Embrace the body in order to disidentify from it

carlito santo's picture

Average: 4.9 (9 votes)

Intellectually, I am convinced that I am not the body. Thinking that I am the body is such a ridiculous idea as I have so little control over it. How can I be something I have no control over? Being something while not having control over it takes any true meaning from the concepts "to be" and "control".

But knowing it intellectually is not enough. To be sincere with myself, I had to admit that mentally this realization has not penetrated into my conditioning.

Following advices from several teachers, I tried saying to myself over and over again like a mantra that "I am not the body", "I am not the body" while trying to alienate mentally from the body. This too did not work for me. Deep down there in my very basic programming stayed the deep-rooted independant strong belief that I am the body.

Then a few days ago, while reading a certain related paragraphs in "The Nectar of Immortality" by Nisargadatta Maharaj, I happened to suddenly have an unexpected inspiring idea that worked wonderfully - go in the opposite direction: instead of trying to disengage from the body - embrace the body, claim ownership of the body, hug it mentally, adopt it - for me the the verb "to embrace" works best. I then found myself identified with the embracing entity disidentified from the embraced body. I didn't try or force it and it wasn't an intellectual deduction (when I try to force or rationalize it, it doesn't work). I felt deep inside very clearly that I am not the body. Not only intellectual understanding but deep mental dis-identification. Since then when I do this exercise, as long as I do not expect or force it, I usually get easily into this mental feeling of conviction that I am beyond the body.

In my case embracing the body rather than estranging it worked. Try it and maybe it will work also for you...

Omkaradatta's picture

Wonderful idea...

Wonderful idea, and a testimony to how acceptance can trump rejection.


Omkaradatta | Tue, 12/23/2008 - 01:12
Phroggy's picture


Cause if the body's being embraced, there must be something embracing it, eh? Glad you found some success with that.

From my perspective, the body is taken to be the 'me' on a mental level anyway, so that's the only level we're dealing with. It's just an assumption that was never really questioned, so it's just a matter of having the willingness to question. It seems you had that willingness when you noticed it's not under your control and as such you can't be it. It is, of course, obvious, but some folks 'choose' not to notice.

Noticing this can create a conflict. What do you do about it, toss the body in a corner and go on because it isn't you? You still have to operate under it's dictates, and then the thought arises, 'I don't really know what I am, all I know is that this body isn't me', and this is uncomfortable. I suspect it wasn't so much that you still had a deep belief in the body being you, but that pretending it sorta is made you feel less alienated and in conflict with this body thing.

Embracing the body is an excellent way of resolving that conflict. You know it's not You, but you no longer have to make it other than You, which is the truth.

Phroggy | Tue, 12/23/2008 - 01:21
salim's picture



salim | Tue, 12/23/2008 - 12:42
erez's picture

it works

works for me too.

In addition, it is followed by an unfamiliar pleasant sensation that feels like love surrounding the body.

erez | Tue, 12/23/2008 - 14:18
mika's picture

The Opposite

There was a post by shira, i can't find it right now, that adopted the same opposite aproach and was also surprisingly very effective.

This reminds me this episode of Seinfeld called "The Opposite" when George resolves to start doing the complete opposite of what he would do normally and for the first time in his life, everything turns good for him - he is getting a girlfriend, moving out of his parents' house, and even landing a job with the New York Yankees.

And as George said: "if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right".

mika | Tue, 12/23/2008 - 14:36
Phroggy's picture


It's called acceptance.

Phroggy | Tue, 12/23/2008 - 19:08
mika's picture

not exactly acceptance

I wouldn't call it acceptance, it's neutralizing the mind with the same mechanism it uses by doing the opposite of what it expects the automatic reaction patterns to do. Acceptance is in the "middle" - after applying this kind of trick for a limited time you shift back to acceptance - the state that should be the default.

mika | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 22:49
Phroggy's picture

We don't disagree

The mind's doingness is resistance. To invite the resistance is acceptance.

Mind carries out doingness commands. You can command it to do something but you cannot command it to stop doing. As a thinking 'thing', it cannot carry out a not-thinking command. What would it do to comply?

Acceptance is not a doing, but an undoing; the ending of a doing. This doing is the resistance to what is. Since the mind can only respond by doing, we give it the command to invite the resistance. This invitation is identical with ending the resistance since mind cannot push and pull at the same time.

What is most useful to see in this is that acceptance is a stopping and mind cannot be told to stop. Ultimately, it must understand the futility of it's resistance, and the exercises can lead to that understanding, but only when one understands why it works.

Phroggy | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 23:23
Omkaradatta's picture

Not only why...

Not only (or necessarily even) why, but 'how'. The only way this can happen is to watch the mind closely and ceaselessly.

Dismissing everything mental as a 'mind trick' is less than useless, it's a method of avoidance. The mind sees something it doesn't like and thinks "No. I reject that. It's a mind trick!"

The question is really this: is the content of the material the mind trick, or is "I reject that!" the mind trick? To know the answer, watch the mind closely.


Omkaradatta | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 23:44
Phroggy's picture


Yes, the functioning of the mind must be understood, the motivations seen clearly, the 'tricks' revealed, beliefs questioned. This can't happen by dismissing anything but only through clarity. Mind/ego does not want mind/ego to be looked at closely. This is how it remains safely asleep.

Phroggy | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 23:52
Omkaradatta's picture


Worth noting too that although Nisargadatta recommends 'brushing away' desires and fears, this isn't meant to be a selective or part-time practice. If we brush away what we don't like and go after what we do, we're only avoiding.


Omkaradatta | Fri, 12/26/2008 - 00:16
Phroggy's picture


Seems to me what Niz is referring to is what I call not following mind down the rabbit hole. Mind loves to think about it's problems and solutions and where there isn't one already it will invent one.

This, of course, is getting sucked into the mind's processes rather than observing them. From the observer's position, things can be noticed about attachment and motivation and projection and such that can't be noticed from 'within' the thinking process. This is another reason why spiritual 'work' shouldn't be isolated from our daily activities. We can always be observing.

Phroggy | Fri, 12/26/2008 - 01:41
mika | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 22:57
avi's picture

simple and so effective!

great creative approach, great technique, thanks a lot carlito.

avi | Fri, 01/02/2009 - 10:45