‘I am this body’.
It looks so true doesn’t it? It looks like the body is me and I am the body. There is no possibility otherwise.
It looks like there is an objective ‘me’ in this objective body, controlling it, that the ‘me’ is doing the reading now, that the ‘me’ is feeling the sensations, that the ‘me’ can use the body to be a better self, more loved, more respected, more successful.
It looks like the body is an objective truth. That the judgement on how it looks, feels and moves is factual and nothing to do with perception.
Which might be why this chapter might seem, at best, a bit ridiculous and, at worst, confrontational and offensive.
Because perhaps it is the hardest idea for the self to be confronted with.
Because the idea of a separate individual self arose through identification with the body.
We could consider it as beingness taking form within the body, lightly, as presence, spaciousness, awareness. But this taking of form gets mixed up in unquestioned identification with a controlling, deciding separate entity called ‘me’.
But we are going to question it now.
We are going to look at how there is no individual perceiving self looking out through the eyes.
There is no individual controlling self moving the hands.
There is no individual self having these sensations and being the thing that is referenced when the body is believed to be healthy or ill, attractive or ugly.
There is no self that anything is happening to.
There is no self doing anything.
So what is happening?
We are considering here that listening is happening. Seeing is happening. Bodily sensations are happening. Perception is happening.
There is no individual self controlling any of this.
This is so enormous.
And it might, as we said at the start sound ridiculous or offensive.
But if we think about it for a moment…
How are you making reading happen?
How is conversation happening?
How is breathing happening?
How does a thought appear? How is it converted to a written word on the screen?
The mind (or self) has no idea.
It is happening as a series of intricately learned behavioural mechanics. A learning process that began long before any idea of self was present.
In fact, the self, itself, is a learned idea.
There is an apparent realism to the body and what it does, even though how it is perceived is always a function of thought and belief. There is a substance to it.
But the self… where is it?
The self idea is nothing but a series of beliefs. There is no realism, substance or centre to it.
This changes everything… and nothing.
It shifts understanding of what we are away from an idea of self as the controlling centre of everything. An idea in which everything is personal, every label, every criticism, every look in the mirror, every word and action is saying something about ‘ME’.
We are considering now that none of it says anything about the self.
All behaviour is simply learned behaviour that will be carried out according to what makes most sense.
We are embarking on a journey which will reveal that the idea of self is composed of nothing but thought and belief.
And that what remains is simply the arising of sensations. Which can then be met with presence and realism. They are no longer met with the bewildering confusion of control, resistance and personalisation.
This is an honouring of the body as the pure intelligence of life itself. Its messages, its calibration, its alignment are met in a space that is absent of confusion. For the first time, perhaps since we were babies, the body starts to become known for what it really is.
The body and its sensations are what bring attention or focus as close as possible to reality. That is all we’ve got. What is being felt or seen right now.
And that is where intelligence is responding to intelligence. That is the place where everything is allowed and it can be met and responded to.
To try to fix or respond to or solve the flight of imagination which is anything removed from that visceral, immediate, supply of information is impossible. It cannot be met because it is not really there.
What is not really there includes all idea of what we are as an individual self. This is such an enormous, transformative shift of understanding.
Because the focus of our lives is almost entirely on the imagination, the personal, the projection, the idea of limitation. On everything believed to be real but which is really just flights of imagination.
The most real, most true information is that of the body. And that of course must be the healing space. We can’t heal insecurity. Because we are trying to heal it by securing the self and that can’t be done.
But this healing space of unconfused presence holds and honours everything that the body says. Trauma, past events that have caused real physical tension and contraction can all be held and allowed.
The more presence there is, the less confusion, the more the body reveals itself. The layers of tension and contraction are safe to give themselves up.
There is no resistance in that space. Without resistance there is just this visceral fluidity of information arising and being responded to. It is healing because it was the fixed idea of self, other, past and future that was holding in place the suffering. As the suffering of resistance dissipates, there is only reality, only the intelligence of now in full flow.
It is why this understanding of no individual controlling self is the starting point for healing. It is sane, real, immediate and intelligent. And from that space anything can happen. Conditioning can be undone. There is space for fresh new behaviours, actions, habits and practices that arise from the peace and freedom of the ‘not personal’. It is a space of infinite possibility in which anything can happen.
That is the foundation of healing.
It is intelligence meeting itself.
From there, anything…