Whatever kind of body we have, it is our vehicle for realizing inner light. Our bodies are the matter in which the light of our soul temporarily resides. It is common to imagine that the soul resides somewhere deep within this mass of matter, and will be liberated when our bodies die. Yet our bodies are vehicles for not only growth and development, but also the realization and expression of ourselves as soul.
The workings of our bodies reflect the qualities of soul - fluidity, light, and interconnectedness. We can see this even on the cellular level. Each of us is composed of 75 trillion cells. Each cell is filled with fluid and surrounded by a permeable, pulsating membrane that intelligently decides what can enter the cell and what will be kept out. Each cell is also surrounded by fluid, with which it is constantly communicating. The cell breathes through electrochemical transfers, taking in nutrients and sending away by-products.
The light of our souls is very much like the light of our cells. Our inner light resides in our hearts, protected by the permeable membrane of our bodies. We constantly decide what we will allow into our hearts and what we will keep out. We are surrounded by a fluid field of light in which we can communicate and exchange with others.
It is common among us to ignore our bodies' inborn intelligence and usefulness. We might even see our bodies as dirty or gross, alien to the development of our souls. We might tacitly regard our bodies as an extension of our heads. We might regard them as a machine that will inevitably break down. Yet appreciating our bodies -- living in them fully and listening to their messages -- is our greatest opportunity for realizing the light within.
Appreciating the Body
What is your attitude toward your body? Can you accept the way it looks at this very moment? Think about the messages your body gives you. How do you respond to them? When your body tells you it is hungry, do you take time to feed it properly, or do you simply toss fast food down? When your body tells you it is tired, what is your response? Do you take the time to rest, or do you drink coffee to temporarily erase the message?
When you feel pain, how do you respond? Are you curious about the pain? Do you explore it? Or do you try to avoid it by numbing it as soon as possible?
Do you regard your body as a machine? Or can you see it as a world of its own, a wealth of sensual experience there for you to explore? What parts of your body are you particularly proud of? What parts are you ashamed of? What bodily experiences do you want to share with others? Which ones embarrass you? Why?
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Being willing to accept and listen to our bodies with all their sensations, impulses, and mysteries requires abandoning the materialistic and mechanistic approach. When we are fully present in our bodies, we become aware that our emotions, opinions, and experience take place in our whole being -- not just in our heads. We see that mind and body are intricately connected, and we may also begin to see the connection between the depth of bodily experience and our inner light.
Following is an exercise to do as you begin cultivating awareness and appreciation of your body. As you become aware of your body and begin to appreciate it, you may find yourself spending more and more time genuinely participating in what your body does. Genuinely participating in your bodily experience is a universally available way to dwell in the present moment, any time we like. And the present moment is where inner light is available.
Choose a part of your body to focus on. How does it feel? How does it look? What is your attitude toward it? Do you regard it as part of you, or do you feel some distance from it? Do you feel that you are an observer, looking at an object from a distance?
Now move your consciousness into that part of your body. What do you feel now? Take a deep breath and visualize this part of your body as the seat of all your senses -- sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Imagine that it is the very center of your being. With a deep breath, breathe translucent golden light into that part of your body.
Try this exercise every day for a week, choosing a different part of your body to appreciate each day. For example, start out by focusing on your head, and work your way down.
Copyright 2000, published by Hay House Inc. www.hayhouse.com.
Pathways to the Soul
by Carlos Warter
Pathways to the Soul contains 101 different exercises, visualizations, and meditations. Some are taken from various historical and classical traditions of the world’s cultures, and some are simple, current, and contemporary. All are designed to help you grow spiritually in many different ways, whether you are a beginner or an advanced student. If you want to experience your true beauty and the sacredness of your life, this book contains just about everything you need to know.
Info/Order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Carlos Warter M.D., Ph.D. is a medical doctor, transpersonal spiritual psychiatrist, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of consciousness raising and alternative healing. He is the author of Soul Remembers and Who Do You Think You Are? The Healing Power of Your Sacred Self. Born in Chile, Dr. Warter has been awarded the United Nations Peace Messenger and the Pax Mundi awards for his humanitarian efforts. He presents keynote speeches, workshops, and seminars both in the U.S. and throughout the world. His website is at www.doctorcarlos.com.