One gentle sensation of breath, caressing the alveoli and the heart, can liberate this anxious mind. One inhalation may bring boundless peace. All that is required is this body, and a little awareness. This is why I have received the gift of breathing.
And in an instant, one electric stroke of fur or flesh can silence my haughty intellect, puffed up with argument and ideology. This is why I receive the gift of sensation. I welcome the sacraments of light, sound, smell, taste.
Imagine being trapped in this mind, stuck in concepts and beliefs for thousands of years without a body! That is just what happens to the hell-bound, the hungry ghosts, and demigods. That is all they are: beings like me trapped in a mind without a body.
Myriad disincarnate souls yearn for this human form, in order to attain liberation through the kiss of awareness and sensation. Out of billions, I get the opportunity to be born on earth. What an honor!
Here is a chalice of the finest wine. No, a mouthful of pear nectar will do, or a single berry on the tongue. And if I am truly awake, even a sip of pure water is a magical sacrament.
Shakespeare wrote, "Eternity was in our lips and eyes." Zen Master Dogen said, "Those who gained enlightenment by seeing blossoms or hearing sounds, achieved it through the body." Rumi sang, "Forget every touch and every sound that did not teach you how to dance!" And what did Jesus gently tell his disciples? "Take, eat, this is my body."
The secret of salvation is not a belief but a sacred meal, not knowledge but a kiss. The original sin? To think about living on earth instead of touching the ground with our feet...
Most of my life I lived in the next room, separated from the radiance of the world by a thin gray wall of thought. I didn't dwell on the earth, but in my abstraction of the earth, my mental soliloquy. Then I got saved by the grace of a blueberry crushed between my lips.
I remembered what it was like when I was a child, when I swam as a body of light in a sea of light. Then the flavors of the earth burst through the haze of conceptual thinking. I stripped off the armor of names and let the Nameless caress my nakedness. I felt the unction of soil on my soles.
Flesh is not the obstacle to Spirit. What binds me is the chain of my ideas, the manacle of my abstractions. This body is the savior who has come to deliver me from the prison of my mind.
Heaven is a dandelion brushing my cheek, inviting my feet to dance on the soil. I know without thinking that the one who created me has become this breath, so that I may make an offering.