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Chapter 21 - The intelligence of the body will guard its own well-being
The flowering of goodness is the release of our total energy. It is not the control or suppression of energy but rather the total freedom of this vast energy. It is limited, narrowed down by thought, by the fragmentation of our senses. Thought itself is this energy manipulating itself into a narrow groove, a centre of the self. The flowering of goodness can be only when energy is free. Thought by its very nature has limited this energy, and so the fragmentation of the senses takes place. Hence there are the senses, sensations, desires and the images that thought creates out of desire. All this is a fragmentation of energy. Can this limited movement be aware of itself? That is, can the senses be aware of themselves? Can desire see itself arising out of the senses, out of the sensation of the image that thought has created; and can thought be aware of itself, of its movement? All this implies: can the whole physical body be aware of itself?
We live by our senses. One of them is usually dominant: the listening, the seeing, the tasting seem to be separate from each other; but is this a fact? Or is it that we have given to one or other a greater importance, or rather that thought has given the greater importance? One may hear great music and delight in it, and yet be insensitive to other things. One may have a sensitive taste and be wholly insensitive to delicate colour. This is fragmentation. When each fragment is aware only of itself, then fragmentation is maintained. In this way energy is broken up. If this is so, as it appears to be, is there a non- fragmentary awareness by all the senses?
Thought is part of the senses. Can the body be aware of itself? Not you being aware of your own body, but the body itself being aware. This is very important to find out. It cannot be taught by another for then it is second-hand information, which thought is imposing on it. You must discover for yourself whether the whole organism, the physical entity, can be aware of itself. You may be aware of the movement of an arm, a leg or the head, and through that movement feel that you are becoming aware of the whole, but what we are asking is: can the body be aware of itself without any movement? This is essential to find out, because thought has imposed its pattern on the body, what it thinks is right exercise, right food, and so on. So there is the domination of thought over the organism; there is consciously or unconsciously a struggle between thought and the organism. In this way thought is destroying the natural intelligence of the body itself.
Does the body, the physical organism, have its own intelligence? It has when all the senses are acting together in harmony so that there is no straining, no emotional or sensory demands of desire. When one is hungry one eats, but usually taste, formed by habit, dictates what one eats. So fragmentation takes place. A healthy body can be brought about only through the harmony of all the senses, which is the intelligence of the body itself. What we are asking is: doesn't disharmony bring about waste of energy? Can the organism's own intelligence, which has been suppressed or destroyed by thought, be awakened?
Remembrance plays havoc with the body. The remembrance of yesterday's pleasure makes thought master of the body. The body then becomes a slave to the master, and intelligence is denied. So there is conflict. This struggle may express itself as laziness, fatigue, indifference, or in neurotic responses. When the body has its own intelligence freed from thought, though thought is part of it, this intelligence will guard its own well-being.
Pleasure dominates our life in its crudest or most educated forms; and pleasure essentially is a remembrance- that which has been, or that which is anticipated. Pleasure is never at the moment. When pleasure is denied, suppressed or blocked, neurotic acts, such as violence and hatred, take place out of this frustration. Then pleasure seeks other forms and outlets; satisfaction and dissatisfaction arise. To be aware of all these physical and psychological activities requires an observation of the whole movement of one's life.
When the body is aware of itself, then we can ask a further and perhaps more difficult question: can thought, which has put together this whole consciousness, be aware of itself? Most of the time thought dominates the body, and so the body loses its vitality, intelligence, its own intrinsic energy, and hence has neurotic reactions. Is the intelligence of the body different from total intelligence, which can come about only when thought, realizing its own limitation, finds its right place?
As we said at the beginning of this letter, the flowering of goodness can take place only when there is the release of total energy. In this release there is no friction. It is only in this supreme undivided intelligence that there is this flowering. This intelligence is not the child of reason. The totality of this intelligence is compassion.
Mankind has tried to release this immense energy through various forms of control, through exhausting discipline, through fasting, through sacrificial denials offered to some supreme principle or god, or through manipulating this energy through various states. All this implies the manipulation of thought towards a desired end. But what we are saying is quite contrary to all this. Can all this be conveyed to the student? It is your responsibility to do so.