If you've been on a spiritual path, then it is likely that at some point somewhere you heard "You are NOT your body". It might have felt good to finally be told that the pain, the discomfort, and the body memories that confronted you from time-to-time weren't the "real you".
When we become addicted to avoiding our humanity, our messy emotions, and our tormented bodies, we begin to disassociate from the reality around us and soon, we begin to disassociate from the struggles and sorrows of our human experience as we find an artificial refuge in an imaginary world devoid of compassion, kindness, and empathy for ourselves and for others.
Perhaps for the very first time, you gave yourself permission to not feel your body, perhaps that felt liberating, soothing, and perhaps even pleasant.
Perhaps later, you found wellness and spiritual practices that reinforced this perspective.
Perhaps you found deep peace in escaping the struggles of your body, the torments of your mind, and the overwhelming emotions you had wished for so long to escape.
Perhaps you were distracted from your body for so long that you felt "healed".
It is human nature to seek to avoid pain; it is no surprise then that most of us rather escape our pain than sit with it. But "escape" is not a spiritual word so we call it "transcendence" to feel better about abandoning our bodies in search of feeling good.
Whether we find our escape and relief at the bottom of a whisky bottle, a smoke of cannabis, or peak experiences that transcend our bodies and earthy realities, the realities remain the same; sooner or later we must FEEL them to HEAL them.
The desire to escape is universal in all humans and nearly all of us at some point feel the need to tune out and take a break from the challenges of our bodies and realities. Some of us find our escape in transcendental meditation, kundalini yoga, and plant medicines while others turn to classic numbing agents like alcohol and substances. Judgment is futile for escaping from our pain is a normal short-term human response and at times perhaps even required for survival.
The medicine isn’t the “what”, it is the “how” and the “why”. Our intention and approach defines the distinction; are we escaping or are we healing?
It is when we become dependent on escapism from our bodies that we disconnect from the very essence of our humanity. Our struggles grow our capacity for compassion. When we become addicted to avoiding our humanity, our messy emotions, and our tormented bodies, we begin to disassociate from the reality around us and soon, we begin to disassociate from the struggles and sorrows of our human experience as we find an artificial refuge in an imaginary world devoid of compassion, kindness, and empathy for ourselves and for others.
Disassociation is NOT healing. Disassociation is NOT spiritual. Healing happens IN THE BODY. Humanity happens IN THE BODY.
Nothing in creation is a mistake and surely our exquisitely complex bodies are not a mistake. Us being born in these bodies isn't a mistake. In fact, much of the relief and medicine we seek outside of our bodies is indeed hidden deep within these messy earthly bodies.
So the next time someone suggests "You are NOT your body", smile and kindly correct them "I am not JUST my body but I am wholly fully owning and living in this earthly human body."!