We can only abuse what we feel disconnected from
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield
Our relationship with the body can be seen as a microcosm of our relationship with the planet.
Right now can you sense your body? Can you sense the inner sensations? What are your senses experiencing? We tend to identify with our thoughts and are therefore disconnected from the body.
Journalist Thea O’Connor at the Happiness and its Causes Conference pointed out that the biggest commodity in the world is oil and the second is coffee. Both provide energy. Our consumption of oil is unsustainable. Our consumption of coffee is propping the body up with energy when what is needed is rest and sleep. We push the body beyond what actually works for it and this is parallel in our relationship with Mother Earth. When we are disconnected from the body and the earth we are living in disharmony with what is. It is easy to abuse something we don’t feel connected to. We are depleting the body and the earth.
The Buddha noted that we suffer because we are disconnected from our essential nature, which is right under our noses and represented in the body. We are organic, which means we live in an ever-changing system of interconnected and interdependent elements.
Our disconnect means that we eat mindlessly; we eat too much and too much of the wrong food – food that the body doesn’t need. On a global scale this leads to the exploitation of resources, depleting soil to produce more to meet our endless appetite for stuff we don’t need.
The more disconnected we are from the body the easier it is for us to ignore it’s needs; to binge drink and eat, to push it beyond what is healthy for the sake of slimness or monetary gain. In relation to the earth, it is easier to pollute, contaminate and destroy it when we are disconnected from it. The further away I am from what and who I impact, the easier it is for me to be abusive.
Just as our lifestyle is causing disease and dissatisfaction, our way of life is destroying the planet.
Our relationship with the body can be our entry point of connection and through this we can realise the fundamental truths –our interconnectedness and impermanence, that there is just one big Now in which everything unfolds. This brings kindness and presence, awakening us to the truth of the world around us.
When we connect with the body and address it as “Dear Body” there is presence and tenderness. Try this: Close your eyes for a moment and address the body as “Dear Body”. What do you notice? You can continue: “I am listening, I hear your language”. Notice how that feels. I find this deeply grounding. But there is more; when I address the body in this way, I am connected to it in kindness and I am no longer able to mistreat it.
When we live in connection with the body, we are present and in alignment with what is. We start to notice what does not work for the body, such as sitting for ten hours a day, eating too much junk food, pushing ourselves when tired or sick, or we become able to pick up the early signs of burnout.
We protect what we fall in love with. When we connect with the body through Dear Body, we connect with LIFE. Life is this planet, it is your body, it is anything with a heart, anything that changes, anything that grows.
Disconnect is identification with ego, with me as the centre of the universe, and with my subcortical drives.
Start with connecting with the life right under your nose, the body. See if you can notice your heartbeat, then notice how it feels when you say “Dear Body”.