I posted this recently via my various social media accounts:
An embodied spirituality recognizes the value of the material world and celebrates it and experiences as an inherent part of a person’s spiritual evolution. When the body is discarded as dirty or something to be left behind, and desires are perceived as unacceptable or attachments that hold us back, the person loses an essential perspective that is necessary for genuine transformation. The body, desires, etc, ground us and provide a way to experience the immediacy of a situation and learn from it. The body is not a shackle…it is part of our liberation.
Recent conversations I’ve had around enlightenment as well as a continued practice of Tantric philosophy and spirituality prompted this observation. I genuinely believe that the body is an essential part of human spirituality and that the denial of it is a dysfunction brought about for reasons that are related to either over population or to a fixation on an ultimate reward that involves transcending the body.
A better approach would be to recognize the role of the body as a mediator of physical existence and spiritual identity. Additionally, people who take this perspective would also carefully consider the consequences their choices have on the environment and each other and thus would question consumerism and explore what it means to have enough vs what it means to live in excess.
True liberation isn’t found in deprivation or excess but in a balanced perspective that celebrates the glory of life while also cultivating it for future generations. Thus tending your own garden where you grow food is a spiritual and practical activity. It teaches you the value of cultivating life, the recognition of death as a transformative agent that is also part of evolution, and the necessity of using resources wisely instead of wasting them.
Your body is part of your liberation, and the sensual experiences it provides is a part of that process, but equally as important is learning how to take care of yourself. Thus exercise is just as liberating as any other activity, and eating a healthy diet is important for cultivating your life. These activities can be just as spiritual as meditation provided we apply a mindful awareness to them.
A desire can be liberating both for the experience of it and the choice to not experience it. Longing is as much a celebration of desire as is the experience of the desire, and longing can teach patience but also liberation in terms of recognizing the true value of a given desire. The experience of desire can be a liberating experience provided we know how to enjoy it without allowing it to enslave us. Thus the need for balance and consideration of the body as a spiritual teacher which allows us to embody our desires but also uses them to teach us from experience how best to truly find liberation in our experiences and in our choices to sometimes delay having the experience to know its true value.