Illusions of the Body (part 1)

I had been meditating for four days straight. No eye contact, no phone, no reading, no talking, nothing. 4/10 days, oh God...

I was stolen from deep sleep and weird vivid dreams right before 5am, dragging myself out of this stiff bed, wondering “Why am I here”? And not the existentialist question, but why did I lock myself into this peaceful prison? 

But then, you tune in. At first, not because you want to, but because you have to. 

Every hour gets easier. Every breathe gets deeper. Every minute gets you closer to you, to Him, to whatever you want to call It.

Okay, I am here. I am safe. 

All of your wild attention gets focused, not like a laser, but more so like a beam of light that sweeps your body up and down, as Vipassana teaches it. 

Your mind is put to work, a very simple and clear task: focus on every sensation in one specific part of your body, then move to the next one. Again. Faster. Up and down, until all is observed and lit up, until every cell of your body is felt and observed. 

We start with the upper lip for, four, days. I could feel every sensation, as subtle as it might be. The tingling, the warm exhale blowing on my peach fuzz, the blood flowing in and out from my heart, the musicality of the body, the aliveness that otherwise could not have never observed so acutely. 

What we hate about meditation is not meditation; what we hate is sitting in silence with the mind out of control, left like a child in a Toys’r’Us of us. It wants it all, yet nothing can fill the void, only no thing can.

Back on that meditation pillow tattooed by my butt cheeks, 3 winters ago:

My attention is sharper than ever. I ignite every part of my body, feel all of its vibrancy, an infinite tingling. I’m alive, bursting with energy, yet, I’m still. 

When I walk in the forest (the only physical activity that is allowed), I can detect all movement, and know where all animals animate the decor. 

I feel like a superhuman. I’m going beyond that 10% of the usual usage of the brain. Cerebral upgrade in progress, beep beep.

I sit. Half and hour in, things start to change. I’m deep into it. I don’t want to get out of it. Bliss. Pure presence. Observance of thoughts. Mind is controlled. I’m walking the dog, the dog is not walking me. I am here. All of me. 

Welcome home. 

And then, what happens changes my life, forever:

My physical envelope dissolves in a field of energy and reveals its illusion of solid mass, as we are, factually, mostly emptiness, or energy organized in a beautiful illusion. 

My actual sense of self, detached from the physical body, levitates four feet up in the air. I am both delighted and frightened by the sensation, by the realization that… I am not my body, it is a vessel for my soul. 

Now that I’ve been living in Los Angeles, I’ve regressed in this path towards liberation, or in this healthy disassociation from the carrier that my body is. 

Here in LA, your body defines you, it becomes a commodity, a direct measure of your value. It is extremely dangerous because not only is it untrue but the body decays, so it wrongfully makes us feel that all of us shines less by the breathe. We accept the pressure to reach unattainable ideals, and we feel shame for an inevitable failure to meet these poisonous standards. 

As long as we directly identify with the body, we can not be free. 

When the body is honored, the vessel flows to the source and it opens the door, the mind, and the light can shine through. A concrete example of that is meditation, just like what happened on that pillow.

The current cult of the body presents important challenges for our sense of connection with humankind because it is experienced as a distinctive envelope, separated from all, and is made mortal by our thoughts and lifestyle. 

If only we knew,

that our essence goes on,

that the soul is never alone,

that the body is a temple, not a prison,

that this is a spectacular illusion.