What Is the Body?

The body is not a thing. It is a process. It does not have sharp edges or a boundary – not even what we see as the skin.

Our science has not yet understood the body process enough to properly infer its sphere of influence or its capabilities. Until then, if we train our attention, we can use our consciousness to explore the body deeper.

I experience the body as an intricately woven concentration of events. Although we have invented multiple scientific fields to describe the body, the body itself is unified and coordinated – chemistry, biology, physics, and other disciplines (some yet undiscovered), are occurring simultaneously! It’s a multi-dimensional network, continuously forming and reforming….

The body is a nexus that serves as a bridge for consciousness to express itself. It is a circuit, of sorts, but incomplete. The wires are there, but many are not connected to each other or to the circuitry of the Divine (the Whole). My teacher used this analogy, and I understand it much better now…. I no longer perceive myself as arms, legs, head, and torso. Instead, I feel the interconnections of the fine pulsations that literally plug into existence.

I like to lay quietly before sleep and feel the body using my awareness. There are meditation techniques, where you “scan” the body parts to relax. I don’t do that. Instead, I bask in the wholeness of the body process and its extent. I don’t “breathe into my belly,” but know that breath is tied to awareness and can lead awareness to the body – to the belly and to everything else. I simultaneously feel the body via consciousness, and consciousness via the body. Prior, I was always a body trying to feel conscious. Now, it is possible to identify with the Whole and to also see the Whole through the body lens.

The body is tied into its surroundings, including other people – like a single bulb on a string of lights glowing in the dark. As we make more of our unconscious conscious, we broaden our connection to more of the web of life – we perceive the wiring between. Each of us is but a smaller process occurring within a larger process – an eddy in a vast stream of life. Of course, with such intricate interconnections, synchronicities make complete sense.

What New Age students call the Universe, to me, is the life process – It is “listening” to us because we are tied into It and are indistinguishable from It. We can perceive others’ feelings and even thoughts because we are interconnected. The boundaries we may sense now are temporary and fluid.

Increased awareness does not make one God – the full network of consciousness expanding and creating. But such awareness does make the Infinite have meaning via direct knowledge. And, none of what I shared explains why we are this way or the meaning of life. I know that I don’t know what It is. And yet, I feel life to be meaningful in itself – the why questions have lost their relevance somehow.

The whole thing begs another question: what is enlightenment, really? What is so interesting about having increasingly integrated awareness? Why not just live feeling as if you are the body – a purely physical and well-bounded being? No process of life negates life. Life is life, regardless of how we relate to it.

There is something interesting that happens after enlightenment – the relationship to life changes dramatically. There is greater flexibility in awareness itself, which can serve as a telephoto lens – zooming in and out to various scales. In addition, loosening attention from the strictly body-centered perspective makes the cohesion between apparent parts undeniable – and that knowing changes how much you laugh (much more) and how much you cry (rarely). The emotional and mental functioning are seen in a broader context and cease to be such strong drivers of our attention. There is more to life than what we think, feel, want, or avoid in any given moment.

I’ll conclude by adding that the perception of time also transforms from linear to something most cannot relate to at this point in our development. When you zoom in on something and look through filters, processes can look linear and sequential. Cause-effect reigns supreme. But reality turns out to be much more complex. While the idea of time is still relevant, our everyday experience of time does not scale beyond our typical range of awareness.

It has become increasingly challenging for me to function linearly and sequentially – there is too much information to think about every input, action, or decision. Fortunately, the intuition intelligence kicks in and handles information via flash insight – seeing snapshots of a greater whole all at once, and then translating it to the present moment. There is so much occurring, and one is forever changed after knowing that first-hand.

Some say that standing on top of a mountain puts everyday life into perspective and changes how one feels about existence. Similarly, enlightenment transforms not only how one perceives life – but our very wiring with life. Why? I have no idea…. I do know well that the body process is essential to enlightenment. While in this body, the opportunity exists.

15 thoughts on “What Is the Body?”

      1. “The body is not a thing. It is a process.” You said this. And these words were like a door opening in a very dark place for me. I must re-read it several times to absorb it all, but this perspective… this is huge!

