I’ve recently read about our inner body and I would like to know your opinion. How can we connect with it? How it is related to our physical body and can it help to slow down the aging process?
I will start with a quote by Eckhart Tolle:
‘The inner body lies at the threshold between your form identity and your essence identity, your true nature. Never lose touch with it.’
Inner body is only a name we can give to the actual sensation of our body. You can really perceive it in meditation and I often do this kind of meditations, but let’s see how I can describe it here…
If I tell you to pay attention to your body, what you (and most people) will do is instead of going to the actual sensation of the body, you will go to your idea of the body, which means that you will go to your memories, believes, conditionings, past experiences (especially your bad experiences). Most people, instead of actually experiencing their bodies, will be experiencing a thought, or group of thoughts, in their mind. And what will this thought, or groups of thoughts be made of? Those thoughts will be made of what other people told them (especially when they were kids) about their bodies; it will be made of the conditionings their families and the society in general had at the time of their childhood; it will be made of the interpretations, positives or negatives, that the kid will have made about what other people were saying (which very often is completely different from what people are actually saying). An interesting thing is that for most people, if you ask them to ‘see’ their bodies, they will not actually be seeing what is there, but they will see an image in their minds, based on their past.
Now, keep this in mind for a while and let me introduce another idea. Then we will put these two ideas together.
The way we ‘see’ the world is only trough comparison. In fact, there is no tall or short, no big or small, no nice or ugly, etc. For example, if I ask you, ‘is the building across from your house tall?’ What will you say? You may say: yes, it is tall compared to the house besides it, but it is not tall at all, compared to the other building two blocks from here. So, is it tall or not? It depends. And the same will be with everything else… What is up in Europe is down in South America. In fact, there is no up or down, pretty or ugly, big or small. They do not exist! They are only mind constructions based on comparisons.
So, returning to the body, if I ask you to experience your body, what will generally happen is that an artificial construction based on past ideas and comparisons will appear in your mind, and that artificial construction is what you will call your body. For most people, that artificial construction happens to be a negative one. It can also happen that, at least for a while, a person may have a positive artificial construction, and so that person will feel connected and satisfied and content with his/her body. But in both cases, what they call their bodies is not actually their bodies, but a thought in their minds.
If this is so, then what is actually our body? Let’s make an experiment, it is the same with experiencing the sense of sight, but it is a bit more difficult. Close your eyes and feel your body without using memory or thought. Connect to it, feel it, sense it, breath into it. Thoughts and memories will want to creep in, but don’t let them. To help you in this use the understanding that those thoughts and memories will not be really of the body, but of an artificial construction based on past and comparison. Return to the sensation of your body using what can be called direct experience, or direct ‘seen’, and stay there. ‘See’ (with the eyes closed) that your body is nothing but an aliveness-vibration and let this aliveness-vibration become the experience of your body. ‘See’ that without thoughts, all you find of your body IS this aliveness-vibration.
This aliveness-vibration is the inner body.
There is no right or wrong, no good or bad, no big or small in the experience of our inner body. There is only what is. And if you can really experience what is, without letting thought or memory creep in, you will fall in love with what is.
And then, from that love, a natural taking care of your body will appear. Yes, taking care of your body – what you eat, what you wear, how much you move, etc – will be directly related to that love.
Aging is a natural, unavoidable process. It is true that by our actions we can increase or slow down its inevitable course, but I personally do not think too much about it. I only do what needs to be done in the moment and let the future take care of itself.
Or as the Buddha said: ‘If you take care of this moment, you take care of all eternity.’