We think of our bodies as solid, reliable and more-or-less permanent entities. My body corresponds most intimately with my sense of “me,” my identity. If it shows signs of change or instability, I respond with alarm and wish to restore the earlier equilibrium.
Are our bodies as permanent and stable as we think they are? Close attention shows that my body state changes quite rapidly, and overall it seems more fluid rather than solid and rigid. Different parts are in flux, and there are quick fluctuations in sensation: pain, relief, tingling, hunger, thirst, bursts of energy and lethargy. My body twitches and moves involuntarily, minutely; muscular changes, almost imperceptible, ripple through it. In other words, at a moment to moment level, my body is as subject to the law of impermanence as anything else. And all of this occurs in daily life, not during a health crisis.
We may conceive of meditation as a “cerebral” activity, but the fact is that it is an embodied activity as well. It is as much to do with an awareness of bodily states as of mental states. Indeed, as we deeply examine ourselves, there seems no fixed line between what is physical and what is mental.
Body and mind seem part of one single grand unfolding of energy, which we can be aware of as it manifests and dies away.