Joseph Campbell relates this story about a young student of Buddhism:
The young student said to his master, “Am I in possession of Buddha consciousness? The master said, “No.”
The student said, “Well, I’ve been told that all things are in the possession of Buddha consciousness. The rocks, the trees, the butterflies, the birds, the animals, all beings.”
The master said, “You are correct. All things are in possession of Buddha consciousness. The rocks, the trees, the butterflies, the bees, the birds, the animals, all beings—but not you.”
“Not me? Why not?”
“Because you are asking the question.”
When we live “up” in our heads we will not find the answers to our spiritual queries. Living in the head takes us out of our Being, out of relationship to our body. We live in a world that for centuries has glorified the head, the intellect, and denigrated the body and heart.
We can never find our True Self by asking questions from our head. This very act separates us from being in our body. Our body has it’s own language, it’s own way of knowing and relating to the world. There will always be something missing if we look to our head alone for answers to life’s great questions.
Many years ago I was approached by a well-regarded Buddhist monk who told me he was well versed in Buddhist teachings. His many students could count on him to recall whatever sacred text was needed. He shared with me that something was still missing. He intuitively knew that his relationship with his body was the problem. This awareness opened the door for us to work on awakening into his embodied soul.
He, as with the rest of our world, had developed a view of the body as secondary to that of the intellect. This is very evident in the way our language exalts the word “head” as in “getting ahead,” “head of the class,” “headquarters,” “heads up,” “headmaster,” “level headed,” “you have a swelled head,” etc.
We also see this with the word “up.” Our head is up on top our body. When we say “things are looking up,” or, “I’m getting up,” or, “I’m moving up in life,” heaven is “up,” hell is “down.” When we are “down” things are bad. Anything below our belts, or “down there,” is suspect and to be avoided or is shameful.
See how many examples you can think of using these words. Look at how our very language has come to direct us away from moving our conscious awareness “down” into our body as though something evil is lurking there.
Our intellect might go so far as to treat our body as it would a detached machine to be “used” by the mind. Our intellect tells us to “take care of your body” and “listen to your body” as though it were the one in charge. It treats the body as a separate and subserviant object just like we do our cars.
We can discover “heaven on earth” if we will only reclaim our body, our senses, our embodied souls. There are a growing number of spiritual teachers and students re-discovering where “Being” is found. Down is becoming the new up.
”Being” is not found in or through the intellect or head. It is found through a visceral awareness of our body using our senses. It is found in the stillness we drop into through our bodies without looking or trying to do so which requires the intellect.
Because the student at the beginning of this reflection was “asking” or “doing” the master knew the student’s intellect disconnected him from the true experience of Being, of his True Self. The student was putting his intellect in charge which prevented him from discovering his Buddha nature.
Our intellect is likened to the Male, or Yang nature of our True Self. It uses reasoning, abstract thinking, and concepts which freeze the flow of the moment into a static idea or label. Our belly and heart are part of our Being Center where deep knowing and integration happens. Presence is found by dropping into Being found in the pelvic bowl. This is where we rediscover the Divine Feminine, the Yin. Only when Yin and Yang live in harmony will we discover our True Self.
There is no “up” without “down” just as there is no “feminine” without “masculine.” If we are to awaken fully into our soul we must change our conscious and subconscious attitudes towards up and down and treat them as equals.
Lao Tzu tells us this in no uncertain terms: “Know the male, but adhere to the female.”