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Chapter 1: The Body: The First Step

My beloved ones,

In this first meeting of the meditation camp, I would like to talk about the first step for a meditator, a seeker. What is the first step? A thinker or a lover follow certain paths but a seeker has to travel on a totally different journey. For a seeker, what is the first step on the journey?

The body is the first step for a seeker - but no attention or thought has been given to it. Not only at certain times, but for thousands of years the body has been neglected. The neglect is of two kinds. Firstly, there are the indulgent people who have neglected the body. They have no experience of life other than eating, drinking and wearing clothes. They have neglected the body, misused it, foolishly wasted it - they have ruined their instrument, their veena.

If a musical instrument - for example a veena - is ruined, music cannot arise out of it. Music is an altogether different thing from the veena - music is one thing, the veena is another, but without the veena music cannot arise.

Those people who have misused the body through indulgence are one type, and the other type of people are those who have neglected the body through yoga and renunciation. They have tortured the body, they have suppressed it and they have been hostile towards it. And neither the people who have indulged the body nor the ascetics who have tortured the body have understood its importance. So there have been two kinds of neglect and torture of the veena of the body: one by the indulgers and another by the ascetics. Both have done harm to the body.

In the West the body has been harmed in one way and in the East in another way, but we all are equal participants in harming it. People who go to brothels or to pubs harm the body in one way, and people standing naked in the sun or rushing into the forests harm the body in another way.

Only through the veena of the body can the music of life arise. The music of life is an altogether different thing from the body - it is totally different, something else - but only through the veena of the body is there a possibility of attaining to it. No proper attention has yet been given to this fact.

The first step is the body and the proper attention of the meditator towards the body. In this first meeting I want to talk to you about this point.

A few things need to be understood.

The first thing: the soul has a connection with the body at some centers - our life-energy comes from these connections. The soul is closely related to these centers; from them our life-energy flows into the body.

The seeker who is not aware of these centers will never be able to attain to the soul. If I ask you which is the most important center, which is the most important place in your body, you will probably point to your head.

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