behind my smile. Well what if there are similar unpleasant and unhealthy consequences happening everywhere in our lives? What if they are all there but we are just choosing to be unaware? In my experience, whilst we may settle for looking at the surface, in the end life has a way of showing us always the truth underneath.

After attending another workshop by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine the other day, a friend shared something with me that stopped me in my tracks. She mentioned how Serge had described how his daughter Natalie brushed her teeth ‘for humanity’. At first this conjured up pictures for me of a superhero with a cape and an unlimited supply of floss and dental tape, whose superpower was brushing her teeth. But as I considered it, the more I could see that this was not just a funny throw-away phrase. For if you understand that everything we do has consequences that either harm or support ourselves, and if we are all connected to everyone else, then surely what we choose affects everyone and will help them to support themselves too?

If you stop for a minute and start to consider the actual effect we all have in this world – wow – it is so powerful. The quality we act in is directly and absolutely linked to the life we get to live. This way of seeing us all as deeply interlinked gives a wider much greater understanding of our true effects, and to subjects like global warming. For after all how can our effect in this world be only limited to climate? What about our own internal eco-system for a start?

So what would our day be like if we brought awareness of our super power ‘presence’ to each and every act? It may sound crazy but what if we wash our hands, sit down in our seat, drive our car and have something to eat, all understanding that our every choice is transforming the world?

So many of us will walk the streets with placards, sign petitions and donate. But what would life be like if we simply dedicated ourselves to being present during the day?

And if we find this is hard, isn’t that interesting and something to investigate?

For what if the beauty, the jewels, the joy, the gold, lives not over any steep incline or hill but right here, right now in the richness of our presence?

And so as I type these words, I do it with all of me, to my bones. And can feel this is the love we all deserve. That the key to life lives in every small thing. For me this started off with a simple tale of a tooth. But my question to you is: Just how much wisdom does every part of us have to bring if we but choose to be present and appreciate our power?

With appreciation for the dedication, care and quality Serge Benhayon, Natalie Benhayon and all Esoteric Practitioners bring.

Read more:

  1. My teeth and what they have taught me
  2. Responsibility and dental health 

738 thoughts on “Tooth wisdom

  1. I have a checkup booked in with my dentist this afternoon so it was very apt coming across your blog on tooth wisdom Joseph. I appreciate the deeper quality of care I now have in looking after my teeth too, no longer halfheartedly rushing through brushing and flossing and I use a sensitive brush head on an electric toothbrush which feels very supportive. The little things that we do as part of caring for the whole of our being makes a huge difference and I can feel my body responding to the deeper level of care I now accept for myself.

    1. Eventually self-care will turn to self-honouring for us all and it is at this point that we will all get to feel that what we are in fact honouring is God. We will all come to remember that there is no such thing as Him and us as we are Him and He is us. Same, same and no difference.

  2. We are exposed in every aspect of life in terms of our level of self-care and conscious presence even when we get feedback from the dentist.

  3. “Just how much wisdom does every part of us have to bring if we but choose to be present and appreciate our power?” Yes we can already do a lot but imagine if we all chose to be present with our bodies and what that would feel like in the world. There would be no disregard as you can’t so easily ‘trash’ your body when you are present with it and there would be this contentment as being connected with yourself is the most beautiful thing we all long for.

  4. I love coming back to this blog Joseph; it is such a beautiful reminder to bring love, presence and tenderness in every thing we do. You are such an inspiration, thank you.

  5. Joseph this blog moved me so deeply to feel and know that we are designed to be present and all of the discomfort is when we are not so – and to take that to the next level if we did live with presence how would we be? How would the world be? And as you say ‘For what if the beauty, the jewels, the joy, the gold, lives not over any steep incline or hill but right here, right now in the richness of our presence?’ it really brings us back to the treasure we all have always and a treasure we deserve to live and embrace in every moment.

  6. It is crazy to most that every choice we make has the potential to transform the world yet it is true but even though I know it is true and the power that comes with every choice, I can find myself wondering off into my head. It is an unfolding and when I clock the wondering I immediately bring myself back to my body, but what I am really pondering on and need to address is why do I choose to go into my head in the first place? What am I avoiding?

