“Most people identify their bodies as being themselves. They think, ‘I am the body.’ Now, everyone wants to be happy. So the question is, how does a person who thinks he’s his body think he’s going to find happiness? What’s his conclusion?” This is the question posed by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda, a world-renowned yoga spiritual master, during a lecture on the topic of satisfaction.
Jagad Guru shared with his audience that, when taking a close look at happiness, peace and satisfaction, it goes against logic to conclude that we are our bodies. However, this is a difficult truth for the majority of people to accept. Satisfaction of the senses is a deceptively convincing false happiness for most, but the emptiness it leaves in its path can lead to despair.
Someone who believes he is his body would answer Jagad Guru’s question, “How does he think he’s going to find happiness,” by proposing that happiness is found through satisfaction of the senses. “So if you are your body, and you make your body happy, your body satisfied, then you will be satisfied. This is the logical conclusion for a person who believes he is his body. ‘I am my body, I want to be happy. I am my senses and I want to be satisfied. So all I need to do is satisfy my senses and I will be satisfied.’ This is natural, it’s logical, and it makes sense. The only problem is, are you the body?”
The general consensus is that, yes, we are the body. This conclusion is supported by the “bombardment” of media—billboards, television, radio, computer ads—in every direction we turn. We see pictures of all these smiling people drinking that soda pop or smoking those cigarettes, and doing all the things that supposedly lead to sense satisfaction, and we start to really believe that those people are real, and that’s what it’s really like. If we can get that stuff, we’ll be as happy as they are. “Those people are really happy!” We are bombarded with false messages that show sense gratification leading to happiness.
It is difficult to ignore the messages, but it can be devastating for people living in some developing nations. These people, Jagad Guru says, “are willing to give up the quality of the air they breathe even. They’re willing to accept so much noise in the atmosphere, so much noise it drives you nuts. What for? So that we can get more sense flashes. And the more sense enjoyment they get, they believe, the happier they will be. Therefore, everyone is striving after this. This is the goal of our lives because we believe that we are the body. I think I’m the senses. If I make my senses happy, I will be happy. If I make my senses satisfied, I’ll be satisfied.”
Jagad Guru explores this idea further in the second part of this series, entitled, “Full, But Still Empty: Satisfy Your Inner Craving.”
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