The vessel, the temple, the shell, the chassis

Do I have a body? Am I my body?

These question mow a line in the grass between dualists, monists, and non-dualists.

Body facts

  • Humans are 99% water molecules.
  • This water tends to represent ~60% of the human body's mass.
  • We experience our bodies in many phases and conditions, from youth to old age.
  • These experiences of our bodies may make sense when strung together into a narrative slideshow of memory snapshots. They may not make sense. We still try.

Reimagining the body from the non-physical perspective

The unpleasantness of any physical malady or suffering can be defeated and obviated with a fresh, new perspective: we are not our bodies. We have our bodies, or at least have residence in them, they are where we live for now. We inhabit our bodies in the same way that we inhabit our houses or that we have houses. We live in them. We each have ample conscious experiences outside of our bodies, in dreams, in memories, in daydreams of futures that could come to pass. We do not have evidence that we stop being when our bodies stop breathing, only that our awareness of inhabiting that body ceases momentarily.

The pain and suffering we experience in these are not ours, and not us. They spring from our rejection of who we are. Our intent and the attention we pay outward and inward are intricately and irretrievably interwoven with and interrelated to the bodily pleasure and pain we experience. We do not cause ourselves or others pleasure or pain or suffering, nor do we deserve it. We create the experience of pain, or the experience of pleasure as we interact with everything else, as we manifest our intent through attention and action.

We do not have direct control of our minds or our bodies. We cannot shape them to our will. We cannot stop them from falling apart. We can observe our bodies and minds in this moment, and compare these observations to ones we remember making in other moments. Often we attempt to construct a causal model of physical reality and its apparent rules that fits the assembled narrative of our observations when they are strung into a linear, past-to-future slideshow of memories.

We might tell ourselves, "If I don't lose twenty pounds before this trip to Bali, I'm not going," which may lead us to set an intention that will guide our attention and actions toward a slimming down. This could work. But if we apply further scrutiny and begin to assume that we can directly and intensively shape our body with individual momentary choices, we will fail. Rather a true intention, crafted carefully and held firmly, will guide us.

Instead we can envision ourself on a beautiful beach in Bali, slender and blissful, feeling strong and light, basking in the sunshine, dancing in the gentle waves. This vision, in lieu of calorie counting our work lunches and squeezing gym time into our schedules, can lead us to create this experience. Self-control is a futile pursuit that will only create tension. Learning to enjoy ourself and to envision ourself in bliss is the path of least resistance.


Placebo effect

The power of positive intent


Inflammation is now being recognized as a common symptom concurring withβ€”or, as the materialist medical community would have it, the root ofβ€”many physiological maladies and diseases. From irritable bowels to multiple scleroses to Alzheimers to Parkinsons to all manner of auto-immune and incurable conditions of suffering, we find inflammation in all of these poor bodies. How could this be? What is inflammation? What does an immune system do for someone who is one with existence? What might it fight within someone who has lost touch with themselves entirely?