Being conscious of the body is not bodily consciousness, being conscious only of the body is
Suppose a car driver is obsessed with their car. They drive around just to parade how attractive it is and to find some ways to make it more attractive. Being thus obsessed, they forget where they were meant to go and why.
Such obsession with a car is clearly undesirable. But just as undesirable is the other extreme: neglecting the car entirely, neither servicing it nor fueling it. Even if they want to get to their destination super-fast, they still need to take enough of the car to keep it at least drivable.
We need to similarly take care of our body. Gita wisdom explains that the body is like a vehicle for us souls who are on a multi-life journey of spiritual evolution.
Most people are obsessed with their body. They spend hundreds of hours and dollars on making it look better. And they spend almost their entire life craving and slaving for bodily pleasures. Being thus lost in bodily consciousness, they have hardly any time or inclination to explore their spiritual side. Gita wisdom deems such bodily consciousness reproachable.
Hearing these warnings, we may neglect the body entirely, mistaking any attention to the body’s needs to be bodily consciousness. However, the body has basic needs that have to be fulfilled; otherwise, the yogic practices for spiritualizing our consciousness will become unnecessarily difficult. For our spiritual journey, the body is a vehicle that is irreplaceable, at least for this lifetime.
We need to be sufficiently conscious of the body’s needs so that it can function smoothly as a vehicle for our consciousness. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (06.17) declares that if we regulate our bodily activities, avoiding the extremes of too much or too little, then our spiritual practices can take us beyond worldly distresses.
Think it over:
- Do you sometimes get obsessed with your body?
- Do you sometimes neglect your body?
- How can you make your body a better vehicle for your consciousness?
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