When we are spiritually alive to the joy of this body, we are alive to the body politic. Each breath connects us to the atmosphere of the planet. Each tear is a measure of the ocean’s health: we weep when the water is not pure. Each tree cut down needlessly is a nerve in our body. Our bones feel the harrowing of coal and copper from mines. Without abstract theories or statistics, the body teaches us to conserve and cherish the earth’s resources. In every sensation we learn what ideology can never convey: to dwell in this body is a political act.
The level of body-awareness in most Americans can be described as numbness. Most of us are as disassociated from this body in our waking life as we are in our sleep. Our attention is primarily with thoughts in the mind, not sensations in the body. Mental images of the past and future mesmerize us. Deadlines drain our joy and empty the present moment of significance. Unconscious of the air in our nostrils, the soil at our feet, the breeze on our cheeks, or the song of a bird, we function on auto-pilot. Busily multi-tasking in our thoughts, we haven’t the slightest clue what is actually happening right here, right now, on earth. We cannot see reality: only the reflection of reality in the mirror of our thoughts.
Mindfulness of the body is a political act because it is a rebellion against this consumer hypnosis. When we are truly awake in every cell, corporate propaganda can no longer find room in our brains, manipulating our fears and addictions. This is the beginning of freedom.
Just breathing is joyful, a glass of water is thrilling, the touch of earth beneath our feet is ecstatic. Our addictions diminish. We no longer need to consume expensive food, waste money on trendy clothes, dull our nerves with loud entertainment, drink an excess of wine, or cruise the mall searching for the momentary thrill of a purchase. Conscious sensation is never addictive: it diffuses the power of addiction by weakening the force of desire in the mind. The truth is, we are addicted to our desires, not to our sensations.
Can we take responsibility for the world in our bodies? Can we sense the ecology of the whole earth in the quality of a raindrop on the tip of a twig in our own back yard? Then we will be citizens of the Kingdom, "on earth as it is in heaven."