The Physical Body

Q: “You seldom mention the physical body. What is its importance in spiritual work?

A: The body is a product of nature and part of the animal world. One might say it is owned by nature but rented to us provisionally. It has only a temporary existence and thus does not justify undue attention or importance. Its value is its capacity for communication, a means of conveying information and sharing awareness. If adequately tended, it is hopefully a source of pleasure and a means of accomplishing work and expressing affection. Essentially, it is a temporality, an experience of perception or position in space and time. Perception claims it as ‘me’, or at least ‘mine’. This is a major restriction and limitation of identification of the self with physicality and form. Like any other living thing in nature, the body responds to kindness, respect, and consideration. It can be cared for and loved like a cherished pet without necessarily identifying with it or becoming unduly attached to it.

One of the most difficult areas for clarification of the differentiation between self and body is the functioning of the senses. These are experienced and believed to be functions of the physical body itself. As strange as it may seem, the actual locus of sensory experience is within the invisible domain of the inner energy body that activates the physical body. The physical body in and of itself has no capacity to experience anything at all!

From The Eye of the I p. 229