The Paradox of the Conscious Body
By Van Nguyen
I composed this piece late one night after a sitting I did at my friend Jen's home. Jen had asked about the consciousness aspect of this awakening process. We didn't get to fully engage this conversation during the sitting, so while driving home I reflected upon what I'd want to communicate to her when we re-engaged our dialog. This informal essay emerged as a "conversation" or personal communication to her (and others) about the paradox of simultaneity and the embodied feeling-witness consciousness* from the body's point of view. Bear in mind that it is a working model I'm using that takes some "poetic liberties" to talk about reality-it is not intended to be a technical exposition of "dharmic strictness."
The body is Conscious. The whole body is Conscious of itself because it is Consciousness in embodiment.
The body is Conscious of itself as it is manifesting, moment to moment, in all of its varied and shifting states.
It is a great paradox, wherein who you are is both finite and infinite.
One way to verbally model this is as follows: You are both a finite "matter body" (a material body) and an infinite "Consciousness body" (an Is-ness body). You exist as both simultaneously; and the two bodies are inseparable and seamless paradoxically indivisible.
You are aware of yourself as the matter body because you are simultaneously also the Consciousness body. You are aware of yourself as the constantly changing matter body person via the Consciousness body. You are aware of the moment-to-moment shifting states of the matter body by way of moment-to-moment awareness.
The source of that moment-to-moment awareness is the Consciousness body, that you are.
In fact, if you feel into it, you are even aware of being "you." The sense you have of yourself, the sense of I-ness, the entire experiential bodily sense of "you" is an object arising in the ground field of awareness that is you as the infinite Consciousness body.
The Consciousness body is what feels, or registers, the matter body as it is happening, or shifting, moment to moment to moment.
Without the Consciousness body-the source-condition of your personal awareness-you wouldn't nor couldn't feel or register what is happening in you as the matter body.
The matter body is arising in (and is inseparable from) the Consciousness body.
You tend to identify as only or merely being the matter body. You think or feel that your personal awareness comes from or is "owned" by the matter body. Or to put it another way, you believe the matter body is the source of you awareness.
You forget or fail to notice that you are simultaneously the Consciousness body, too. You are aware of "you" because of the Consciousness body, not because of the matter body.
In the living context of awakened Being-transmission and adept help, by relaxing into, being with, and coinciding with the matter body as is, and by releasing or relaxing the "seeking mode" of your feeling and attention process, you discover the inherently inseparable Consciousness body, that you are. It is revealed to be obvious by grace.
The Consciousness body is limitless feeling-awareness, without center and without fixity. It feels and registers any and all states without being changed or colored in the process. It is moment-to-moment, free-feeling Conscious awareness.
Remember you are both the matter body and the Consciousness body simultaneously. They exist-you exist-in a seamless unity.
You can't understand this. You can only drop into the reality of this.
It requires accepting, surrendering to, or embracing the matter body, as it is, in a moment-to-moment way.
What is aware of or registering the matter body's stuff happening moment to moment? It is you as the Consciousness body. Conscious awareness. Primal feeling awareness. Primal feeling consciousness.
You as whole Being are both the matter body and the Consciousness body.
To be more precise and detailed, there is also the intermediary soul body which is both non-finite yet individuated. But to keep the model simple, you are the finite body and the infinite body. You are both local and infinite, moment to moment.
You are both limited and free simultaneously.
The freedom (of the Consciousness body) is an ultimate relief but it is not an immunity from the trials and tribulations of the physical matter body.
It is a great paradox. You are the Conscious body.
© June 18, 1998 Van Nguyen
A Brief Overview of the White Heat
The Paradox of the Conscious Body
Vanís Awakening Poem