By RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR
Most of us regard the self, our deepest hub, as subtle. Just think of this. Without your body, tongue, or ear, you would not have spoken, or heard another’s voice. You’d also not have verbalised anything, reflected, or sensed them — because, there would be no contact, or “bumping into” acquaintances — thanks to a woeful lack of sensory experience. Put simply, you and I would have felt there’s nothing to know, or question, too.
To contemplate such a state would be extremely terrifying — because, we are so used to talking, listening and mulling over the most trivial of happenings.
The living body is the foundation of contact — not just with others, your loved ones, friends, “idols,” business associates etc., but also with oneself. It’s this attribute that gives us the platform for reflection, thought, understanding things, and also knowledge. When you recognise, at your core, the most apparent, or even the most abstract of thoughts, you tap into the heart of your conscious and sensuous life – your body and also your mind. Not otherwise.
Most of us take the body we see, feel and touch, for granted — our body envelops the balanced and breathing power that resides within us and initiates all our observations, feelings, dreams, and passions. It is your living body that lifts the easel and paints a beautiful canvas. It is your body that holds the cricket bat and sculpts a work of art – the pleasing drive, square-cut, and glance. It’s your body that plays the violin, or twirls the surgeon’s scalpel with refined dexterity. This isn’t all — your body has the ability to laugh, cry, squirm and scream too.
Our body is not just a body — it’s something you and I experience as we live within its clothing. It is creative; it changes shape and size, no less. Our body is not what it was when we were kids; it is not what it was in our youth when we grow old. Even though our body is finite, it is, in plain terms, the “medium” that connects us to life and builds relationships. Your body celebrates your existence, your being.
It is also our body that sets us apart from all other forms of life. The philosopher Aristotle explained that plants are endowed with a “vegetal soul” that provides nourishment, growth, and reproduction. Likewise, animals possess both “vegetal soul” and “animal soul” for sensation and movement. Human beings possess the two, along with a “rational soul,” or intellect. It is this element that provides us the affinity for the divine.