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Body noun /ˈbɒd.i/

  • The whole physical structure that forms a person or animal. 'The human body is composed of about 60% water.'

  • The main part of a person's or animal's body, without the head, or without the head, arms, and legs. 'He has a beautiful body with thin legs and arms.'

  • The painted metal shell of a vehicle, such as a car or an aircraft. 'My car's bodywork is in good condition.'

  • A dead person. 'Police had marked off the area where the body was found.'

  • A person. 'A body can live in these conditions.'


In this world of forms, the only thing that can be known with certainty by any living being is what it is. An apple tree knows that it is an apple and will not try to make plums, just as an oak tree will make acorns and not apples. A dog knows that it is a dog and will not expect to give birth to cats. A rose will not try to bloom like a tulip, nor will a dandelion think it smells like a rose.

And yet, how many times have you heard the question, at least from others if you haven't asked yourself so far, “What am I?" or “Who am I?” or “What am I looking for here?”. Do these questions show the certainty that people know exactly who they are and why they are here?

There is no doubt that it does not have its roots here. There is no question that is not reflected by it. There is no conflict that does not involve this one simple question “What am I?". However, who could ask such questions but one who has refused to recognise himself as what one is? Only the refusal to accept yourself as what you are could make the question seem to be honest.

We are Spirits. We are creation. We are souls. We are part of All That Is. We are the sons of God himself, as holy as He is. We seem to be discreet and unaware of our eternal oneness. Yet behind all our doubts and beyond all our fears, there is still one certainty: we are not bodies, for we remain forever as God created us.

A real and complete sense of being cannot be yours while you doubt what you are. That is why watchfulness is essential, for watchfulness is not necessary for truth, but it is necessary against illusion. Doubts about your being must not enter your mind, or you cannot know what you are with certainty.

As a result of the teachings of the physical world, we tend not to see a body as neutral, for our thoughts about bodies are usually not neutral. Similarly, we tend to agree with the mad belief that there are separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways.

Learning is all that causes change; it is the one essential goal by which communication is achieved and concepts can be meaningfully shared. The teaching of the physical world is but a phase of learning we all must go through. Yet learning that stops with what the world would teach stops short of meaning, for it only serves but as a starting point from which another kind of learning can begin.

Bodies are neutral; bodies don’t communicate, for minds need not the body to communicate. The body thinks no thoughts. It has no power to learn, to pardon, nor enslave. Bodies cannot forgive.

Minds are joined, bodies are not, they can only do as the mind directs. Bodies can neither offer nor accept; hold out nor take. Only the mind can value, and only the mind decides on what it will receive and give.

We are not bodies, we are free. Freedom is impossible so long as one perceives a body as oneself because the body is a limit. He who would seek freedom in a body seeks for it where it cannot be found. The mind can be freed when it no longer sees itself as in a body, firmly bound to it, and protected.

The body is captive, and not the mind. The body will but follow, it can never lead. Bodies have no goal for purpose is of the mind, and minds can change as they desire. What they are and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself, the body can do nothing. See it as a means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as a means to heal, and it is healed.

It is your mind alone that has given the body all the functions you see in it and established its value far beyond a little pile of dust and water. Depending on how it is used, the body can be harmful  or helpful, peaceful or savage, or ugly or beautiful. You will see how you have used yours when you look at another's body. The body, worthless and hardly deserving of the least defence, has only to be perceived as completely separate from you and thus becomes a healthy and useful tool through which the mind can communicate until its usefulness is over, for nothing can outlive its purpose. And who would want to keep it when its usefulness is done?

You either see the flesh or recognise the spirit. No compromise is ever possible between the two of them. If one is real, the other must be false, because what is real denies its opposite. There is no other option in vision than this. What you decide about it determines everything you see and think of as real and consider as true. Upon this choice depends your whole world, for here you have established what you are, as body or spirit, in your own belief. If you choose the flesh, you will never break away from the body as your own reality because you chose that you want it to be so. But choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends down to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, so that you see the world of flesh no more but to heal, to comfort, and to bless.


Photograph, hand printed on b&w Ilford baryta paper, coated with barium sulphate.

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