Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to "spreading the Good News" by educating others about Jesus Christ. His new homilies are posted each week.
Manage episode 235194777 series 1665209
In this talk I give a commentary on Barry Magid’s dharma poem "I am my body". I think Barry's writing is addressing two basic issues: 1) the tendency in religion/spirituality to seek to transcend the impermanence of our body (our incarnation) and seek permanence somewhere else other than where we are; and 2) to transcend the Cartesian mind/body duality we still tend to get caught in. The expression, I am my body, seeks to transcend this duality. There is no separation between me and my perceptions of the world. You are the sound. You are the colour. You are the taste. If you like, the world is your body. We might therefore say I am my bodyworld. I think the reason why Barry states “I am my body” etc., is to undermine the tendency we have, to relate to the body as if it is something I have or possess like a house or a car. It is important to distinguish between "having" and "being". Even the phrase "I am my body" can't completely escape this sense that there is an "I" that owns a vehicle called a body. However, the lineage I belong to, the Soto Zen lineage of Dogen, is quite explicit - there is no "owner" of the vehicle. Hence, I don't "have" a body - I am my body. Now it needs to be made clear that the body we are referring to is the lived experienced body. Not a body as object but the body as subject. Hence, my awareness is always embodied. The observer is just another attribute of my body - we might say my body is both aware and orientating us in the world. The body is also aware of being aware. Again, be careful not to reify the observer or witness. Awareness is no-thing. The body is both the percept and the awareness of the percept. The capacity for self-reflection is what enables us to make meaning and tell stories about our experience. The experience of the body is also the sense of presence. Being here (in a location) and being this now moment.