In part 4 we talked about approaches that dealt with suffering at the mental and emotional level, though, in honesty, the mental body is the only place that experiences suffering. The physical body only really experiences physical sensations like pain and pleasure. Sometimes this is exacerbated or complicated or drawn out over time by suffering, but the body doesn’t really suffer. The emotional body, is simply aware of sensation arising. It doesn’t label or cling to those sensations. The energetic body just experiences constriction or expansion. There are no sensations associated with this. It is simply the case that more or less love or consciousness is flowing through that energy body at any given moment.

It is the mental body where stories coalesce around sensations that we’ve labeled and judged and claimed as part of us. It is the mental body that editorializes those sensations and makes them fair or unfair, threatening or ego-sustaining. It is possible to come fully awake and recognize that we are not what we thought we were. We are not individual and separate identities, but rather a part of a continuous and all encompassing whole. In these moments we remember that we are the ocean, not the temporary wave form with a name and a unique history and a position to defend. It is also possible that after years of allowing that experience of awareness to fully settle in, we may find that while life is still going on and we are still experiencing the constrictions and expansions of energy that show up as felt bodily sensations, we are not experiencing suffering arising, nor are we converting that suffering into tension and stress and a physical clench to be felt in the physical body.

But even for such “enlightened” individuals, energy work might still be highly useful and feel very rewarding, meditation might still bring mindfulness to the felt bodily sensations that continue to arise, and physical work, like cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise, and yoga, tai-chi, or chi-gong along with breath work and eating mindfully to balance the body would all offer better support to the manifest form of our physical bodies.