Saturday, April 30, 2011

Body is inside you!

Wise men have been telling me all along that I am not inside the body and that the body is inside me! While belief or disbelief in any such statement is nothing but an intellectual gimmick, such statements do pique ones curiosity. This immediately seems counter intuitive to commonly observed evidence. I feel conscious inside a certain body and not inside the laptop I am typing this thing out. The body I feel conscious in, is there everywhere I am. In fact, without the body I cannot get anywhere. So, this statement has always baffled me.

When analyzed without the subject, the statement by these wise men baflles logic. But, when we try to find the answer involving the subject, the individual concerned, then there is some light. We feel we are inside the body not just because we feel conscious inside it but also because we feel we can control it. We can lift the arm when we want to and move the leg when we want to and hence the thought that we control the body. In reality, there is very minimal control, if any at all. The heart functions by itself, breathing happens by itself. They do not ask for our permission. One day they will stop. Even then, they will not ask for permission. But, we still we feel we control the body. May be, but very little, if at all. We feel pain when this body is hurt. We also suffer when this body is heart (Oh my god, why did this happen to me!). When viewed from this angle of controlling, things start to take a different perspective.

So, in essence, we are saying we are that which control. We feel we control our minds and hence we believe we are our mind. But, most often than not, thoughts happen and really does not have any control. Try sitting silently without thinking of anything. Within few moments, you will find yourself thinking of something even without being aware of slipping into the thinking mode. This is akin to going for a bath midway while eating, after totally forgetting that one was eating! But still, we can exert some amount of influence on our minds and hence we believe we are our minds. Extending the argument further, we control the bodies and minds of our spouse, kids, parents, friends etc to some extent. So, we are concerned very much if any of that is hurt even minimally. But, we are not so concerned when a neighbour with whom we have a house boundary issue is hurt. When viewed from the perspective of control, it is clear that the sense of me is not there as control there is minimal or non-existent. When someone in a far away continent is hurt, there is little or no feeling (besides the cursory, 'how sad!').

This is were great souls, masters, mahatmas and yogis can help. They do not live as that which they control. They live as that which they love. Like how a totally unfit, obese young lad sees the ugliness of his body when he sees a totally fit guy, we can see the ugliness of our fundamental outlook to our life in the way they live. Of course, one must be willing to see the mirror that their lives hold out to us. When we notice that, then we can commit to ourselves to tranform our lives. The control outlook to life is ugly for it divides creation into that which I control and that which I do not control. It gives preferential treatment to that which it controls and thereby sowing the seeds of violence. This verily is at the root of the crisis facing the planet in all dimensions.

Living as that which we love provides the key test of sincerity. To begin with, we love everything we control. Only when there is a sincere attempt to live as that which we love, can the individual notice this. The most healthy of all foods, the breast milk of a nursing mom, when mixed with a drop of poison, becomes poison. It is no more poison mixed milk as one would never feed it to ones kid. Similarly, loving what we control is no love at all. It is simply control. Sincere exploration of ones heart will reveal the same to one. Then suddenly, one sees why love for all of creation is natural and at that very moment the transformation into an all loving being happens. Though this transformation may happen, being established there forever may need life long practice for the bad habits of the mind / body may be strong and continuous effort may be needed to keep all that at bay (even the great warrior Arjuna fell at the very moment when all his skill was needed to be in full flow). This verily is sannyasa. Not the abandonment of family / so called wordly way of life. It is loving all of creation equally like we love our family and not pushing ones family also out of the circle of ones love.


One is reminded of the story in the times of Ramanuja. A wannabe yogi had deserted his/her family and had practiced severe austerities after cutting of all contact with humanity. After many years, he was disturbed as he never felt the peace that the upanishads talk about. He went to Ramanuja and asked him to shown him the route to that peace that transcends all understanding. Ramanuja told him to go and get married, for which the wannabe yogi was aghast. Ramanuja replied saying that love for humanity is the seed which when grows to its fullest extent becomes love for all of creation leading to that state of deep peace. So, its best to drop living as that which we control and instead live as that which we love. This includes people who have hurt us (physically / mentally / financially / etc..), people whom we think are responsbile for wrong doings and every other sort of person (note: loving does not mean goody goody condoning). This then gives us the chance to grow and suddenly in one fell scoop, we will recognize we love all of creation. When we live as love for all of creation, since the body is part of creation, the body then is inside us. Not the other way around.

There is no point in either believing or not believing this. Neither is there any point in being overawed by this or being irritated by such 'irrational' statements. Only when we gather the courage to explore whom we really are and have the sincerity to transform ones life from living as that which we control to that which we love, does any of this have any significance whatsoever.

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