The Body Prepares Us...

Saturday evening at dinner a friend recounted a conversation with his father in law at the end of his life. My friend asked how it felt to know the end was near and the response was: "It feels okay because the body prepares us for death."

This truth remains with me, my mind comes back to it in quiet moments especially on my mat where listening to my body is my purpose. I think of all the ways our bodies communicate: fear, intuition, attraction. I wonder about the signals I ignore, what my mind and environment overrides, or the times my mind struggles to determine the right action, when my body knows it deeply.

Through the practices of yoga we seek to awaken the buddhi, sometimes translated as the bodies' innate intelligence; wisdom beyond cognition. By tapping the buddhi we tune our senses and become more fully involved and in touch with our world and condition. David Abrams touches on the intelligence of the body beyond our intellectual understanding, in his book "The Spell of the Sensuous":

"...the boundaries of a living body are open and indeterminate; more like membranes than barriers, they define a surface of metamorphosis and exchange. The breathing, sensing body draws its sustenance and its very substance from the soils, plants and elements that surround it; it continually contributes itself, in turn, to the air, the composting earth... ceaselessly spreading out of itself as well as breathing the world into itself, so that it is very difficult to discern at any moment where this living body begins and where it ends. ... as we actually experience it and live it- the body is a creative, shape-shifting entity (pgs. 46-47)."

Possibly the body– it's innate intelligence, knows where it comes from; understands that we are not separate from our environment, and as we near death prepares us for it's dissolution.