THE STAR-DUST BODY

Mike Kewley Blog Post

Stop acting so small.
You are the universe
in ecstatic motion.
– Rumi.

Why do we practice Mindfulness? If our aim is to live more fully in the present moment then there is a surprisingly simple way to achieve this: be in your body, because your body has never left the present moment. The mind drags us into an apparent past and future, but does your body? Has your body ever physicallywandered into the past? Has your body ever physically stepped into the future?

The body is always here and now because sensation is a present moment phenomenon. So if we want to experience ourselves without the energy-sapping baggage of the past and the life-stealing anticipation of the future, we must rediscover the depths of our physicality and come home to the body.

But the body is not what it seems, and when we dive into this field of sensation with silent awareness, we find that it lacks the solidity, fixidity and permanence promised by the mind. We make the extraordinary discovery that this body is in fact a seamless flow of fizzing, bubbling aliveness.

It is a non-stop river of Now.

Here, merged with our real-time sensations, there are no stories about the past, present or future. Sensation simply is, it is pure being, fresh life, new cosmos, effortlessly flowing.

Through this discovery the belief that the body is “mine” can also fall away, now seen as just another mind-made story to help manage the sheer power and flow of this chaotic life-stream. Actually, this body is not ours. We do not control it at all.

This body is organic matter and it only does one thing. It is made from earth and will at some point return to the earth. The cold hard fact of its death may be shocking to the mind, but this is the reality of all bodies. They are designed to be born, grow and die. Their ultimate destiny is to return.

Are we in control of this process? Can we stop or reverse it? Did we need to teach the body how to be born, grow or decompose? No. The process of aliveness happens without our consent and will end without our consent. This body goes its own way and travels its own path. In fact, this body is just another fleeting phase in the infinite journey of matter, from star-dust to human being and beyond.

By coming home to this body and soaking it in intimate awareness it begins to reveal its precious star-dust wisdom: We do not stand apart from life in the way we believe. We are not separate fragments but merged in each moment with the total throb of life itself.

There is no wall between the earth and this body, we are literally made from this planet, sustained (even now) by this planet, and will at some point be absorbed back into this planet.

Where is separation to be found?

The fact is that the planet makes you. You are walking, talking earth.

To perceive ourselves as genuinely separate from life is detrimental to our mental and emotional health and creates a sense of lack, apathy and loss which we try to manage through a culture of avoidance, materialism and bland entertainment.

And this has dangerous consequences. Feeling alienated from life promotes a lack of care and this has a direct effect upon how we relate, not only towards each other, but to our environment. We are destroying our planet (its interconnected systems) simply because we do not feel its kinship.

Our steadfast belief that we are entirely separate from nature is a form of extremism, and the tunnel-vision it produces is responsible for the environmental destruction we see all around us. But it’s also at the root of the fear we experience on a daily basis. How could we feel safe, content and at ease, when we view ourselves as mere fragments, at the mercy of an unrelenting alien world?

The more isolated we feel the more we try to protect ourselves through wars (both inner and outer), materialism and “feeling good.” But which war, object or feeling has so far resulted in an unshakeable sense of happiness, calm and security? Even if we were to achieve these things, where are we? Back where we started, in an organic body destined to return to the very planet we are blindly destroying.

Such dysfunction is a direct consequence of identifying with the mind as who and what we are. The mind is a story-teller and no story (however detailed or convincing) can show us the entire whole. It can give us news flashes, movies, beliefs, memories and insights but it cannot offer the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The mind is fragmentary and when we invest our identity in it, we experience ourselves as lacking, limited and small.

What can offer an experience of truth? This body which is a natural source of wellbeing, freedom and ease. It lives, not in abstract stories, but direct experience.

Reflect; Do your hands regret? Do your muscles plan for the future? Do your limbs experience existential dread? Do your feet seek enlightenment? Does sensation itself fear death?

The body has no such projections. It’s simply a sparkling field of presence. It knows how to be born, grow and die. It knows how to laugh, grieve and cry. It knows how to come into life and return to death. It knows how to be human, animal, plant, earth and star-dust.

This body is freedom because sensation is already liberated the instant it arises. It has never stood apart from sounds, thoughts, emotions, sensations, sights and smells, but is made from sounds, thoughts, emotions, sensations, sights and smells. This ordinary body we spend a life-time trying to escape is in fact the Universal Flow: the river of life, bubbling, swirling, splashing.

The truth is that your body has never been lost, it is always here and now as radiant presence. Your body has never been small, it contains the whole cosmos. Your body has never been separate, the entire universe flows through it. Your body has never been your body, it is life’s body, god’s body, the divine body, shimmering with existence.

Drop into its ecstatic motion and merge with it.