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How to Inhabit Your Inner Body More Deeply

In this Article:Taking the Leap: From Thinking to AwarenessJourneying from Form to FormlessMake a Conscious ChoiceCommunity Q&A

The body that you can see, sense and touch cannot liberate you from the 'dream of form', but hidden in the physical body lies doorway to universal consciousness and deep radiant peace and joy that comes through it—the gateway to all understanding. The farther you go into it, the deeper it is.[1] Based on the teachings of Tao Te Ching, Zen, Eckhart Tolle, and other spiritual texts, this article offers some pointers to help you inhabit your inner body more deeply; the realm of pure consciousness.

Taking the Leap: From Thinking to Awareness

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    See the dysfunction. Most people have deeply embedded mental patterns and habit of approaching life through mind(thoughts), unaware of the infinite treasure within.[2]. The mind, which is a minute aspect of intelligence, in the absence of space consciousness, is quite dysfunctional, compulsive and creates suffering by resisting to what is. As a result, most of the world we see is a reflection of collective negativity and rigid mental structures. We are at a point where identification with thoughts, emotions and forms poses a threat to humanity, other species and even nature that sustains us. As collective 'psychological entity'(egoic mind) is growing into a monstrous parasite. Hence, there's a sense of urgency to evolve.
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    Stop seeking answers and yourself in your mind. You are not your mind (thoughts and emotions); the false sense of self. If you can truly see the dysfunctional, insane, repetitive, resistive and compulsive nature of the mind that creates separation, immense suffering and problems by keeping the psychological burden of past and future alive, then you will naturally stop seeking answers in it. Isn't it insane to keep seeking answers and yourself in mind(never stopping voice in your head), which resists what is, creates so much suffering and drains you of life energy? Many people have this notion that thinking is the only way to approach life cause that's all they know. This identification makes thinking compulsive and instrument(mind) takes over your life. There's much more to you than just movement of thought and your ephemeral form. As you are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien, uncaring universe.
    • Since mental patterns are deeply embedded and have thousands of years of collective momentum behind them, so a high alertness is needed or your mind will trick you into identifying with it again and again. However, whenever you recognize egoic patterns, they weaken.
    • Note: This doesn't mean to criticize or condemn the voice in head. Else, it would be the same voice that came through the back door. So listen or see it impartially. Smile. Let it come and go. You are the observer of the voice.
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    Shift attention away from the mind and its resistant patterns. Once you recognize incessant and dysfunctional nature of mind that doesn't help you live in the present moment, as time and mind are inseparable, then there's nothing you need to explore or can do, on the level of mind, to dissolve your identification with it. Problems of the mind cannot be solved at the level of the mind.[3]. Dwelling on reactions and thoughts(and emotions) gives them renewed strength. It's when you shift attention away from the mind(and emotions) and its resistive patterns, to present moment that it starts losing its grip over you.
    • As present moment is death of egoic mind; the illusion. That's why mind fears it. This is how you reclaim your power from the mind. The trapped consciousness[4].
    • Attention trapped in mind is what makes thinking compulsive and involuntary. Ego continuously uses it to convert it into mind stuff on which its survival depends. Ego doesn't care about the content of mind as long as there's content to identify with. So be alert, yield or surrender to shift attention away from thinking, negative emotions and resistive patterns to present moment anchors and/or even activities. Allow what is to be to come and go. Recognize yourself as the "awareness" that is aware of the thought, emotions and objects that come and leave the space of awareness. This practice takes energy from the mind and turns it into presence.
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    Listen to inner body. Just like sun is infinitely more powerful than candle light, similarly inner body is infinitely more powerful, peaceful and intelligent than mind.[5]. Or rather what comes through it.
    • The key is to permanently inhabit the ever present and intensely alive space of your inner body; to feel it at all times. That's also surrender. As that's when your sense of self comes from space with in and not from incessant content of mind, which is resistance based and covers up the now. When you are in the inner body, you are connected to something so vast, immeasurable and sacred that you truly realize how insignificant and fleeting any form, experience or content is [6]
    • This is the peace that Jesus pointed to when he said "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds." That's when presence runs your life and thoughts have a secondary place, and that's where it should be, as mind is no more than an instrument. 'Read How to Know Your True Self for more depth.
    • A visual analogy: When you inhabit your inner body, you are like an ever-present deep lake; doesn't matter what happens on the surface(movement of thought, emotions, situations, or people), the depth of the lake is absolutely 'still'. That's when you face challenges and situations with ease, as thoughts and actions are charged with spiritual power and offer infinitely more creativity and intelligence.[7]
    • Abiding in state of stillness is enlightenment.[8] End of suffering and mind as your master. Enlightenment is your natural state, not some superhuman accomplishment that you need to work hard for. However, egoic mind, likes to keep it superhuman. It's because the mind, despite being quite powerful, cannot understand it. All it can do is cut things into fragments, creates separation, and can at most show you the relative truth via thinking; while thinking can never the grasp the totality. It's when you step out of your mind that you realize the Oneness and "Sacredness" underneath all forms. Only sacredness within can recognize sacredness with out. This is why be aware of any deeper "feeling responses" as you read. If you tried to understand with your mind, you will fail.
