All right, let’s start with the body.
The illusion of the self is not just simply coming from thoughts, but also from the belief that “I am the body” or “I have a body” or that this or that sensation is ‘me’ or the location of the ‘me’, or that this or that sensation is happening to ‘me’. So the thought label ‘this is me’ and the appearing sensations are welded together, creating the seeming ‘sense of self’.
Sit with eyes closed for about 15 minutes.
Paying attention only to the pure sensations, without relying on verbal or visual thoughts:
(I assume, except the last two questions, other exercises are with closed eyes)
Can it be known how tall the body is?
No, I couldn't experientially know how tall the body is at all.
Does the body have a weight or volume?
No, I couldn't experience a weight or volume of the body. Some actual sensations get labeled as "feeling heavy' by thoughts.
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?
No, I couldn't experience the shape of the body. When sensations were experienced there was no location to it at raw level. Then an image thought indicates which part of the body it is.
Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
No, a boundary could not be experienced, when sensations were experienced image thoughts arose showing it was the clothing touching the body and it was the boundary.
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?
No, a boundary between the body and the chair could not be experienced, sensations on the bottom were experienced and there was an image thought showing that it was the bottom and the chair surface and boundary.
Is there an inside or an outside?
No, Even though the sensations are experienced, their location can't be experienced as to inside or on the surface. There was no separation as inside or outside experientially.
If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?
There is no inside in actual experience. Only thoughts label it as inside my body
If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?
There is no outside in actual experience. Only thoughts label it as outside of my body
What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
The word label 'body' refers to sensations + thoughts (images and words).
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?
When I see in the mirror, the body is actually experienced as seeing a picture. When looking directly, only some part of the body is seen. Sounds from the body are experienced, thoughts label it as the sound of talking, breathing and sneezing. Sensations are experienced when touched with the hands. When washing hands, hands are seen, hands touched by each other and touch of water is experienced as sensations. When taking a shower, the sensations on the body is experienced and image thoughts arise about the body, word thoughts labels water is warm or cold.
When siting and typing, hands are seen, sensations are experienced, thoughts saying about fingers touching the keys, image of legs arise with other thoughts labeling it as vibrations.
When laying down on the bed, sensations are experienced and image thoughts give the feeling of one side of the body and the bed touching it.When walking, sensations are experienced and the image thoughts show that it is in the feet and wind blowing on the body.When eating, taste sensations are experienced. Thoughts label it as on the tongue.
Each time only a part of the body is actually experienced, I could not actually experience the whole body at any one time. Actual experience is supplemented with Image thoughts and labels giving the feeling of a whole body which is not a direct experience. Some other occasions when lot of other thoughts arise, the body is not experienced as such. It happened when driving.
Look very carefully, especially with the last question. Take your time, don’t rush. You can look several times during the day while doing other things (like washing hands, showering, having a short break from work, walking, etc) before replying.
Thank you for the exercise, it was helpful. I keep experiencing the body going on.