My God, My Body, and I

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The gates to the stars are the portals of my body. I shall not transcend my flesh. I shall journey through it into deeper holiness. There are worlds of angels in each atom. At the center of a proton, the boundless Christ. I need not be washed in the blood of the Lamb. I was washed in the blood of my mother’s womb. That is my salvation.

The sacred practices of all great wisdom traditions are techniques of incarnation. They do not erase the human body, they glorify it: the bread of the Christian Eucharist is the body of Christ; the tribal shaman draws divine energy from plants, animals and stones; Chi flows through the soles of the martial artist’s feet; the whirling dance of the Sufi is a body-prayer; Chakras blossom on the tree of the yogini’s spine; and the breath of Zen meditation is here, in the Hara, the belly.

A lantern’s light spreads beyond the lantern, yet the candle is essential. Without it, there is no center from which radiation can flow. The body is our wick, the mind is the flame around it, the spirit is the luminous aura that expands far beyond this brief candle.

Don’t snuff out the wick of your body. Light it! Breathe the aura of your body into the galaxies. Revel in the secret of divine humanity: The journey up is a journey down. The journey out to the heavens is a journey in to the heart, to the groin, to the soles of your feet, to the sacred dust. And the dust is made of stars!

This human form is the axis of creation, connecting earth and sky, water and light, Shiva and Shakti, Mary and Christ, Creator and the smallest pebble. Your body is the nexus of North, South, East, West, the cross on which God centers herself.

Be the temple where angels meet their animal guides, where celestial devas learn plant songs, where the Holy Spirit gleams through wish-granting gems from the heart of matter. Let your body be God.

Your eye is holy. Your nose is holy. Your lips and your tongue are holy. Your skin is holy. Your belly is holy. Your penis is holy. Your clitoris is holy. The sole of your foot is holy. And because your body is holy, the “I” tethered to it as the flame to a wick is holy too. Your “I” is as much a part of your incarnation as a finger or a nose. You no more need to destroy your ego than you need to annihilate your big toe. Don’t get rid of your “I”. Hug your “I”. Hug your “I” with divine love.

“I” is a vehicle for expressing the body’s radiance and negotiating its relationship to other forms. “I” directs and coordinates the flow of divine energy through your senses. “I” is your body’s antenna. You become truly happy, intimate and selfless not through denial of the “I”, but through cherishing the “I.” Cherishing the “I” of your body means embracing its limitations. As you embrace and forgive your own “I,” you can freely cherish the “I” of your beloved.

Yes, your “I” may be flawed and fallen, but because of this it can feel what others feel, breathe with a sighing stranger, resonate with rhythms of pain and joy. Because your “I” is a little wave in the ocean of awareness, it can dance with men and angels.

Your “I” finally understands that, in this ocean, all waves are the same water. “I” is a ripple in the vastness it cannot name. But this doesn’t mean your “I” must disappear! It means that “I” become a translucent cup floating in the sea of consciousness. “I” do not try to contain the sea, but allow myself to be useful, a tool for creative expression.

It is through the “I” that we enjoy the charm of creation, the charm of one becoming many for the sake of play.

Therefor rejoice in your body, delight in your “I,” so that you may rejoice in everybody, and delight in the Beloved. Selah.

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