        You aren’t by any chance a Capricorn, are you? Lol! Silly question, but in my meditation today I was told a capricorn would help me overcome a huge obstacle that had been holding me back, and I thought the message was oddly specific.

  1. Reblogged this on the otherhood of one and commented:
    “Ask, and you shall receive.” Or so the prophets and mystics say. Or, in my more personal terms, “Have your temper tantrum, then open your eyes and heart. The answers (or some) are out there!” I needed this perspective desperately to break through my prison trap!

    1. I love this: “Have your temper tantrum, then open your eyes and heart. The answers (or some) are out there!”

      If you have questions, I can try to write about it… these posts are in response to questions asked, directly or indirectly 😀

      1. Thank you! I no doubt will, once I find time to explore this piece in greater depth. Right now, I’m hung up on the opening lines, about the body not being a thing, but a process…

        Struggling to answer questions about the body, feeling imprisoned by it in the labyrinth of my journey, walking in circles… frustrated beyond endurance! So aware that I was missing something obvious, but unable to imagine it on my own. And then I saw your post in my email and thought, “why that is curious timing… I must read that now.”

        Those opening sentences were mind blowing! As I read them, I literally saw the walls of the labyrinth dissolve around me, and found myself surrounded by space. Everywhere I looked were neuron like structures (bright pink in my mind – lol!) connecting, and stretching, beyond…

        The implications are profound! Everything from healing to shape-shifting comes to mind. But for now, I am content to just stare at the beauty of the network itself, to note how it resembles the networking I studied with the trees last summer, and to breathe in the freedom…

  2. Hello, IE, (and Lisa too).
    I am not a mystic, just a person with a particular philosophy on life. I am not into meditation as such, but I can see both inside the body and out (although I can only “be” inside the body by a weird type of imagination). I have read your ABOUT plus this one post, and feel a particular affinity to what you are saying, though not yet to you or your spirit. I am not sure why or why not yet.
    You use the term One Life which has a very particular meaning to me, one which I just last night consciously decided not to write about anymore because I found so few people who have any concept of it. Amazingly, Lisa is one of those few. It is she who brought me here.
    My major problem, after just a little reading of your work, is the word Divine, and what that might mean to you. Divine does not fit in my cosmology–everything that is on every level of being there is, or, in two words, One Life. And that Life is Chaos-driven at this present time, in my understading. Can you relate to that?
    Till later,
    rawgod

    1. Well hello rawgod,
      Language is difficult because, over time, so much gets stuck to words… I understand your reaction to “Divine.” I sometimes use the “Infinite” instead, but even that word is overloaded. To a large degree – I find any word to describe what I feel in every moment inadequate. The One Life, as I feel It, is what lives all of us simultaneously. It inspires awe and a feeling of connection in me that transcends currently established language. Perhaps it does the same for you?
      Chaos is another such word – with many different facets and meanings attached to it. Life is not controllable to a large degree – we surf it as it moves, but we are also entwined with the very process of life. We can control how we brush our teeth and we make choices at the forks in the road, but the choices before us are served up by life and are beyond our control.
      I’ve learned that the more I’ve let go of control (to the point of not needing to control), the more of me is available to “surf.”
      Perhaps you will write about the One Life one day, and I can read it too.
      What does the “god” mean to you in “rawgod”? 🙂
      Thank you for writing…

      1. Another thought…A mystic, to me, is just a person who only expresses what he or she knows directly by living it. Our expressions will be unique, but we are feeling the “One Life” before expressing it through our unique forms….And we express in so many ways, most beyond words…