  7. Knowing we can bring purpose to everything we do transforms even the simple activity of brushing our teeth.

  8. Joseph you are an amusing writer (I could see the dog thinking what it might have for dinner) and at the same time a man of great wisdom. A very readable and informative blog that has changed my way of looking at the world through cleaning my teeth!

  9. It makes sense to me that quality of our thoughts, the way we move and behave ourselves does have an effect, not only to our own life but also to the family and society we live in, and even beyond. In realising this I can feel the enormous power we can bring to life if we choose to live more aware and present with our bodies and all of life, and on top of that it makes me also feel that I have a responsibility in this, as me having not being that present has contributed to the waywardness not only my life was in, but also that of my family and the society I am part of.

  10. Love this part of your sentence: ‘the key to life lives in every small thing’ it is so absolutely true. Life is an interconnected feature of our divine nature, the physical manifestation of our choice of creation but on the other hand a beautiful way to return to our true essence, giving every moment the presence it deserves is creating wonders and is indeed for all of humanity.

  11. It makes such a difference when you stay present with yourself as you brush your teeth, and it is important as it is a part of the everything we do and deserves equal focus and love.

  12. “we are naturally designed to be present in everything we do, and that living ‘absent mindedly’ is a large part of what is causing us to be so unwell. ” This is so true, I have come to find things will happen when my mind wanders off whilst doing something to bring me back to my body, it may be a cut finger, nipping my skin in the hoover, or seeing an animal when out walking, or even a car driving slower in front of me.

  13. I read your blog a while ago Joseph and was very inspired to brush my teeth with more care and awareness. I realise at first I was paying more attention to how I brush my teeth and if I am being present with my body or not, but after a while I seem to very easily slip back into my old habit of multitasking and wondering thoughts. I am going to keep reminding myself to pay attention to what I am doing, to do it with care and conscious presence.

  14. Thank you Joseph. My relationship with time gets in the way when I brush my teeth in the morning. It is the last thing I do before I leave for work and as I always like to arrive early at work I realise now from reading your blog that I get a bit racy at this point and rush to get the job done even though I do have time. The lovely sense of space in the morning gets sabotaged and my teeth suffer!! Brilliant to feel this and to now change.

  15. The microcosm and macrocosm – the state of the bacteria in the mouth are a reflection of the state of one’s life and also of the whole world. Giving the same attention to cleaning one’s teeth to everything one does changes one’s whole experience of life. It is so true when you write, Joseph, “Just how much wisdom does every part of us have to bring if we but choose to be present and appreciate our power?”

  16. It feels such a simple thing to do – to stay present with ourselves – but it is interesting how many thoughts enter our heads and create so much distraction. The effort to staying present is well worth it as your teeth have shown Joseph.

    1. Sure Susan, and not only our teeth will be thankful for staying present with ourselves and with all of life, also all people we are with and the societies we live in will benefit as everything is interconnected and part of that greater whole we can sense we are part of when we build presence in our lives.

  17. I find the things that I do leading towards the moment I clean my teeth, are also check-in/awareness moments. It’s a practice that, despite my initial reluctance towards it, brings a fullness to the most ordinary parts of the day – like cleaning my teeth.

  18. When I read the part about the dog always being in the moment, it dawned on me what a great reflection for being present they are, and that we could learn a thing or two from them. Especially when there is food around and their attention is fixed only on that food, and they may look around but only for a split second – in that moment nothing else exists.

  19. It is not what we do, but the ‘quality’ that we “do” life in that supports us like the roots of a tree. All those tasks we think are good or needed, brushing teeth, walking, exercise etc, if they are undertaken in a rush, a push or with disregard, do not truth offer us the support they could. Brush your teeth with care and and you will feel the difference. Observing ourselves and how we treat ourselves is insightful, it gives a clear a marker of how we are also willing to treat another.

  20. Being able to bring our awareness to what we are doing and feel the importance of every move and how this can either support us or not is a massive leap in the way we as a society have been living. I know when I started to do this from being inspired by Serge Benhayon in what he presents but mostly from watching how he is in the way he goes about life, that it is such a powerful choice to be making. Being present and aware of the quality of energy you are choosing and moving in is life changing.

  21. I find what I eat is reflected in the quality of cleanliness of my teeth – before I brush that is. I’ve noticed if what I’ve eaten is spot on for me, my teeth will feel fur-less and smooth and actually require less cleaning and flossing. When I’ve eaten in a less than helpful way, they’ll be feeling as if I’ve eaten sweets and require extra maintenance. The body knows.

