On being a hanger

Dear quarter lives,

I would like to share with you some of my recent musings on the relationship between our body and our soul. And for this I would like to use the analogy of the relationship between a hanger and the clothes it holds on its shoulders.

A hanger is an entity on its own. Independent, it can be beautiful. But independent, it alone cannot serve the purpose it was created for. Yet when combined with garments, the hanger has purpose. You see I think our soul is not very different from a hanger. Our soul too is an entity on its own. Independent, it can be beautiful. Yet when combined with a body, it is able to fulfill a potential it otherwise cannot do alone. It has a different function, one that does not just serve itself but serves the body it wears, as well as all that interacts with that body. I find it fascinating that the only way for a soul to experience dependence is through being a body.

For a limited time only, soul has the special honour of experiencing a merging, a blending, a union with another. And not only does soul experience that union with the body it wears, but it is that very union with the body it has committed to for a lifetime that allows it to unite and merge with other bodies and souls too. And this ability to combine itself with another is at its most magical when a baby is created from all these unions. A baby that is not just a stand-alone entity but one made from the parts of each of those bodies and each of those souls, who too, were created from a union prior. And all of this would not have been possible without soul experiencing itself as a body, without soul experiencing itself as limited, without soul experiencing time as limited, all of which add to soul’s depth of experience.

And so to go back to the analogy of the hanger. As much as clothes need hangers, hangers too need clothes. Clothes give hangers meaning. And so it is with our bodies and souls, our embodied experiences are a gift to our souls. Our experience of the body, of time as limited, of life as temporary, that all adds meaning to the story of our soul. I don’t know if our souls would have the depth of meaning they do if they never got to live in a body. I guess that is something for all of us to contemplate. I always thought that my body needs my soul to survive but my soul can survive just fine without my body, and now I just don’t know if that’s true. I feel our souls crave being embodied for a reason. Perhaps instead of asking ourselves who am I, we can ask ourselves who am I as this body. And as the body ages and changes, so does our soul’s experience as body. So perhaps there is no one answer to this question, and perhaps we will never be able to grasp the full meaning of what we are asking, but nonetheless I believe it is always valuable to ask. Often more interesting than the answers we get in this life are the questions we ask. So let your curiosity and questions guide a new sort of relationship between your soul and body. One where neither control the other, but rather cooperate together to create a beautiful life worth living.

And so as we come to the end of this contemplation, I would like to take a moment to express my deep gratitude for this body that gives me the opportunity to live and experience life from a very unique point of view. My body is not perfect. And neither should it be. Perhaps now that I understand that even though I have the privilege to be alive, that aliveness does not entitle me to a perfect body, whatever that means, neither does it entitle me to a healthy body or a strong one. All that it really entitles me to is the opportunity to breathe. And with this gift of the breath, I may do with it what I choose. So, what I aspire to now is to be the best possible soul I can be for my body. Instead of only just thinking of all the ways in which my body can serve my soul, I realise now that it might be useful too to consider all the ways in which my soul might be of service to my body. Because in this embodied experience of living, it is the body’s wellbeing or lack thereof that can either extend or cut off soul’s time here on Earth. So when body is well, soul can continue to inhabit body. But when body falls sick, it will start to push soul out of it. May we all learn to love and nurture these bodies that carry us our entire lives.

With love and always for peace,

S.A.

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