    • "Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?" (Tao Te Ching).
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    Practice asking the inner body rather than asking the mind. Especially when facing challenging people or situations. That's when an infinitely more powerful answer comes from deep within. You can also see it as an experiment and then observe the quality and creativity of your thoughts and actions, when you use the mind in conjunction with inner body.
    • If inhabiting inner-body is not easy, then become aware of your breath, as its easier and a powerful meditation practice. This will gradually get you in touch with inner body. You can also be aware of breath and inner-body at the same time, since they are closely linked together; which is quite effective.
    • Notice where your motivations stem from, as ego is very clever and may trick you into identifying with it again and again. If your action or response comes from presence as a deeper feeling and accompanies peace and joy, then it's a sign that it's coming from one consciousness. If your action or reactions seem to come from your head or motivated by emotion and cause discomfort or unease in your body, it's a sign that it's motivated by the mind and eventually will cause suffering. To see it, an intense alertness is needed. Once you catch it, your self observation will improve.
    • "He (Master) doesn't think about his actions; they flow from the core of his being." Tao Te Ching.
    • Ego motivated action or words are tainted with madness. What's the madness? Treating the now as an obstacle or enemy or means to an end. The only time there is. While the paradox is that there's nothing more important than being in the now. Its cause Now is the only point to access the power of presence; the one life of which you are inseparable from. So you don't need time or understand a great deal of spiritual teachings to know who you are beyond name and form. You access it now or not at all. You will need time until you realize that you don't need time.
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    Be the valley rather than mountain. "All streams flow to the sea, because it's lower than they are. Humility gives it its power".Tao Te Ching[9] If you are aware enough, you may have noticed when you see someone more or less successful or better or worse looking than you (in other words, better or worse on the level of form), your mind consumes all the attention and feels pity, good about itself, resents, or feels inferior etc. It tries to compete and compare the 'mental image' of you with the 'mental image' of others, in an attempt to feel superior, defend or repair diminished false sense of self or attempt to destroy them with negative comments or judgments. It can also try to associate with others, in order to enhance its 'ultimately fictitious' sense of self. It's all happening on auto-pilot as part of ego's defense mechanism and your whole sense of self gets derived from a mind made 'illusory image' consisting of past conditioning.
    • "He who tries to shine, dims his own light". Tao Te Ching.
    • On the level of form, you are always going to be more or less than others, but in essence you are neither superior nor inferior. And essence, one life, underneath all fleeting forms, is what matters absolutely. "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God" (Course of Miracles).
    • Here's a powerful spiritual practice: Next time you feel an urge to shine or repair or defend diminished ego, simply yield and inhabit your inner body or do nothing. Allow the diminishment of 'false sense of self', the ego, to happen. Thus making way for your true power to shine through. The perfect and complete radiant joy that says 'all is well'. Thus realizing how insignificant are comparing and competing. You may not always become the mountain but you can always go deeper into the valley of the inner body, as it's always present within you. No matter who or where you are.
    • "The Tao is called the Great Mother: empty yet inexhaustible. It gives birth to infinite worlds. It is always present within you. You can use it any way you want" (Tao Te Ching).
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    Live in the "death-less" realm. All forms change, become weak and ultimately diminish, as they are subjected to the law of impermanence. However, the vibrant aliveness of Being through the inner body, remains the same throughout your life, whether you are 20 or 80. That's the sacred life that you are, which is inseparable from now. Your true home. Honor it by living or being in touch with it.
    • This one decision i.e inner shift from 'object consciousness'(mind stuff) to 'space consciousness'(inner-body or space), will change your entire reality and add a depth to your life, that you didn't know you had. Is it that easy? Yes, it is that easy. However, this once decision you'd have to make again and again and again, until presence or being becomes your predominant state.
    • There's nothing you can do or achieve or lose or become to enhance or diminish the simple Joy of Being. As in your essence, you are complete and perfect, now. That's why you don't need time to be who you are in essence. This is the formless perfection that Tao Te Ching points to in the phrase, "There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging. Infinite. Eternally present. It is the mother of the universe. For lack of a better name. I call it the Tao."
    • Once you abide in the death-less state of being, you realize that there is no death and body and forms around are part of illusory divine game that sages of ancient India called as Maya. Its painful as long as you cling to the illusion. Tao Te Ching states "Know the white, yet keep to the black". Which means, know and honor the forms, yet keep to the formless essence.
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    Raise your "frequency" so the source of irritation goes through you. When you are in spacious inner body, you are connected to the vibrant high frequency of universal consciousness.[10] Low frequency external sources, negativity or forms and even thoughts go right through without resistance, or hold little power over you. The undercurrent of peace is so deep and radiant that anything that's not peace becomes peace. Just like whatever is exposed to light becomes light.[11]
    • You will see how circumstances and situations become more favorable and issues may dissolve naturally, without any effort on your part. As world is just a reflection of your inner-reality. That's the power of one life when your consciousness takes the quantum leap from thinking to 'awareness'.

