…But the Flesh is Weak

Ascetic

These are just ideas and explorations, not truths.

If the tooth hurts, the whole mind seems absorbed in the agony. There is no other focus of perception in that moment if the pain is severe enough. Such experiences serve to show us how conditioned our mood and mind is by our physical state. Persistent pain can mold whole personalities, either for the worse, creating temper and bitterness, or occasionally for the better where there is some form of transcendence.

Whole personalities can be built around the mind engendered by the bodies circumstances; the choleric is cranky and bad-tempered, from too much fire in the body~ high blood-pressure, an agitated heart, heat in the belly with ulcers and so on. The bilious person is irritable too, and often congested around the liver and gall bladder. The kidneys drive the nervous person to insecurity, and thereafter a feed back loop that affects the urinary system, and so on. The minds of even great people are shaped by the smallest of enzymes and the slightest of neural kinks. Disciplines like yoga and tai chi and martial arts recognise that pain prevents absorption in peace, and so they seek to adjust the body to experience the least amount of suffering. But this is limited by circumstance. Some pain is inevitable. Hunger and thirst and sleep and desire return cyclically, regardless, and form patterns in the mind.

Waking in the morning the mind is perhaps most noticeably in the clutches of the body; it is reluctant, groggy, unstable, slow to react and sympathetic primarily to the self. The thoughts rarely soar, unless there is some specific event which causes us to forget our body, almost. This is all very natural but somehow it also keeps the soul pinned, only able to flutter on feeble wings occasionally beyond the confines of the container of clay. The force of the body is strong.

The part which seeks to fly is conditioned by the circumstances being temporarily experienced and contained in the body. It is heavier, lazy, absorbed, re-directed, obsessed, concerned, agitated, excited,  with-held. Embodiment shapes the mind.

This is not necessarily always so.

In extremis, during torture or accident or assault for example, a mind will fly and cease to experience the body. In meditation practices the mind can use intense physical pain, for example, as a focus in a manner that finds the sensation completely transformed. Or the watching of the breath may produce a hypnagogic state where the body is entirely forgotten for a while. Where the body has been rendered incapable through illness or accident, yet still a mind may find a way to wander in places of light. These few examples would serve to suggest that the mind can be disentangled from the persistent gravity of the body.

The mind/body connection is often mentioned in the sense of being able to use this connection to motivate oneself or achieve change of some sort. Positive thinking is constantly advised. And yet rarely do we succeed, truth be told, in ruthlessly changing the mind or body by simple suggestion. In some ways, this intense identification of mind with body and vice versa seems limiting. What if the connection could be dismissed, so that we go instead beyond both.

How?

By awareness, for example, of the lack of permanent substance in both the body and mind. The physical or emotional pain comes, increases, peaks and then ebbs and after some time, whether after a long time or short, it ceases. It is not a forever thing.  The pleasure arrives, swims, permeates, and then inevitably dissolves. The strength is built, maintained, conditioned and then at the least interruption in the effort it wanes. The cells divide, exist, then wither. The thought arises, crests, remains for a set time, seems substantial and yet then it too always disappears.

No single thought ever remains. Not even the most fundamental. Not even the ‘I Am’ thought remains in the end.

So, at some point, knowing this, we can choose to interrupt the normal scheduling. To see the entanglement and drop it. Both are as insubstantial as ash floating from a bonfire, ablaze for a brief moment and then flaked into nothingness. Why should we be overly troubled by either? Who is this body or mind?

E T H E R E A L

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About

Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

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''I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation. I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.''
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