‘The Body Is Only Energy’

In The Ease of Being, a student asks the teacher Advaita Vedanta teacher Jean Klein: “If the body we see is not our real body, what is” (my emphasis)?

He replies, “The body [the subtle body] is only energy. The moment there is tension, the moment there is reaction, this energy becomes static, fixed as a form of defense. Awareness dissolves this fixation.”

He’s right.

1. Begin by investigating your understanding of the body. In the broadest sense, we can say that the body is the apparent localization of “me.” More specifically, the body appears to be an ensemble of (a) concepts, (b) percepts, and (c) sensations, all of which serve to localize a “sense of me.”

2. In order to investigate this localization of a “sense of me,” we can let all of our concepts, or labels, go: that is to say, all the “names” in “names-and-forms.”

3. Next, we can let dissolve all of the percepts (or “forms”): seeing an arm object, touching a knee object, and so on. After all, is there a direct experience of a physical body in the absence of sensing?

4. Then what remains? Only sensations. We turn inward and observe very carefully these sensations, only to quickly discover that, yes, “[t]he body is only energy.”

5. Jean Klein often invites us to see where there is tension “inside” the body. Anywhere there is tension implies that here the energy is “static.” His upadesa (spiritual instruction), at this point, ordinarily involves not fixating on this static energy but rather allowing open, moving energy “in other parts of the body” to expand so that it merges with, or washes cleanly over, this “static” part.

6. Soon enough the entire body is only fluid energy. This can feel like humming or subtle vibration.

7. But this humming too must be investigated. After all, awareness is that which is aware of humming energy. But I am awareness, not subtle energy. Being awareness cognizantly, I rest in genuine, abiding peace. In this way, it becomes clear that there is no body and thus no localization of “me.”