The Wisdom of the Flesh

I almost died today. Which got me thinking.

If we became human, through ages of evolution, following the call of our bodies, as wild beings, than what have we lost by relegating the body to notions of “base animal natures”, “primitive urges”, “the weakness of the flesh”?

What if most of our confusion stems from our thorough cultural conditioning in ignoring the wisdom of the flesh?

When I feel cold, and I resist it, I feel colder. By ignoring the message of the cold, and its insistent song, I create my own suffering. When I stay in my body, and feel the cold completely, it releases me.

I’ve had the same experience in conversation with other human beings. When someone feel angry, but I think they “shouldn’t”, the crisis swells, but when I say “ok, absolutely, you feel angry”, and I accept it, the crisis de-escalates and disappears.

One denies the flesh (while fleeing to a mental world of what “should” happen), the other embraces the flesh, the living reality at hand.

I almost got hit by an SUV today; in the driving rain, after sundown, dressed in dark clothes, I walked across a crosswalk. I have a philosophy, that the world only wants me to pay attention, to notice and honor its wildness, and in return it will always take care of me. So, with my vision spread wide, I noticed coming up from behind me an SUV with blinding headlights racing for my right side. With a bunny-hop I stepped out of the way, and it screetched to a halt after jerking a little past where I had stood a moment before.

I couldn’t see the driver, but the passenger, an old white woman, stared wide-eyed at me through the rain-smeared window. I could feel my heart racing, my adrenaline singing. The car continued on, I crossed to the far sidewalk, and I felt a swirl of voices in my head. They wanted to know who to blame, what to do, who did what wrong, to point fingers, to shame.

And I realized, that nothing wrong had happened – one person could not see another in the rain, nothing more. In a culture free of insanity, my death would have indebted the driver to my family in some fashion. We don’t live in that culture; in any case I felt happy because the universe told me:

Even though I don’t always say so, you make me happy when you pay attention. Accept this little goose in the rear as a token of my gratitude.

Imagine the madness of resisting the need to pay attention, because “drivers should just watch out for pedestrians”. In this case, it could have caused my own death or horrible injury. But I don’t think drivers should just watch out, because I know sometimes they don’t. Simple.

When you live in “the Flesh”, honoring the gods of the Flesh with your care and sensitivity, this becomes an everyday occurrence. Living in the hands of the gods starts to feel a lot like an embrace.

Written by Willem