Mandala by Hildegard of Bingen, 12th C.
The mind cannot liberate itself. Liberation requires the grace of the body.
In the final vision of Dante's Paradise, Canto 33, at the radiant center of the divine essence, the poet beholds the archetype of the human body:
O everlasting Light, you dwell aloneThus in First Corinthians 6:20, Paul the Apostle writes, "Glorify God in your body."
in yourself, know yourself alone, and known
and knowing, love and smile upon yourself!
That central circle which appeared in you
to be conceived as a reflected light,
after my eye had studied it awhile,
within itself and in its coloring
seemed to be illumined with our human likeness...
If we did not have this body, we would be hopelessly trapped in the whirlwind of our thoughts, like the disembodied souls in Dante's purgatory, driven by every gust of desire and habit. Our thoughts would be magnified into worlds from which we would have no escape. Would you want to be swept away in the phantasms of your mind?
Thanks to our body, we become aware of this breath, this sensation in the physical energy field, this warmth in the heart, and gently shift out of our mind. The body is our ticket to liberation.
When we step out of the stream of thought, onto the solid ground of flesh and bone, in the fresh air of breathing, we have the freedom to become aware of Awareness, which is the field where our atoms dance.
For over three thousand years our civilization has been crippled by the hierarchical dominance of "mind over body." This doubtless produced some useful inventions, but it also took a brutal toll, establishing a culture of intellectuals, technocrats and imperial patriarchs who exploited earth's resources in the service of ideology and dogma.
Now we unfold a whole new cycle in the spiral of evolution. We no longer ascend a stairway from the body to mind to Spirit; we walk a barefoot forest path from mind to body to Awareness.
Let us awaken by transcending the bondage of thought. Let us awaken through the sensation of subtler energy fields in our sacred flesh. Then, in Jesus words, "the whole body is filled with light" (Matthew 6:22).
Our physiology is the landscape of consciousness.