29 Sep
Posted in: Books, Practice
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We Are Not Our Hair

Our Dharma Book Group meets tonight and we are starting to discuss Chapter 10 of Joseph Goldstein’s new book, Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. This is the chapter that includes some of the less-common meditations on the body, including the practice of contemplating its anatomical parts.

“In this body there are head-hairs, body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, contents of the stomach, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, spittle, snot, oil of the joints, and urine.”

Yuck. Right?

But really, it’s just the truth. This body, which I think of so strongly as ME, is really NOT me.

Which is good news.

I am NOT my hair, or bones, bowels, blood, or any of the other “stuff” that make up this body. Which, of course, I know. I am clearly more than my body. I know that.

But I still kind of think of this body as MINE.

That’s not really true either, because I can’t control “my” body — I can’t tell it to grow or not grow, to age or not age, to be sick or not be sick. I can have some effect on the way it grows or ages, etc, but really, not that much. It does what it does in accordance with the laws of nature. Clearly not in accordance with my desires or wishes.

Which is not exactly good news.

But it’s the truth. This is the way things are.

And it’s always better to be dealing with what IS, than to be thinking — and acting — as if thing were other than they actually are.

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