In reading philosophical teachings and writings, I often wonder why the body and the ego are seen so negatively, as if they somehow are antithetical to spirituality. Although ego, body and mind are not all we are, each is part, an expression of the whole self, included in our precious gifts from God, the Universe, Life, Spirit. It would be as sensible to hate or degrade a mathematical problem given me by a teacher for learning purposes. Of course I can be frustrated in my efforts to solve a difficult problem; that is merely an expression of my eagerness to achieve. How much easier on me, however, to enjoy the puzzle, to marvel at my reasoning processes and their growth and development as I draw nearer, bit by bit, to the solution. Even so, frustrated or not, I learn.
There are those of us who love school, and those who hate it. Nevertheless, we are all in school. And the ego, the mind and the body are our major learning tools. Through them, we learn the concepts of attachment/detachment, freedom/responsibility, joy/pain, wisdom/ignorance. These concepts, once grasped and mastered, are our prerequisites for the next level of learning in which we are (perhaps) freed of body/ego and introduced to new tools.
If I reject my body, my ego, or my so-called negative emotions, I am rejecting myself. If I reject myself, I am rejecting a holy creation and gift. If I reject or denigrate integral parts of my self, then I am split, dysfunctional, not whole, and not comfortable in my body and with my sense of self.
How much more joyful it is to regard my life as the finest Montessori School of all time, where the sandbox and mudpuddles offer learning experiences equally as rich and essential as do the books of poetry and lofty philosophy.
Without body:We couldn’t enjoy the many sensory and sensual experiences of this life.
We wouldn’t learn the invaluable lessons of getting obsessive about those experiences, and learning the self-control they teach us.
We would miss out on learning to love and cherish our brief moments on this planet, the fleeting nature of which is reflected back to us by the body’s aging process.
We wouldn’t be able to interact on a cellular level with the air, food, minerals, water, and the other beings, literally becoming one with the planet on a daily basis.
We would miss the powerful lessons we’re learning right now, that if we pollute our environment, we pollute ourselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We would not have the viceral (gut) experiences of the physical components of our emotion – the hormonally driven ecstasy and agony of emotional joy and pain.
We’d miss out on so much of artistic expression – dance, the musical beat that originally was born of heartbeat, sound, light, color, poetry, theater and all the rest of that exuberance.