Thursday, January 15, 2009
role of body in spiritual life
This is from a Gurdjieff person about the role of the body:
"When I find myself in an emotional reaction, I may be able to see that I'm losing far more energy than I suspected. But if I can withhold my emotional manifestations, my tantrums, my whining, and my self-pity, and instead bring all of my attention to an awareness of how my body is, in the moment of the situation confronting me, the leakage of that energy may be reversed and become available for a work toward the realization of my own being. I become a grown-up person in that moment, and capable of what grown-up people can do."
The body is the transformer, that's where the spiritual side meets the physicality. The body is the conduit.
A buddhist teacher Milarepa said: "... this material body, made of flesh and blood and mental consciousness, is gathered together by the twelve chains of cause and effect - one of which is volition - originating from ignorance. This body is the blessed vessel for those fortunate beings who wish for freedom, but it also leads sinners into the lower realms. I understand that in this body lies the vital choice between enourmous profit and loss, relating to eternal happiness or misery on the border between good and evil..."
So there are no conventional notions about the "evils of the flesh", as well as modern fantasies about sacralization of sensuous indulgence. it is obvious that, as Milarepa pursues his spiritual search, some transformation is taking place in his body of a nature that is at the same miraculous and in accordance with law. Yet this material tranformation is ... result of work of meditation. ... what we are dealing here is the creation within the human organism of a spiritualized body that provides extraordinary energy and support to the basic work of meditation.
THE LINK BETWEEN THE SACRED AND PROFANE NATURES OF MAN IS ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE BODY ITSELF, which then, in a saint, becomes the stepping stone to further levels of consciousness and compassion. "
Jacob Needleman, "Lost Christianity". He also wrote "Why cant we be good"
There is a lot more about bodies. SOme teachings (like Gurdjieff) talk about creating finer more subtle bodies inside the physical body, and that can be done only via meditation and Inner Work.
Notice that mind is considered as one of the senses.
One historical way of dealing with this: all that is demanded of man is that he believe with his mind and conform his outer behavior to the rules and rituals laid down for him. He is not required to be inwardly active; he is not required to surrender his dreams more than once or twice in his life, if at all. Here it is necessary for man to be good, but it is not necessary for him to develop. (in other words, he is just physical body on the outside, inside doesn't matter). - this is the churchian way, and the way of most "christians" - I saw it with my own eyes in that man who wanted to date me - he was exactly like this.
Another way: although we are One with God, we need to internally develop, i.e. put inner effort, before such ideas can be concretely realized in an individual. Man needs to develop oneself to intermediate levels of being and consciousness that can permanently relate and harmonize all parts of the human structure. There are very specific instructions as how to go about this, e.g. meditation. ( body is a vehicle for something Higher, and there is more than we can see with physical eyes.)
from "Lost Christianity"
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