What is the Body?
Our special theme says, “The body is a dream. Like other dreams it sometimes seems to picture happiness, but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born.”
Two days ago we looked at the duality of the body itself. For example, it can be healthy or sick.
Yesterday we looked at how the body acts out the fearful thoughts that we believe. For example, it can become angry, deceitful or violent.
Today, let’s look at the dream of the body as me.
When we believe the body is me, we are affected by the duality that the senses perceive. We appear to experience the world directly. It seems to have a direct effect on us.
Is that true? Do we experience the world directly?
Let’s investigate and see what we discover.
I am going to lead you in an inquiry exercise. Some of you have experienced an exercise similar to this with me before. Read through all of the instructions, and then practice the inquiry on your own.
- Find a sensitive spot on your finger and pinch it. Feel the pain. Notice that it appears you are directly experiencing the pain.
- You can stop pinching your finger.
- Close your eyes. Get in touch with awareness, that which observes, looks or sees.
- Once you are in touch with awareness, pinch your finger again, but this time look at the pain from the position of awareness.
- What is your experience when you look at the pain from awareness? Do you directly experience the pain or do you see the body experiencing pain?
Many of you will be able to see that you do not directly experience the pain. As awareness, you do not feel pain, but you can see that the body does feel the pain. It is as if you are one step away from the pain. The pain is an indirect experience for you.
(Note: This is the way I typically feel pain now, which is why pain is not as bothersome to me as it is to some people. I am certainly aware of the pain that the body feels, but I relate to pain from one step away. I see the pain. It isn’t a direct experience.)
When we identify with the body as me, we project attention into the body. With attention projected into the body, we appear to directly experience what the body experiences. We feel pain; we feel emotions; etcetera.
However, when we identify with awareness, attention is naturally with awareness. From the position of awareness, we witness the body and its experiences. As the witness, we are aware of the body’s experiences, but we are one step away from those experiences. We don’t have the sense of experiencing them directly.
That means that our experience of life will be more fearful if we identify with the body, because the experience will seem more direct. It will seem as if we are at the mercy of duality.
However, if we identify with the witness, we do not feel affected by duality. The experience is one of equanimity. Our happiness or contentment is untouched by the body’s experience of duality.
My holy Self abides in you, God’s Son.
The unaffected awareness that witnesses the world’s duality but does not experience it directly is the same unaffected awareness for everyone. Although the body’s “fence” creates the experience of “my awareness” and “your awareness,” it is the same awareness.
One way to see this is to listen to another person describe awareness. His/her experience is the same as your experience. The experiences are not different, because you are both looking at and describing the same awareness.
Today, we contemplate ourselves as awareness. As often as you remember, take a few moments to notice yourself as the witnessing presence. If needed, pinch your finger and look at the pain. Notice over and over throughout the day that you see the pain, but you do not experience it directly.
Each time that you notice yourself as awareness, remember that everyone is that same awareness. It is one light, shining through many minds and bodies. Today we focus on the one light, not the many forms.
If you have 30 minutes for meditation, I recommend this meditation: