When we identify with our body, we are identifying with our body as being the only source of happiness or the only thing that matters.
Take the prevalence of dating apps. If you go onto one, the entire premise is based upon looks. If you like the looks of someone or are physically attracted to them, you will swipe right on them, sealing your stamp of approval of them. In contrast, when you don’t find yourself attracted physically to them, you will swipe left, taking them out of the running as a potential match to date..
The more we dwell upon the physical appearance and age of others, the more we are conscious of our own appearance and age.
The mystics tell us we should be less concerned about these details of packaging and more concerned about its contents.
The body is only the house in which your spirit dwells. Unless we rise above the physical level of consciousness, we can never access the spiritual dimension of our being.
Body consciousness is the obstacle to our divine awareness and every day we need to ask ourselves what is likely to decrease our identification with our body. Whatever increases physical consciousness cannot be an aid to spiritual life. Under-eating, overeating or drinking too much actually intensifies body consciousness. Other ways for us to lessen our physical consciousness are giving up harmful habits such as smoking, drinking, the use of drugs, or the overindulgence of any kind.
This is not suggested for puritanical reasons but instead to assist you in rising above physical consciousness.
The body is not me, it is only the jacket I wear.
The same holds true when we identify with the material “stuff” of life. When we associate our happiness with what we own, with who we are on the outside and with our intellect, we will miss the opportunity to open the window into our consciousness to a deeper state of consciousness. It’s then impossible to be moved by even the most eloquent presentation of spiritual life.
Somewhere in our consciousness there must be a suspicion that the passing toys of the world will never satisfy us.
It is in meditation where we can still the mind and move into a higher state of consciousness that takes us beyond not only our physical bodies but also our physical environment where we are able to bump into our own soul. It is the gap between our thoughts which is where our spirit truly resides. In fact, in Sanskrit, the term they use for this space in between our thoughts is atman darshan, or “glimpsing the soul.”
When you are able to go deep into meditation and rise above physical consciousness, it will seem as though you can just take off the body as you might take off a jacket and leave it on a hanger until you are finished meditating. (Not to worry, you will be able to find it on the coat rack and put it back on; you will be able to pick up all of your worries and desires and go about your day once again!)
But even if we meditate regularly and we do not take care to pull out the weeds on a regular basis that are rampant in the garden of our minds, the spiritual seeds we are attempting to plant won’t likely thrive.
And it is paramount that we remember that the practice of meditation is not going to benefit us alone. We might not be able to reach thousands, but each of us, as our spiritual awareness deepens, can help a few members of our family and friends find their own center of gravity within.
It is impossible for those around us not to be impacted by our meditation practice. There are many whose family or friends recognize a shift in us after our practice deepens long before we notice it. Even if you do not notice it yourself, rest assured that your practice affects all of those you come into contact with. This is one way in which you are able to make a profound difference in the lives of those around you on a regular basis.