Too many bodies!


Aaaaaa!  Dr Manhattan can’t understand why his girlfriend would want one of him but not two. It only gets worse as she finds the rest of him. Unfortunately the movie is not available for my picture taking yet, so the comic shall do.

Much as I tend to sympathize with Dr Manhattan, my problem is somewhat different. It is with the supposedly non-fiction book I’m making my way through these days, Integral Life Practices. I have finally made my way through the Mind module; it was quite long, as could be expected since the book was overseen by Ken Wilber, and the AQAL theory is his gift to the world. Then I came to the Body module. I expected various smart training techniques, but the first thing that happened was that I was told I had 3 bodies.

Oooo-kay. Uhm, I seem to have 3 bodies all of a sudden.

Now, before we consign our new friends to the loony bin, there is a question we need to ask ourselves. Do we ever dream lucid dreams? Not as in dreaming about Lucy, although I suppose that could happen too, but dreams in which we know we are dreaming and yet we keep doing it. I know I have done that, but only a few times and not for long. I have not specifically sought it out, to be honest, because I like to have some time off and my dreams are definitely “off”. I am known to do things in them that I would not dream about doing in waking life.

Some otherwise normal people do some lucid dreaming, however. And people who have greatly expanded their awareness through years of meditation can, from what I understood, not really avoid being conscious even if they happen to dream. Or even, eventually, during deep dreamless sleep. I have only once, by accident, been down there with my awareness. It’s a pretty weird place. Anyway! When you are dreaming, you seem to have a body. Evidently this is the “subtle body” which is your second body. And then there is the even more subtle “causal body” made of stillness, which you have during deep sleep. So that’s the excuse. I guess it makes sense, for sufficiently obscure translations of “body”.

Regular readers of the Chaos Node may notice that the three bodies seem to map fairly well to my concepts of body, soul (psyche) and spirit. I suppose the concept of them all as bodies may be for the purpose of combining them, as the rest of the chapter does. As can be expected of an integral practice, their recommended exercises combine all three: Infusing physical exercise with the energy and feeling of the psyche and the witnessing presence of the human spirit. More exactly, each exercise starts out with “grounding” in the witnessing presence, then doing energy-raising exercises, then the actual strength training, then a cooldown and finally a repeat focus on the witnessing presence.

More weird English: The typical way of invoking the witnessing presence is to “Notice the such-ness and is-ness of this and every moment.” I assume this is translated from Sanskrit or Pali or some such, it is certainly not English. Although I suppose the German noun “Dasein” may have inspired one of the phrases. (Not to be confused with Dasien, an online comic superheroine who has never suffered from Wilberitis.)

More about this later, probably, if my own body / bodies hold up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *