Non-Body-Identification

by Aranyakananda

A funny thing happened last night as my wife and I rode back home after work. She was telling me about her day, and how since her schedule will be changing soon a client she works with will need a new caregiver. My wife is a caregiver to senior citizens. One of her clients who will need a replacement is an elderly Cambodian woman and her family feels that she’d be most comfortable if the person who replaces my wife were Asian. You know, just to give her a sense of familiarity.

I was thinking about this and whether or not I thought it really was necessary, when a though dawned on me that stopped me in my tracks. I chuckled vigourously. My wife said “What?”

So I had to tell her: “Would it bother you if I told you that I just forgot that you are Asian?” She snickered and said “No, not really” or something like that.

Yogananda always talked about not identifying as Indian or male or anything of the kind, also suggesting that some householder-yogis had done the same in regard to their spouses. Though I think it would be a bit rash for me to stop identifying with my wife as a female, I get what Yogananda was getting at. Though I am certainly not a “great householder-yogi, I understand that one’s relationship toward another – one’s concern and love for another – should never depend on such characteristics. In terms of marital union, then, the fact that she is a female simply becomes a benefit from where I sit.

Getting back to the forgetting my wife was Asian thing, I think it is mainly a matter of, because she is the only woman I have ever truly loved, she is simply that incomparable beloved. Ideally she would have no characteristics that carried a materially driven attraction. And I think disassociating the fact of ethnic difference from mine is a step in that direction, being material characteristic as it is. I have acknowledged her as a premavataress before, so I don’t mind doing so again now.

Jai Maa Lakshmi

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One Response to Non-Body-Identification

  1. Dhrishti says:

    I can relate, as I have moved along similar lines with my own beloved. There are times when I watch while he isn’t aware and the temporary fact that he’s currently male nearly completely evaporates. For that moment, I find myself aware, with surprising clarity, of the immense and crazy beauty found in this thing I adore.

    As I come out of that brief moment – only then is when I re-realize that there are other things: the eye color, hair color, shape of the nose, subtle facial expressions even he probably doesn’t realize he’s making – all of which are gorgeous and weak indicators, hints, at what I actually love.

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