La Petite MortDo you have anything to say on the matter of physical/bodily effort? I'm noticing that when I'm doing physical work such as running, lifting heavy things or when I'm tired, I seem to identify more often as a separate self than usual.
Do you have anything to say on the matter of physical/bodily effort?
I’m noticing that when I’m doing physical work such as running, lifting heavy things or when I’m tired, I seem to identify more often as a separate self than usual.
Usually this is in the form of wanting to avoid the experience of effort, or by wanting to control/extend the effort.
How is this an opportunity for self-enquiry?
Any appearance of the sense of a separate ‘I’ is an opportunity to enquire into its nature. The particular character of any one appearance differs from case to case, both within an apparent individual’s life and between apparent individuals.
However, the essential nature of the separate ‘I’ is always the same - the belief and subsequent feeling that the presence of Awareness that I intimately and directly know myself to be is located in and limited to a physical body.
Exertion in sports or otherwise does not necessarily imply identification as an apparently separate entity. In fact, the reason most people take to extreme activities or indeed to sports in general is precisely the desire to lose the sense of separation and taste one’s true nature.
In confronting and going beyond one’s fear - in the case of dangerous sports - one is confronting and going beyond the essential fear of death that characterises the apparently separate entity.
In the ecstasy of achievement briefly experienced upon winning or scoring in competitive sports, the intense seeking and efforting which is itself the activity of the apparent entity comes briefly (in fact, timelessly) to an end and the joy that shines in that timeless moment is the taste of joy that is our true nature.
And, while we are on the subject, the intense desire for intimacy in sexual relations, is motivated by the very same desire to die as an entity and know oneself as this joy or love.
This ‘petite mort,’ however it is seemingly achieved, is the death of the sense of separation, the death of all seeking, resisting, becoming, striving etc. and the revelation of our true nature of peace, love and happiness.
Once it has become clear that we are not a separate, located entity, we may still continue to enjoy some or all of these previous activities that were once motivated in us by the search for love and happiness. Only now they are a means of expressing, communicating and sharing that love and happiness rather than a means of securing it.