The Body Centric Individuality

Perspectives and Viewpoints

by Jayaram V

Your body is your immediate world and your first home until you leave this world. It is also your ultimate sanctuary. You may temporarily escape from it or forget about it, but you cannot leave it and enter another body, at least for now.

Your self-esteem and your relationships with other, even your success and failure in your life, depend upon how you think you look and how comfortable you are in your own body. If you are not happy with yourself, you may vicariously assume another person's identity, as many people do, but in the end it will only increase your unhappiness.

You must learn to accept and feel comfortable with whatever physique life has given to you, because there are limitations to what you can do about it. However, you can improve what resides in it, which is you or your personality, behavior, thinking and attitude. Deeper still is your soul, untouched by all of it. A cheerful and pleasant personality can greatly compensate for any deficiency you may experience in physical appearance. You are the sum of many things, a wholesome being, even if some parts are missing. Therefore, fix what you can and accept what you cannot.

Your body serves you well in creating your identity and individuality to distinguish yourself in the world. However, it usually does not end there. In worldly life, people create further identities and distinction by their actions, possessions, relationships, and achievements. The desire to be different, distinct and recognized goes on until the end, even in such matters as how one wants to die, or how one should be buried or cremated.

In spiritual life, one is taught to overcome attachment to name and form and assume spiritual identity. However many do not succeed in that. They feel special about their spirituality and take pride and comfort in the distinction that arises from their spiritual identity and the sanctity associated with it. They may enhance it further by wearing special robes or distinct marks on their bodies, developing proximity to spiritual masters and influential people. They may also succeed in winning the approval and acceptance of many.

However, are they any different from the worldly people who are attached to their names, looks, and things that enhance them? One is motivated by worldly desires and the other by spiritual desire to be better and to be different. Both want to stand out and impress the world. When religion and spirituality become tools to extend your individuality, know that you have brought upon yourself more karmic burden.

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