    1. This is interesting Victoria, I have not noticed this but will be paying more attention to what you’ve shared and see if this is what I experience too. It makes so much sense because I agree ‘The body knows’.

  22. It’s a great question about why a dog has a consistent quality of presence whilst we don’t, and if it’s difficult for us to be present then why? It’s seems that it’s a natural way to be present with ourselves, yet we have become masters of living what is decidedly unnatural, and when that becomes a majority it is endorsed as “normal”. Our bodies really reflect though that lack of being present in the stress, anxiety and unhealthy choices. Your blog was a great snapshot of how presence impacts life.

  23. ‘You don’t see a dog considering what happened last week and what it fancies for tea tonight – it is right there with you, completely in the moment. So why is it we behave in different way?’ Great analogy Joseph and it is very clear to me that when we choose to be present we will change the world, there is such a joy in being ourselves and an enormous power to live this in each moment and with each movement. Let alone greeting each other like a dog does!

  24. I have found that cleaning my teeth in my full presence has been an interesting experience, in the evening if I find myself wandering off with thoughts during my cleaning routine it is a great reflection that I have not moved or lived in full presence during the day, not to give myself a hard time over it, but to bring a deeper understanding to the importance of my own awareness.

  25. Gorgeous blog Joseph, taking us from the individual to the universal in such a simple flow all making perfect sense. We are all so embedded in the illusion that we are separate and that what we do only affects ourselves, even though this clearly isn’t the case, but we can easily convince ourselves of it because we cannot see the energy between us that makes everything happen. So do I clean my teeth for me or for humanity? That is the choice.

  26. I love this blog Joseph. Just when I feel you’ve taken it big you take it bigger! Presence brings joy to life and yet this joy is not just for us – in fact we have a responsibility to live with it. How ironic it is that I have spent most of my life seeking joy through ‘checking out’

  27. ‘If you consider the beautiful quality you can feel when you move in harmony and in tune with you, where you feel every cell and every molecule as you move, with your mind marveling at it all, it starts to make incredible sense that we ache and experience pain when we ‘do life’ distracted, half-hearted and on auto pilot.’ Vey inspirational and beautifully said Joseph, the livingness in your words is felt.

  28. This sums it up beautifully Joseph . . .We ache and experience pain when we ‘do life’ distracted, half-hearted and on auto pilot.

  29. Thank you Joseph, for shining a light on how we can be present in all we do, even those regular habitual things and how it changes everything when we are. We are so much more powerful than we often allow and presence is one of the keys to bringing our true love and power to the world.

  30. Looking back to how I used to push my body it is not surprising that everything I did came with a hardness and raciness and this also applied to my dental care and teeth brushing. I was often exhausted at the end of the day that I did not feel like giving myself the space to brush my teeth gently and thoroughly and rushed through it all the time thinking how much I wanted to get to bed as quickly as possible. I now give myself the space to nurture and care for myself which is helping to build a steadiness in my body that supports me so I don’t feel exhausted or drained at the end of the day.

  31. I love this blog as it really does call us to consider those areas in our lives that we so often ‘hurry through’ in order to get the next thing done. But what quality will the ‘next thing’ be done in if we are rushing to do it? Will that not be rushed too so we can do the next thing after that etc etc? And will this not then build a momentum of tension and anxiety in our bodies as we continually rush to get anything done? It becomes very clear that by bringing our full attention, focus and presence to the small details in our lives, like brushing our teeth, that it is possible to change this momentum and bring a beautiful quality to everything we do, which in turn others get to feel and be inspired by.

  32. ‘The quality we act in is directly and absolutely linked to the life we get to live.’ How amazing to feel that every moment matters and the quality we choose impacts on everything. Beautiful to feel we can make a difference through even the smallest choices.

  33. “The quality we act in is directly and absolutely linked to the life we get to live.” I love this and had a direct example that when I got up the other morning I made a real conscious focus on the quality I moved in, I stopped and had a kidney massage by my partner and re-adjusted the way I started the day. As a result everything flowed, its quite amazing when I don’t push through or move to a picture but listen to what my body is calling for..

  34. I know what you mean Sandra, I called a colleague a while back and they said
    “Hang on I’m just having a pee! ” and they meant for me to wait!
    What!
    What is it about our phones and our attachment to them we take them to the loo with us? It makes no sense to me.

