This is something I keep noticing and also explore more intentionally at times.
Our perceptual center often becomes the center of a sense of self.
It’s not so surprising. We need to attach our sense of self to something, and that’s typically our body. It also seems that our mind likes to narrow it down further, so our head is a natural candidate. That’s where we see, hear, taste, and smell from. It’s a perceptual center, so why not make it into a center for identification as well? Why not center our experience of me and I there?
I was very much aware of this during the initial opening or awakening phase, and also noticed that there was still an identification in the roof of the mouth and in the back. I asked Buddhist teachers for advice for how to work on it and explore it further, but they either thought it wasn’t the right time for me to know or they didn’t know (I somehow suspect the latter).
When I explore this, I see that my mind associates sensations in the head area – and specifically back in the roof of the mouth – with certain imaginations (images and words), and these creates the experience of a self centered in the head area. There is a me centered there – a human self, a man, a friend etc. And an I centered there – an observer, experiencer, thinker, chooser, doer.
By exploring these bundles of sensations and imaginations, I get to see how these selves are created in my own experience. They tend to lose their charge. They seem less solid, real, and substantial.
When it comes to body identification, it can be helpful and interesting to explore the following:
Identification with the body as a whole. How does my mind create its experience of “me, the one who is this body”? (UI on me, the one who is the body.)
How does my mind create its experience of the body as a whole? (UI on body.)
How does my mind create its experience of a threat of being this body? And not being this body? (AI on being the body, not being the body.)
How does my mind create its experience of a command to be identified with this body? Or not be identified with it? (CI on identifying / not identifying with the body.)
How does my mind create its experience of being any particular deficient/inflated self? (UI on deficient / inflated self.)
Even identification as “spiritual” things such as awareness, Spirit, oneness, Buddha Mind, Big Mind, Brahman etc. actually involve body identification. Any identification requires sensations associated with images and words, so it is a form of body identification. For instance, when I explore “awareness” or “I am awareness” I find an image of awareness connected with subtle sensations in my head, and also other imaginations and sensations making up my experience of awareness or being awareness. Any identification involves body identification, also when it’s a “spiritual” type identification.
- perceptual center = head (eyes, ears) – more of a perceptual center
- sensations combine with imagination, creates sense of an I (doer, perceiver etc.)
- me – human being, self
- I – observer, doer, experiencer etc.
Awareness – sensations + abstract image “everywhere”