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Are you the Body?

My answer is yes, I am the body. This goes against the modern neo-advaitan idea, “I am not the body, but only awareness, or the absolute.” Or, “there is no one here.” I don’t see it that way.

In my own experience, when the purely subjective “I” is known, it is not that the “self” or “I”, the body/mind vanishes, as some modern teachings suggest, but that it instantly expands from the contracted sense of a personal “I” to the infinite “I”, which is firmly set in now. The body mind, with its sensations, thoughts, etc., still appear, but they are no longer, in that moment of knowing/being the sole locus of experience, as it is in our normal contracted state of being. Now they are part of the “all”.

A couple of days ago I came across these words directly written by the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi that express it as I myself know it to be.

“To those who have not known Self and to those who have known (Self), this body is ‘I’. (But) to those who have not known Self, ‘I’ is (limited to) only the measure of the body, (whereas) to those who have known Self within the body, ‘I’, the Self, shines without limit. Know that this indeed is the difference between them.” (RAMANA'S WORDS)

Translator's Note: “An ajnani (one who does not know Self) feels ‘the body alone is ‘I’, whereas the Jnani (one who knows and

abides as Self) feels ‘the body is also I’.”

He does not deny the body, or the world for that matter, but includes it all in the one knowing/being.

This knowing or being is easily recognizable by most people, if correctly pointed out. The Indian term Sachitananda expresses this purely subjective knowing/being. Sat means being or existence. Chit means knowing or consciousness. Ananda means peace. To put it in plain English, I am and I know that I am - sat chit. This is purely subjective knowing/being, which includes everything and excludes nothing.

This knowing/being when lived more and more brings a much more easeful peace to one’s life, hence, ananda. Why? Because we are no longer living exclusively from the contracted, self-focussed sense of self called ego. We are no longer bound to the movement of time, past and future, which creates a large part of our suffering. We are living now only, which includes everything, but is not focussed only on “self”.

This is no small thing. It is a paradigm shift from our normal way of being.
 

Here is a little story based on what Ramana has said, but put in my own words. I feel that people misunderstand Ramana and think that when he refers to "the Self" he is referring to some kind of transcendental experience that excludes the world.

Devotee: Ramana, you say you only see the Self.
Ramana: Yes, I only see the Self
Devotee: But Ramana, it seems that you see me.
Ramana: Yes, I only see the Self.


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