I Am Not the Body

Many nondual messengers say that you are not the body. As far as nonduality is concerned, that seems wrong as there is no division whatsoever. With other words: Being is everything that appears.

This is a quick conclusion that may satisfy the mind’s demand for logic and consistency. However, let’s look at this issue a little closer:

I repeat the statement: ‘Being is everything that appears.’ This statement is, in itself, not clear. Being is. Being is prior to the appearance of time, it does not come or go. Therefore, it is. The same can’t be said about appearances. They come and go. Due to their ephemeral nature, we can’t claim that they are. At the most, they appear to be. The appearance lends its substance from Being. Appearance has no substance of its own.

When we say ‘we are not the body’ we are referring to the fact that we are not an appearance, as appearances can’t be at all. They can only appear to be. The mistake the mind makes is to believe that it is the body, whereas in truth, neither the mind nor the body exist as such. The belief that appearances exist is responsible for their apparent reality. There is no evidence for such a belief to be true.

First of all, beliefs are based on memory. Memory is the imagination of a past event, an attempt to replicate a past event in one’s imagination. With other words, we imagine a memory to be true. It is easy to understand that an imagination is just that – a temporary flicker in the mind about a short-lived event that appeared some apparent time ago. Can we really rely on such a flicker of imagination to prove that it is real, that it is?

When we believe that we are a body-mind, we do the same to maintain such a belief: we remember events in which our body-mind was involved. This includes events that happened a second ago, such as having typed these words with fingers. I call them ‘my fingers’ if I identify with the body-mind. Interestingly, thoughts can only claim events to exist AFTER they already happened. Thoughts can never catch an event at the very instant it happens. Thoughts can only report on events that are already gone. They are no more. In truth, events never had the characteristics of ‘isness.’ They were extremely short-lived. Appearance and disappearance of any so-called ‘moment in time’ are simultaneous. A new vibration replaces the previous vibration. If the new vibrations resembles the previous vibrations, we could call this ‘patterns of vibrations,’ and the appearing phenomena seem to last for a while. Still, they don’t have any independent nature. All vibrations and the pattern themselves appear out of the only existence there is – Being.

When we see that ‘we are not the body,’ we see that all bodies only appear to exist by virtue of vibrating patterns that emerge from the depths of unfeathomable Being. Being does not identify with any seeming boundaries. However appearing mental activities can generate a belief that constantly claims that ‘I am a separate entity.’ It seems that most humans’ mental activities claim to originate from this belief which is also just a repeated mental activity.

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3 Responses

  1. While reading this, I find myself trying to visualize the ( obviously very subtle ) concept of “being.” If “being” can be visualized, rather than just thought about, can it be maintained throughout our busy day to day routines, or is it only possible during quiet moments of inactivity, when we can give it our full attention?
    If this is a skill that can be developed, does it become easier and clearer over time?

  2. Bernard, Being can’t be visualized. Being is the seeing itself. The seeing happens without any need to maintain it. All we would need to to is to realize that the seeing has wrongly identified with a fictional ‘someone’ who sees. It would be too much to try to undo that identification. It is enough to realize when the activity of identifying is happening.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Dietrich. I do enjoy these kinds of discussions …. and a lot of ideas can be crystallized and clarified in this kind of dialogue.
    My comment on your comment in this case, is to pose the question:- How is the word “realize” different to the word “visualize”. It seems to me that they are, for our purposes, identical. I also notice that you use the words: “all we would need to do” in one of your sentences. Does this contradict the idea that there is no doership?? I only pose these questions because I believe that there is something that the apparent individual can do …. and we should be able to accept that!

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