      2. Hi, AI,
        To start, the whole word rawgod had meaning, it was a feeling that though no superbeing controlling the cosmos did exist at the time, it might be possible to create one. That was many years ago. Now it just identifies me to friends all over the world, some personal, most on the internet.
        I actually wrote a few paragraphs about language and its problems in my first comment to you, then erased it all. I figured either you would alresdy know that, or we would cross that bridge when it came, if it came. Meanwhile, trying to read it as a regular person, I felt I sounded haughty, arrogant, possibly even condescending, so I got rid of it. Any public conversation we have might sound that way anyway, given the esotericness of the subject matter, but hopefully we can avoid that situation.
        Meanwhile, I have tried to write about One Life many times, including on my rawgodsspiritualatheism.wordpress.com blog but it was some months, possibly more than a year ago, and I think I have clarified some of my thinking since then, so while it might not be current, it is at the very least a photograph of where I was in my process at the time I wrote it.
        But then, that is all we can ever write. Putting something on paper, or virtual paper, can only be a photograph, though humans like to read as if everything is written in stone. Plato said these words, so that is what he believed, NOT this is what he believed at that moment in his life. For me this is a huge problem, but most readers have no such issue, lol.
        Having said that, my belief right now, and at least as long as my body is alive on this plane of existence, is that every cell of every living being’s body, is alive on its own, and the “spark of (One) Life” that is within each cell combines with the spark in each and every other cell in the body of a living being to form the group mind we recognize as the whole being, or, in other words, us. We are the totality of the life within our cells.
        Further, all the cells of every living being in the physical universe, along with all the spirits of cellular beings not presently in living bodies on any physical plane, together make One Life a complete being but with its uncountable bits spread out all over the cosmos, connected spiritually, though not necessarily physically or even mentally. In My Opinion (IMO), it is mind that connects body to spirit.
        Should I go further? At birth, I believe spirit enters body, no mind is yet present. Body grows, and brain senses the need of something greater to connect it to the reality outside of itself, creating mind. Mind starts as this bridge, but as it grows, as the body grows more cells, mind gets stronger and becomes not just a bridge between body and outside reality, but also between body, outer reality, and inner reality–also known as spirit. Mind connects all to all, interpreting life for body, driving the bus through outer reality, and conducting the orchestra that is spiritual reality. As body lives and grows, mind learns, and tries its best to lead the group-mind through all the trials and tribulations of life, while trying to learn its place not only in the universe, but also the cosmos. At death, body dies, mind survives temporarily while it delivers spirit to One Life, where all the sparks are stored until in new sequences and conglomerations they are returned to a physical plane, depending on the spiritual awareness embodied in the spirit (or howevrr this part works). The role of One Life in all this is repository of wisdom, how to live and progress from its original state of non-awareness of-being towards total awareness of being, which it has not yet achieved, but is in the process of.
        Here I must end this, as I am now moving into territory beyond my imagination to comprehend.

        How’s that for life in a capsule. It covers a perood of over 50 years of trying to understand. Almost 69 years total, this time around.

        1. Thank you for writing about this.
          “every living being in the physical universe, along with all the spirits of beings not presently in living bodies on any physical plane, together make One Life” – Yes!
          I see One Life expressing through multiple facets and scales.
          “The role of One Life in all this is repository of wisdom, how to live and progress from its original state of non-awareness of-being towards total awareness of being, which it has not yet achieved, but is in the process of.” – Yes!!
          I’ve learned that the One Life is not a set thing trying to see all its hidden corners, but is actually highly creative and creates itself and “sees” itself as it goes – it is dynamic. Maybe you see it that way, or differently?
          Great to talk about this!

          1. I cannot put it exactly like that, because I don’t know that there is anyone like One Life for it to yet help realize its own significance. This is obviously a slippery slope for me, a world balanced on the tip of a giant but finely sharpened lance. Whether it actually created the physical planes, or just found them there inside itself, whether it created life on those physical planes, or just used living material it found on the physical planes, whether it was capable of conscious action or split itself into sparks superconsciously, life consisting of body and spirit somehow came to be, or something totally unimaginable, none of this really matters. What is, is. OL might be highly creative, or OL might be an unconscious entity, but the cosmos is there, life fills the cosmos to the point of being the cosmos, and everything is truly One–Life. That is how I see and accept it.

          2. The scientist “me” would say – “do you want to test it.” We are all living instruments. Interestingly, i researcged sages across centuries and continents describe certain insights about what lives us in quite similar ways because the body (and all its layers) can directly experience that. The body-mind can be “calibrated” to know directly.

        2. “it is at the very least a photograph of where I was in my process at the time I wrote it. But then, that is all we can ever write. Putting something on paper, or virtual paper, can only be a photograph, though humans like to read as if everything is written in stone.”
          I understand this …

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