    1. Yes I agree Mary it seems there is no end to the absurd situations we will put ourselves in – all with the underlying point of blocking and fighting our own wisdom. It doesn’t get much crazier than this – thank you for the reminder.

  35. And to broaden this topic, what if we went to the toilet for humanity? Seriously. I’m observing women talking on their phones while they are in the toilet cubicle or rushing in and out so quickly. Going to the toilet is an opportunity to stop and just be with ourselves for a few moments…just us, no phones, no agenda.

    1. Yes Sandra – absolutely what a serious and unpleasant waste this is. We make a fuss about the loo but it feels to me that’s because we have to stop and face a very physical record of how it is we have lived. Really this moment to check back in applies to everything.

  36. “That the key to life lives in every small thing.” From teeth cleaning to washing our hands, how we open a door, or even how we get into bed and place our bedclothes over ourselves. How present are we with these activities and with ourselves in the process, is there life and love in each and every movement and moment?

  37. That certainly stopped me in my tracks. Brushing our teeth for humanity reveals the responsibility we all share for each other in every moment and in every movement.

  38. The simple dedication to presence in our lives is amazing and its effects is transformational to ourselves and humanity. I love the wisdom and sharing from your teeth care and all it offers us to see for everything. Beautiful and very empowering.

  39. If someone had suggested to me that I “brush my teeth for humanity” a few years back I would have considered them rather strange, but today I totally understand what they are saying. I have come to understand the power of every single movement we make in this world, that because everything is energy every movement I make affects not just me, but everyone else; therefore the consequence of every move I make, even brushing my teeth, is my responsibility.

  40. Simply staying present when we are doing things hugely supports the body. This is such a simple thing to do but it does require that we deal with the hurts that make us not want to be present in our bodies in the first place.

  41. When I stay present when brushing my teeth I am am amazed at what I can feel, or to put it differently I totally enjoy all that I can feel – from the texture of the tooth paste, the touch and changing pressure of the bristles, the differing perception from each part of the mouth, the vibration felt by the lips – it’s not just a teeth and gum experience, as it’s felt it in my cheeks and face too… writing this I can really appreciated how cleaning our teeth is an opportunity for intimacy!

    1. Gorgeous rosannabianchini. You remind me that presence enables me to enjoy everyday activities that I would have previously seen as being mundane. This brings a true joy to life.

  42. Fantastic article Joseph highlighting what bringing presence to our movement makes. I know I can many moves a day checked out thinking about the past and the present as opposed to when I am fully with myself and life flows and I can appreciate myself and what is around me. Being present is the way to be if we truly want to be physically and mentally healthy.

  43. When we live our lives on auto-pilot, checked out in our minds and constantly thinking of things that happened or are going to happen, instead of being in and with that present moment, we’re draining ourselves. I love the way you describe the key to life being in the detail – not in an obsessive way where we get lost in the detail to the detriment of the bigger picture, but where we bring all of our focus and our presence to each and every moment, with no ‘off’ switch in between tasks or moments – and how that then contributes to everything else.

  44. I really connect to the logic in this blog, it makes sense to bring full attention to each task we do, and the part about how we behave ourselves really resonated. As you state Joseph so many people protest, get behind a cause etc, but maybe what is actually more important is how we interact with others, the care we take to simply walk down a street, all the simple things done with care and consideration, what if this is what actually changes the world?

  45. This sounds familiar gillrandall. The task of brushing our teeth is often in transit with a hundred and one others ideas running through your head or chores to be done in the morning or before we go to bed. I often wonder how the teeth must feel when we don’t take the time to be gentle and respectful with each brush stroke.

  46. When we brush our teeth, it is a great reminder to come back to ourselves. I used to brush my teeth and plan my work or what I was doing in the day, and not be thinking about brushing my teeth at all. It was one of those routine jobs, so regular I didn’t think I needed to think about it, I just did it. But sometimes I noticed that they didn’t feel so good, and realised how much I switched off with that action, and also how I switched off with other regular things I did every day. Now I have changed that pattern, and when I do regular activities throughout the day (like going to the loo or washing my hands) I view it as an opportunity to check in and reconnect back to myself, rather than checking out. It is an interesting process Joseph.

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