A test to check your level of identification with the body

enlight's picture

Average: 4.5 (21 votes)

*** Important Note: This spiritual technique, though enormously beneficial, might be too extreme for certain people due to the hard emotions that might arise during the practice of this technique. It is intended to be used only by advanced seekers. Do not run this test in case you are not sure you are emotionally stable, balanced and strong enough. This test is not recommended for people with mental problems or/and extreme fear of death. In case you feel that the emotions experienced are too strong, stop the test immediately and continue later, in moderate stages ***


Spiritual teachers often tell you that you are not the body, you are just identified with it. They urge you to recognize this fact and believe in it. You try so hard and yet this belief remains as a solid barrier, whoever tells you this, whatever trust you have in him/her, you still feel a strong conditioning within you that says "I'm the body, the body is me, I am definitely the body..."

So instead of being stuck in frustration, there is an ancient technique you can use to test the strength of identification with your body and by this also to start weakening the accumulated conditionings that prevent you from breaking this identification.

How to run the test

The following is a simple test you can run occasionally to test your level of identification with the body, that is to say, to what degree you still believe that you are the body.

The more extreme are the emotions you experience during the test, the stronger your identification with the body is. Lack of extreme emotions does not necessarily mean that you are not strongly identified with your body but usually means that these emotions are suppressed deeply in your subconscious and not yet brought up to conscious experience. Try it over and over and they will surface very soon.

The experienced emotions may be very painful and very strong. You may feel tremendous grief and sorrow. The test might be hard emotionally but is worthy and the emotions will soon subside. Don't worry. Try the best you can to stay aloof and just observe and accept whatever emotion arises.

It is extremely important that you run the test not from an intellectual point of view, that is to say, not from your rational mind, but rather from an emotional stand. If you feel the thinker within you is currently more dominant and your emotional "I" is less, consider postponing the test to a later time.

The Test:

  • Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths with ease and pleasantness. Relax for a few minutes with your eyes closed.
  • Observe this sense of "I" that always accompanies you, this feeling of your identity, this intimate mental entity of yourself that without it, you can not refer to yourself when saying "I am reading", "I am observing", "I am running this test right now", etc. If you cannot locate this sense of "I", ask yourself: who is it that tries right now to locate this sense of "I"?, follow the mental pointer in this question, don't try to answer the question, let the question lead you to this sense of "I" within you. Stay focused on this sense of "I" for a few minutes.
  • Open your eyes and look at your body and feel it from within for a few minutes. It is better to look at areas of your body which are not covered by cloths. Try not to move your eyes from your body, you can scan the body, part by part or look at it in general but try not to stir your look to outside of the body. If your look gets off the body sight, gently return it to the body. Inspect the patterns of your skin, the hair that grows on it, the wrinkles, the spots, the cells.
  • Reflect deeply on the following: you know very well that immediately after you die, this body you are looking at right now, this body you are feeling, this dear body you are sure is you, this body will decay, rot, decompose, cease completely to exist. You know this very well. This is a certain fact, beyond any possible doubt, right? Contemplate on this but not only intellectually, try to realize it from deep inside.
  • Look very good at your body and feel it as it is you, your flesh and blood, and slowly try to imagine this factual certain process after your death in which this you, this body, is decaying, breaking, changing to strange dark color, to unpleasant odors. This very you, not some other object, your body, you, the subject that observes and runs this test right now, the "I" will decompose like a piece of beef forgotten outside the refrigerator for a few hours.
  • Now, look at a certain part of your body, preferably your hand. Read and run again the previous bullet while focusing only on the selected part and not applying it to your whole body as before.
  • Admit, this is such a sorrowing fact, such an outrageous destination. Observe the feelings and the body sensations you feel right now, if you feel.
  • Stop the test. Focus on your breath and relax for a few minutes. Give yourself the time in leisure until you feel you returned to your balance.

How to break this identification with the body?

Another use of this test is to work on decreasing this attachment to the body by simply accepting and observing the emotions that appear while you run this test.

Whatever you observe with acceptance is weakening and so are these emotions. As these emotions subside with the practice, your level of identification with the body will decrease. This identification is directly due to these emotions, due to their field of energy within your subconscious, due to numerous past conditionings they represent.

arjuna's picture

very remarkable

I really like the different steps and how you lead the process, very gradually.
It has a profound effect on "me".
Very thankful.
Great contribution!

desiring what is - because it's already there

arjuna | Mon, 03/10/2008 - 02:47
Psiplex's picture


Very high contrast imagery in the test helps to make the point. Thanks for posting!

One Love

Psiplex | Wed, 12/24/2008 - 11:10
eknutson's picture


Thank you for sharing this test with us. I appreciate the explanation and look forward to continuing this evaluation of my self-body connectedness.


eknutson | Fri, 05/23/2008 - 13:31
santthosh kumaar's picture


It is impossible to brake the identification with body. Who or what has to brake its identification with body. Since the entire techniques and practice is based on the false self or ego, how it will yield result. Even if yields, the seed itself is false thus it will yield only hallucinated results.