Journeying from Form to Formless

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    Be aware of mental interpretation or conceptualization. Since egoic structures are quite deep seated, you may not even realize that mind had conceptualized some of the pointers and started acting through them. Read Surrender to the Present Moment for more insight. That's the core error and deeply embedded pattern that we are referring to, i.e asking the mind rather than inner-body.
    • "Can you coax your mind from its wandering and keep to the original oneness" Tao Te Ching.
    • A high alertness is needed to catch the mind tricking you into identifying with it. Mind's usual response comes from resistance, compulsiveness, fear, guilt, anger, desire, comparison, past and future, etc. Which ultimately leads to suffering and misery, as mind(which also includes emotions) motivated actions or words are intrinsically short-sighted, unintelligent, treat the now as a means to an end, and contain the unmanifested polar opposite.[12]. That's why Buddha said, "Even your happiness is dukkah (suffering).
    • For example: mind's usual response to prevent an unwanted emotion or situation is to resist it (in form of negativity like guilt, complain, compulsive thinking, etc), because it thinks resistance will dissolve the emotion. This is highly delusional and unintelligent, as resistance is more disturbing and negative than the emotion or situation itself and in fact feeds it. Hence the Zen saying "Whatever you resist, persists". It may seem that the situation or person is causing the suffering or unease, but in truth its the automatic resistance.
    • Once you see this truth, you naturally stop seeking answers in mind and hence get closer to the infinite primordial intelligence and serenity that comes from deep within. Which is available to you only now. This is how close you are to the reality of God.
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    Offer no inner opposition. Inhabiting inner body as much as you can, may get conceptualized by the mind as forcing yourself to be in the inner body using willpower. Again, it's deeply embedded in our psyche to approach things via mind and emotions, that even before the mental response becomes thought, mind had already acted in form of words or action.
    • So be highly alert and in touch with aliveness of inner-body, as much as you can. There could be a tug off competition between polarizing thoughts about forcing and being in there naturally. If that happens, allow it to be or be the knowing where content comes and goes. "If you want to get rid of something, allow it to flourish." Tao Te Ching.
    • If you simply offer no inner opposition to whatever arises, it dissolves naturally without any effort. That's the power and miracle of surrender.
    • Similarly, be aware, in case, 'being aware of inner-body or other present moment anchors' leads to 'checking if the negativity or thoughts are gone or not'. Which means when you are in inner body, you may not realize that your "checking" is being converted to 'subtle resistance' by clever mind to fuel itself. This checking is similar to clinging by swallowing every few moments, when you have sore throat to 'check' if its healed or not.
      • So simply shift attention away from mind(and emotions) to inhabit inner-body(or other present moment anchors) or space of consciousness and don't check if thoughts are gone or not. Thought movement ceases naturally when your attention is in the now. Don't look at the closed door(mind) but go deeply into the open one(inner-body). Again, once you truly see mind's dysfunction and insanity then you will naturally stop seeking your self in it.
