We are used to thinking that we are human beings, bodies walking around doing our ‘stuff’, and so we live life in this awareness. This is fine, but we can then tend to over-identify with everything associated with the body. We think that this is ‘mine’ and that it is these ‘things’ that make me, me.
Then what can happen is that those things that define me as being me, for example my job, my husband/wife, my money, my house, my child, can change. Or, worse still, can be taken away. The result of this over-identification, with any temporary roles that I am playing or possession that I may have, is a feeling of ‘loss’. The ultimate loss of all being the loss of my own body. This is a fear of the end of ‘me’.
Well, it seems a bit pointless to me that death is the end or even, in fact, that those temporary things such as name, age, job, home or family define who I really am. This could be quite a limited point of view from which to approach life and you can see how ‘fear’ then comes into the picture. This is the fear of losing me or part of me, until finally all of me is lost.
‘Unstable’ is a word that I could use to describe that way of approaching life. ‘Body consciousness’ is the term we can use to refer to this awareness or way of living.
When we are looking at exactly who ‘I’ am, we can use the example of a living body and a corpse to understand, by means of contrast. What is the difference between the two? What is it that makes a living body able to move around and perform actions and stops a corpse from doing the same? The life force or the ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ is the only difference. One has a soul living inside it and the other does not.
So who am I? If I am the living body, then how much of that can be removed before that body is no longer me, e.g. amputated arms and legs, liver transplant, heart transplant etc. These days, with machines, a body can be kept alive for quite some time, but it is not conscious, e.g. in the case of a coma. It is the ‘consciousness’ that holds the personality, memory and awareness. In the case of coma, it is often reported that the ‘living being’ is aware of what is going on around its body in the hospital, but is unable to respond, as it seems to be trapped or separated or disconnected from its body, while somehow still remaining connected to it.
It’s like thinking that I am the bus that I drive! When really, I know that I am the driver. The bus cannot move without its driver, unless other machines are used. The driver is the one in charge of the bus and is needed to move it. In the same way, I am the driver of this body. I am not the body, but the energy or entity that is moving it. Without the driver of this body, the body is just a corpse and completely useless. In the same way, the bus is useless without its driver. They both need each other.
You could even say that the body itself is ‘non-living’ and just organic matter, without consciousness, without its driver, the soul.
This is how it feels to me, I am the spirit, or soul, and the feeling is that I am sitting within this body, looking out.” The same way that the driver looks out of the windows of his bus.
The body can be compared to the bus (which is big) and ‘I’, the tiny soul, am the one who is sitting in the driving seat, driving it.
1) The Pilot and the Aeroplane – The plane cannot fly without the pilot, in the same way that the body cannot work without the soul.
2) The Musician and the Instrument – The instrument (body) cannot produce a sound until the musician (soul) plays it.
3) The Hotel and the Guests – A hotel is empty and lifeless without any guests.
So, the feeling changes to that of being a ‘guest’ within this body and in that way I feel that I should look after this body. A guest looks after all the things that she uses, although they actually belong to someone else. She then becomes a ‘trustee’ of those possessions or that property and takes special care so as not to damage anything; otherwise she will have to pay a price in some form or other at some stage. She doesn’t own the things she is a trustee of and, if they do get broken or lost or damaged, she doesn’t feel as if she has lost anything. She can be quite detached about this, not uncaring but carefree, and find that she can look after things even better in this way. She uses everything carefully and with respect and responsibility.
The body, which is limited by time and space and is only available for a temporary period as part and only part of my overall journey, is now very valuable and precious. It becomes my friend and I start to love it, no matter what society, the media or advertisements try to tell me about the way it should look. After all, what is normal? Normal is the conditioning and expectations of society, and is often connected to consumerism and how we can best be manipulated to consume more goods that we do not really need in order for others to gain profit.