“I am large. I contain multitudes.”—Walt Whitman
I have nothing against my body. It’s very useful for playing pickleball, for taking selfies and for passing out hugs to fellow humanoids.
But to see my body as the boundary of my being is a myopic belief. My body is but one piece on the chess board of who I really am.
My true self is a much wider realm made up of my joys, my ideas, my fears, my interest and my loves. My body is a temporary clown suit that’s happening within the larger phenomenon of me.
To give our bodies so much attention, as we do in this culture, is to miss the whole point.
Does it really matter which purse it’s carrying? Which type of mascara is trimming its eyes?
According to A Course in Miracles, the body was made by the ego in order to strive. It’s a wall we erected to make believe we’re separate from others. The linear body can only be one place at a time. It’s eyes can only see so far.
Putting it on a pedestal like we do is a mysterious case of mistaken identity.
We can pretend all we want to be these bodies we dress up like Barbie, whose pictures we post on Facebook.
But making your body the “thing” is a silly game that changes nothing at all.
Who you really are is a sacred being with no beginning and no end.
Let’s take Andy Mackie, a retired horse trainer. Andy’s body underwent nine heart surgeries. Doctors insisted that in order to survive, it needed 15 different medications.
Andy finally tired of listening to doctors and their limitations. So he took the $600 per month he normally spent on heart meds, and bought 300 harmonicas to give away to school kids. He fully expected it to be his final grand gesture.
When he didn’t die, he decided to do the same thing the next month. And the month after that. Wasn’t long before he forgot all about his body and the medical reports.
Rather, he got on with the business of honoring his multitudinous self. In the next 13 years, he gave out 18,000 harmonicas complete with lessons. In 2005, he even set a Guinness World record when he led 1706 harmonica players playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Andy got on with following the thing that made his heart pitter-pat. He gave up all pointless plans to protect his linear self, the packaging that, as I said, is only one small piece on the cosmic chess board.
So today I ask, which piece of your own ginormous chess board are you going to play? The limited slab of flesh that’s prey to guilt and ends in death? Or the wider eternal self that beholds, appreciates, loves and expands?
The linear self is kinda sweet. And it’s fine for taking out to dinner, posing for photos. Just never forget who you really are—a cosmic self that’s here to create the good, the kind and the beautiful.
Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.