November Nuggets 28

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul”

The human body is amazing, is it not ? I love to watch the body dynamics – how it changes from person to person. The flexibility, the rigidity, the injuries, the muscle strengths, the skeletal structure etc. Being a full time teacher – I see all kinds of bodies over the course of a day and it is interesting to see the commonalities as well as the differences. Every body functions as a well oiled machine. We are all walking miracles and yet how often do we appreciate this amazing creation that we call the “ human body”. There are so many issues with body image these days – yet this ‘body’ is a work of art that carries all that we call to be “me”.

Gratitude to this body – the chariot that carries my being.

Ratha Kalpana – the metaphor of the body as a chariot first shows up in The Upanishads, and then later in the Gita. Here is an excerpt from the Katha Upanishad that is not only poetic but also powerful.

“Know the Self as lord of the chariot,
The body as the chariot itself,
The discriminating intellect as charioteer,
And the mind as reins.
The senses, say the wise, are the horses;
Selfish desires are the roads they travel.
When the Self is confused with the body,
Mind, and senses, they point out, he seems
To enjoy pleasure and suffer sorrow.”

It teaches a practitioner to let go of identifications with the body and mind. It teaches one to look beyond the physical and mental layers to the inner essence of who we really are. When we finally do, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, peace becomes every step.

“Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live”


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