    • Complete and absolute surrender and/or withdrawal of attention from mind to inner-body or other present moment anchors is the key. You won't die; in fact you will be liberated from the great burden of 'false self' that creates so much suffering and cuts you off from source[13]. With fear as an inevitable consequence of this 'disconnect'.
    • Deeply realize that that seemingly helpful thought which says "check if the thoughts are gone" is itself an obstacle to access the power of now. It's cause you are seeking answer in thought(which is form). That is to say you are looking at the thought, which can at most be a pointer. Also, if you look closely, seemingly helpful thoughts take up attention rather than pointing to the formless absolute truth within you. Source of true power.
    • In fact, any form or pointer i.e to say 'collection of words', is or will become obstacle sooner or later, if you used them as a crutch. Words are no more than stepping stones or sign points to be left as quickly as possible. Truth is beyond words or forms.
    • "Look, and it can't be seen. Listen, and it can't be heard. Reach, and it can't be grasped. Above, it isn't bright. Below, it isn't dark. Seamless, unnameable, it returns to the realm of nothing. Form that includes all forms, image without an image, subtle, beyond all conception. Approach it and there is no beginning; follow it and there is no end. You can't know it, but you can be it, at ease in your own life." Tao Te Ching.
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    Start with one body part and hold your attention there as long as it feels natural. For example: feel the aliveness in your shoulders, if that's easier, and hold your attention there. When it feels natural, move on to hands, neck, face, lungs, abdomen, thighs and so on. Don't be in a haste or try to move on to other parts as mind may say something like "other body parts are being left". You are not your mind, so why give it any reality.
    • "The Master views the parts with compassion, because he understands the whole. His constant practice is humility. He doesn't glitter like a jewel but lets himself be shaped by the Tao, as rugged and common as stone." Tao Te Ching.
    • Its not you but the universal consciousness that acts through you. So let the Tao, universal consciousness, which is essentially you and yet inconceivably greater that you, act through you. That's the paradox.
    • "Life is the dancer, you are the dance" Eckhart Tolle.
    • Either way, 'don't try' or you will fail. As trying implies mental effort; which means you are still attempting to solve the dysfunction of mind at the level of mind. Mind is not the true power of human beings.
      • If you are aware enough, you may notice the energy shifts in mind as if trying to fix the issue. This is no different than a cop looking for a kidnapper when kidnapper is the cop.
    • Although if you are trying then keep trying and don't force yourself to 'not try', as the 'flourishing of trying', as stated in Tao Te Ching, eventually dissolves it.
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    Keep the Gate-keeper occupied. Since the mind(thinking) has a great momentum, so it's okay to have the mind be occupied with constructive or funny content and creative activities, as a practical measure to allow available consciousness to flow into inner body or other present moment anchors.
    • As an analogy: it's like keeping the gate keeper occupied with magazines or other content, thus allowing people to sneak in. For most people, spiritual awakening is a gradual process. If you haste, you will fail. For more pragmatic practices, read Stay Rooted in Being.

