Is the body the scene of all our experiences?

Commentary by Miguel Quintana, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden.

The reality we experience is fundamentally related to that to which we pay attention. The body is a point of reference for everything we experience. It is in the body where the present moment is experienced. Through the organs of the senses, we feel the present through our skin, we taste its flavour, we listen to its silence, we see how profound and unfathomable its mystery is; we only savour these things here and now. We cannot create a past or future sensory experience. The experience that unfolds through our senses is closely linked to the present, which is the body.

It is in the present moment, where the body is felt and experienced, it is only possible here and now. It is in the body, as a reference point for the life of a human being, where experiences take place that combine the emotional with the mental and transcendent. The sentient body is experienced in a natural organic way. The thread of our breathing is the mechanism in our bodies that allows us to be connected with the here and now. Breathing is the thread that links the experience we feel, from moment to moment, with the place where the present unfolds.

The emotional body is the one where the emotions of the experience we have had are felt in a harmonious, non-disruptive way, without attachment or denial.

The emotionally functional body harmoniously crystallises the experience of the here and now. It is free of extreme emotions that snatch us away from the present moment, it is like living in a state of affectionate detachment, without identifying ourselves with the emotions of the present experience. In this emotional body, which is dispassionately affectionate, there is no attachment to pleasure, nor any denial of what it dislikes; it accepts what there is, just as it is, without challenging it, without seeking to classify it on the basis of the categories the mind establishes in relation to what “I like”, and what “I dislike.” Finally, the spiritual body, may very well seem like a binomial that is unquestionably antagonistic. It may be acknowledged that we are spiritual beings living a physical experience, a corporeal existence. The experience of physical consciousness is an experience of coming together and not separation, of meeting in a non-place in a non-time. A non-place inhabited timelessly by a pure consciousness in which the boundaries of body and consciousness become blurred and a profound quietening of the mind and emotions takes place, the outline of the shape is lost and a nothingness remains that is unknown and impenetrable to light.

Miguel Quintana, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Department of Clinical Neurosciences. Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.