Image from Steve Bowers

Most religions in the world will tell you that your body is not who you are. Or at least they give lip service to that statement. The important thing is your spirit or soul. I have made some progress on exploring the inner spirit and soul that make me both different from and the same as everyone else. But my body and soul are attached somehow. If the spirit were the important thing, then why even have bodies? I looked at my body and thought that if this is not who I am, then what is this?

It came to me that this body is the vessel that my soul picked up during this lifetime. If I included reincarnation in the formula, I could consider that this body is the vessel that my soul picked up this time through life. The union of body and soul lacks permanence. The thought came to me that perhaps I could look at my body as one would look at a rental car. When you go to the rental car lot, sometimes you get whatever car is left after everyone else has picked his or hers. Sometimes you get an upgrade. I looked at my body. Leftovers? Maybe. Upgrade? Nah. Surely, though no one would judge me based on my rental car.

How important is this rental body that I picked up at the beginning of life? It does need fuel and some basic maintenance. A new wax job and a tune up make it feel better. Repairs are needed when certain parts are broken. Even when some parts are worn and shabby it still runs. I can make it as snazzy as I want within the confines of what I got from the beginning.

I began to think of other things that can be rented. Bulldozers came to mind. Dump trucks, air compressors and chain saws can be rented too. Those things are job-specific for what they need to accomplish during their useful lifetime. I looked at my body and thought that it, too, is job-specific for what it needs to do during this lifetime. It is job-specific for the lessons I need to learn and the lessons I have the opportunity to teach others. I have begun to look at my body in an altogether different light.

Then I began to look at the other rental bodies around me. Some of them are attractive. They are the Rolls Royce of rentals. You know the ones I mean. Then there are the sports cars, the minivans, and off the road vehicles. They are all sorts of physical characteristics. They come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Then there are ones of different temperaments, too. It is important that I not judge someone’s usefulness based on his or her new or old paint job.

Now the encounters that I have with people are different somehow. I even look at the checker at the grocery store and the motorist with the extended finger in a different light. The small child who waves to me, the homeless man who asks for a buck, even the county tax assessors are all rental bodies. They are rental bodies that other spirits picked up this time through that have provided an opportunity for me to learn what I need to learn.

If my body is a rental body, then what is my house? I guess it is just a temporary garage to house my rental body. If I refuse to judge someone on the basis of his or her rental body, I certainly would not judge them on the basis of their garage, or lack thereof. What an interesting change in perspective.

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