Is Being an Embodied Being a Fall from Grace?
I was cleaning the living room windows this morning, and noticed I could never get them perfect. They always had some kind of streaks or fog when the sunlight hit them, no matter how much I wiped them. It occurred to me the windows were metaphors of the limits of expression of clarity and the light of knowing (like when writing), a God metaphor. So when living or expressing God or love or truth, it’s always imperfect.
The nature of this (embodied) reality is imperfection in some sense. This is perhaps the so-called “fall from grace” in Christian wisdom teachings.
“Perfection is not a perfect body. Perfection is absolute perfection.” – Lester Levenson
Yet how could the totality be anything less than perfect: that is, exactly as it should be down to the smallest detail the mind can dream up, up to the whole and complete totality of existence? That’s what I was asking myself. Here’s what came to mind:
The experience from mending the ceiling this week:
The shoulder that never fully “healed” from physical therapy (last year), could have been thought of as a potential limitation. But I really wanted to do this work and mend the ceiling and not have to call in help or owe something to a friend. And I saw it as a kind of interesting challenge too.
The problem was holding this large panel up over the big hole in the ceiling (a large rectangle of ceiling board was cut out after water damage in the series of heavy rain storms) and screwing or nailing it in place. It was a flexible plastic panel so even while holding it in place with my head, it would tend to flop behind and pull back if I tried to fasten it at one end. It was a real puzzle.
But what if I were living in the remote wilderness alone and wanted or needed to do this? There had to be a way. A fun situation, like a game. I knew I could use the body and mind to do it on my own. So I “commanded” the mind and the body to come up with a solution, and they worked to do it. Overnight the mind came up with some options, and I still wasn’t 100% sure how to hold it in place and nail at the same time, but had faith the mindbody would do when I started. So I went ahead and launched into it, knowing that problems would be solved, in context, as they came up.
As it turned out, right beforehand I thought to drill holed along one end and part way up the sides, to make it easy to put roofing nails through and hammer them into the ceiling, then had nails and a hammer in my pockets. I got up on a ladder and used the pre-drilled holes at one end, to hold it in place from slipping, and put nails through while holding the panel with one hand and the head. It was complicated gymnastics with all parts of the hands, fingers, arms, head, body in play, maneuvering with geometry through the puzzle moment to moment. A very intricate harmonious dance. But I didn’t have to think much except a small amount of imagining, visualizing the initial maneuvers at the beginning.
There was maximum physical effort – right to the limit of what some muscles would do before they gave out, yet I knew that whatever happened would be OK. There was no stress to it. There was a joy knowing I had these faithful servants I loved. There was pain from the shoulder but it didn’t bother me. It’s just a sensation and I knew it would be OK.
I got the panel up completely and then just refined the job until it looked nice.
Ironically, the shoulder has felt better since then – still stiff, but I never think of it or worry about it. Most people would think doing such a thing would damage it. That is just a fear, a thought. But there was no fear or force doing it, so why would there be damage?
The body is my masterful robot. No need to fear pain. It’s meaningless. The body will repair if needed.
There’s a difference between forcing the body to do something and simply lovingly having it do your bidding, knowing everything will be OK. Forcing implies violence and disrespect.
I’m now living more like the body is my faithful amazing harmonious intricate marvelous robot animal servant, flowing through the day, like an art, or fun dance, rather than an enemy that’s going to betray me.
Bodily hurts and tiredness are just that and have no meaning beyond temporary appearances, and will change, like all appearances, and take care of themselves. No more thinking is needed about them. The body (and mind) are just instruments of Love, “Consciousness”.
We both are and are not the body in some sense that’s hard to explain.
“You will look at yourself and see the body, but you will laugh. You will know it’s not your body. There is no body. It’s like the water in the mirage. There is no water. It only appears so. That’s the way the body is. You appear to have a body, but you don’t really. “I” has the body. And I doesn’t really exist. ” – Robert Adams