Until and unless one has a yardstick to view and judge what is truth and what is untruth these so-called spiritual practices will thrive in spiritual super market. It is therefore the whole thing has to be verified its validity before it is accepted as truth by the propagators of this spirituality, better rectify the pitfalls and present it in new form to help the modern mindset to have the direct realization of truth. The truth is that which cannot be contradicted it will eternally prevails as same.

santthosh kumaar | Mon, 06/30/2008 - 04:46
rabar's picture

Somatic (in the body) Buddhism

Reggie Ray in his article, ‘Touching Enlightenment,’ Tricycle Magazine, Spring, 2006, writes:
"My sense is that there is a very real problem among Western Buddhist practitioners. We are attempting to practice meditation and to follow a spiritual path in a disembodied state, and our practice is therefore doomed to failure. The full benefits and fruition of meditation cannot be experienced or enjoyed when we are not grounded in our bodies... the early text, when understood fully, implies not only that we are able to touch enlightenment with our bodies, but that we must do so — that in fact there is no other way to touch enlightenment except in and through our bodies. For most of us, and for most of modern culture, the body is principally seen as the object of our ego agendas, the donkey for the efforts of our ambitions. The donkey is going to be thin, the donkey is going to be strong, the donkey is going to be a great yoga practitioner, the donkey is going to look and feel young, the donkey is going to work eighteen hours a day, the donkey is going to help me fulfill my needs, and so on. All that is necessary is the right technique. There is no sense that the body might actually be more intelligent than 'me,' my precious self, my conscious ego.
" . . . In the classical Buddhist traditions, meditation is deeply somatic – it is fully grounded in sensations, sensory experience, feeling, emotions, and so on. Even thoughts are related to as somatic – as bursts of energy experienced in the body rather than nonphysical phenomena that disconnect us from our bodies. In its most ancient Buddhist form, meditation is a technique for letting go of the objectifying tendency of thought and of entering deeply and fully into communion with our embodied experience. And hence it leads to ‘touching enlightenment with the body.’ And yet, among many of us modern people, meditation is often practiced as a kind of conceptual exercise, a mental gymnastic. We often approach it as a way to fulfill yet another agenda or project – that of attempting to become 'spiritual,' according to whatever we happen to think that is. We may try to use meditation to become peaceful, sharper, more “open,” more effective in our lives, even more conceptually adroit. The problem with this is that we are attempting to be managers, to supersede nature, to control 'the other.' In this case, the 'other' is ourselves, our bodies, and our own experience. Ultimately, it is our own somatic experience of reality that we are trying to override in the attempt to fulfill our ego aim.”

Reggie Ray's new book, "Touching Enlightenment," develops this approach further. Highly recommended!
"That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real." Ramana Maharshi
"The resonant, sounding breath is the self-arising (relaxed) manifestation of deep, dreamless sleep. Relax into it while awake and -- guess w

rabar | Fri, 07/04/2008 - 20:00
Alpesh Patel's picture

i'd Rather put my awareness on divine love

I'd rather put my awareness on divine love and grace. Putting awareness on divinity, the highest would be more preferable for me, rather than putting awareness on body and decay and all.

May the Divine love guides us all to the freedom

Alpesh Patel | Sat, 11/08/2008 - 13:18
nelo's picture

Divine love and grace

I know to put my awareness on the object called "my body", how do you exactly put your awareness on "divine love and grace"? How do you bring them to the here and now in order to observe them? Show me how to bring them and it will be everything.

nelo | Wed, 01/07/2009 - 23:24
Maa Lina's picture

Thank you for this post, it

Thank you for this post, it is very interesting. I would like to ask you if you are the author of this test or it is taken from somewhere? I would like to share it, use it on my blog somewhere else and i don't want to have copyright issues.
God Blessings.


Maa Lina | Sun, 01/25/2009 - 08:44
enlight's picture


Thanks for the feedback.

It was carefully developed and fine tuned over the years with the guidance of my great teacher and the feedbacks of my dear students. It is very important that such a technique will be meticulously designed and very well tested before published otherwise it will prove ineffective when transmitted in words. I have received here many positive feedback messages about this technique and it assured me that it was sharpen properly.

Feel free to share it in your blog, just please put there in the post a link to this blog post and credit it to my teacher Riktam Kantu.

Blessings and love :-)

enlight | Sun, 01/25/2009 - 23:22
Maa Lina's picture

Thank you. It will be posted

Thank you.
It will be posted on my blog http://spirituality2world.blogspot.com
followed by the link and credits to your teacher.


Maa Lina | Sun, 11/22/2009 - 18:21
solo | Wed, 10/28/2009 - 06:31
dabka's picture

Great technique, thank you

Great technique, thank you!

One comment: depending on our state of mind, sometimes the insights in the technique work and sometimes they do not. It is recommended to try it several times in different times and precede it with a meditation of concentrating on the breath for 5-10 min - it has a critical effect on the realization in the technique.

dabka | Mon, 07/26/2010 - 09:07
mrkotians's picture

A Good One

Really Helped ME...

mrkotians | Fri, 07/30/2010 - 04:06
suzame's picture

Amazing test

Thanks. Excellent enlightened test. Amazing outcomes.

suzame | Sat, 07/30/2011 - 02:23