Wallis on attachment to the body

Christopher Wallis, Tantra Illuminated, 94: Our identification with the body is expressed in many thoughts or statements like “I am fat,” I am thin,” I am young,” I am old,” I am pretty,” “I am ugly,” and so on.  Thoughts such as these indicated a belief that your identity is defined by your physicality.  If you are identified with the body to the exclusion of the deeper layers of your being, then you will necessarily base your self-worth on your own and others’ opinions of your body.  In this case, you are definitely setting yourself up for suffering, for the one universal truth of the body is that it will break down, age, decay, and die.  If you believe you are this body and nothing more, that truth is terrifying.  In ancient Indian tradition, yogis would contemplate the impermanence of the body by going to cremation grounds and practicing open-eyed meditation, gazing at the burning bodies for days or weeks on end.  This was a powerful way to get the truth of mortality through their heads, and it resulted in decreased attachment to the body and an increased sense of the preciousness of life.

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