Make a Conscious Choice

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    Choose joy of being. Once you reach a certain degree of consciousness, you will see more clearly how peaceful and joyous it is to be in aware of inner-body or awareness, and how turbulent and discontent it is, when your attention is trapped in useless and repetitive thinking(mind); the tormenting entity in your head. As egoic mind and suffering are synonymous.
    • Analogy: Being in inner body is like being with a very intelligent Grandmother. She's gentle, loving, yielding, forgiving, kind yet very powerful. While being in mind is like having over-protective parents who are short sighted, dramatic, torment you constantly, unyielding, controlling, resent to make you feel guilty in order to fulfill their wishes, creates disconnection, overly strict etc.
    • Once you see this truth, you may "choose" to step out of your mind into the loving embrace of your inner-body, and thus become one with the infinite joy and peace of being within. Rather than having the available consciousness to be used by mind for pointless thinking, unease, mind stuff and looking for scraps of short-lived pleasures in the external world. Which sooner or later turns to suffering. World cannot give you joy because joy and peace come from deep within[14].
    • However, as long as you are dominated by your mind, you have very little or no choice[15]. As choice implies a high degree of consciousness. So be alert and present or mind will creep in in your absence.
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    Go deeper voluntarily. Once you reach a certain level of consciousness and had several experiences of awakening, you may choose to go deeper into being, voluntarily rather than be motivated by suffering. Which means less and less reasoning, explanations, engaging and providing mind with evidence. You voluntarily step out of your mind or we can say you yield or shift attention away from mental static or noise(closed door) to space dimension. Thus become one with the source within. This will rapidly deepen and transform your reality.
    • You, the mind, may have the notion that thinking is a great gift and if you didn't think, you may not be able to function in the world. Another mind's strategy to keep you trapped in time. What mind doesn't know is that thinking, in absence of space consciousness, which is true intelligence, is the collective dysfunction or sickness; greatest obstacle to one source[16].
    • Infact, mind, which is no more than an instrument, works beautifully and creatively in space of presence, the intelligence itself.[17].
    • This is the feeling of space consciousness that Albert Einstein pointed to when he said: "The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural laws, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of my life and work"

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    • Inhabiting inner body doesn't mean to force yourself to not think. Not at all. It means you simply shift your available attention from thinking, emotions and resistance to inner spaciousness of body. The more attention you put on it, deeper it gets. This is the process of end of mind as your master—an impostor pretending to be you. As identification with mind keeps the egoic dysfunction alive.[18]
    • That's when world of form (thoughts, emotions and world) lose its seriousness that it doesn't have; a playfulness arises. As compulsive thinking and sense perceptions keep the dreamlike fleeting world seem more rigid and serious. "Everything is honored but nothing really matters." Eckhart Tolle.
    • Whenever you feel discontent, lost in thought and at unease, look closely and you will see, its always because of some form of 'non-acceptance' to the present moment. Or we can say you don't want to be where you are i.e here and now; only time and place there is. If you can't be ease in the now then you won't be at ease in future; which, of course comes as now.
    • "Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time." Meister Eckhart.
    • See the unease or involuntary thought activity as a reminder to yield and shift attention away from mind to now. This decision you would have to make again and again and again, until presence becomes your natural state.
    • Being in inner-body is an essential aspect of staying present.
    • Even if you think that being lost in thought is not causing discontent or unease, by conventional terms. As mind may say "See, there's no suffering", Which is another mind's strategy to obscure the now. However, deeply realize if you are not in touch with being or deathless within you, i.e to say trapped in involuntary thinking, you are suffering or trapped in illusion of mind. Its as simple as that. You are trying to fetch power and long lasting fulfillment from the transient world, which it can't provide. Unaware of the source of true power with in.
    • There are many forms of suffering such as boredom, irritation, unease, impatience, compulsive thinking etc., which are not recognized as suffering because they are so normal[19]. What's common among all of them? They are all mind's strategies to avoid the now, the only point of access to peace of one consciousness. Even the slightest irritation of discontent needs to be acknowledged or it will accumulate over time.
    • Here's a practice: whenever you see yourself being taken over by the mind, ask "what should I do?". Then become present and feel the answer within. Enter the now from there
    • Being present is infinitely more powerful than anything. If action or words are required, they come from deep with in. Not from conditioned mind.
    • Often ask yourself "Who's talking here? Me or the mind?", "Can I listen to the silence?". These questions have great potential to naturally withdraw power from mind.
    • Use pointers or sutras from time to time. A right pointer or question has a great potential to withdraw attention from mind, thus creating gaps between stream of thinking and naturally bring you more aligned with the present moment. It helps to recondition your mind to replace pointless repetitive thinking with spiritual pointers.
    • Each word or pointer has spiritual power. Some words may resonate with you more due to your past conditioning and knowledge.
    • Another key is to be so intensely in the now that no thoughts, no emotions, no personality, no problems, no concepts; nothing that who you are not in your essence can survive. That's the essence of zen.

    Sources and Citations

    1. Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1988. Page 4
    2. Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth. Vancouver, BC: Penguin, 2005. Page 12, 63
    3. Tolle, Eckhart. Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Vancouver, BC: Namaste Publishing, 1999. Page 67
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