Lately, in sirsasana, it’s easy to find the balance point where I feel… nothing. No up, no down, no side to side. Just nothing. No shoulders, no arms, no trunk, no legs. No body, basically. Nothing to adjust, nothing to fix.

It’s all very Heart Sutra: “no attainment with nothing to attain.”

So, in that moment, when I actually don’t feel my body, am I fully embodied, or totally disembodied?

I wondered about this today, just after my visit with Candice, Massage Therapist of the Steel Thumb Order. I *think* I felt her crushing the knots around my shoulder blades, but somehow I was floating outside the experience. Or floating inside it, maybe.

What’s the difference between embodied and disembodied?

Yes, I know this is just like asking a zen question about same and different — the answer is to just be in the experience. What matter does it make, how I conceptualize like and unlike, whether I am embodied or disembodied? Just words added to an experience, just extraneous conceptualization, just “painting legs on a snake.”

I know.

But it’s fun to think about.


Lunch with Sanskrit Scholar. She’s a force of nature.

There’s nothing better than seeing someone create (and take responsibility for) their own reality.

I went on and on about Matthew Sweeney’s workshop. How can I still have things to say about that? 😉 I’m not repeating myself, either — there just seems to be more and more to the experience, the deeper I dig.

And yet, not unlike a fully dis/embodied sirsasana, it all just comes back around to doing it. To practicing and practicing and putting everything else down.


5 Responses

  1. Excellent post.

    “What’s the difference between embodied and disembodied?” Karen, there is no outer or inner existence of anything. Maybe I am just impatient with this statement but let see if you are ready for the major leap in understanding. You are able to “Feel Nothing” only if you are able to see the sacred Sun and to hear the sacred Sound. So let speak about those things.

    Practicality, the first thing.

    Disembodiment: Just before sleep, sometimes, you “see” the Sun. It shines just between your eyebrows. That is the Sun of Intelligence, it is the Third Eye. The Sun’s rays are the Nectar of Immortality. That is not a physical eye. When you see that Sun you are under the Grace of your Self. It is your “Eye of Knowledge”. When you “use it” you are “seeing” the Formless Existence, better known as Purusha. (Yes Cody, Purusha can be “seen”.) When you “use” your Third Eye the visible world disappears. “No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.” Nothing else should be told here.

    So, from where does this visible world come?

    Embodiment: The visible world comes from the Force of Habit. (as you mentioned couple posts ago). But, let explain it. The world comes from Illusion of “I”. The world has its roots in the most subtle notion (or concept) of separateness – the buzzing sound of OM. You have heard that sound! That sacred Sound is soundless sound. It is just as buzzing of 1000 bees or just like humming of low-frequency electric engine. That sound is the greatest of all diseases, some call it the disease of worldliness.

    In meditation, listen that sound carefully. Realize that it is the Sound that produces “you” – the center of observation – “you” as the observer. The Sound comes from “world” of Imagination (dream or disconnected fragments of images, stories and feelings of ancient humanities). There is no Time, all happens NOW. Now, “I” is created by feeling of separateness (of observer and observed). “I” first, then Body, then World and then Embodiment.

    Embodiment and disembodiment happens “at the same time” but what that means when there is no time?

  2. Hi Karen
    Interesting correlation between Zen and ashtanga practice. I wonder what would happen if whe said, “there is nothing to attain” with respect to our yoga practice. Our first attempt would be to stop ourselves and say, “but wait, I haven’t gotten to _______ yet”. On the other hand, if we took the attitude of there not being anything to attain with respect to the yoga practice, we might reach a comfort and surrender level, a better level of our somatic energy that would allow us to actually progress and actually get that next pose.

  3. *IN* the practice, though, right there in the midst of it — without thinking/conceptualizing/pursuing — there is the nothing to attain.

    It’s in the practicing. Not in thinking about it, saying anything about it, or critiquing it.

    All that other stuff we do (thinking, writing, saying, planning, philosophizing) is fine. But it’s beside the point.

  4. You still holding to backbends like a blind man hold his stick. Hmm. It’s ok, your choice. I’m obligated to inform you… this is given to you (in my morning meditation when I enquired about you). I don’t know what this is, I did not read it. Maybe, you should.

    Good Bye Karen.

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