lostitude wrote:The interesting thing about this is that those medical practitioners who carry out the autopsies, and medical students who have to dissect dead bodies, will never tell you that they are not attracted to their partners anymore. So I guess the way that kind of meditation is performed is much more important than the material at hand.
Most of us in medicine and in medical subspecialties that work with the dead body or its dismembered parts regularly go through a phase (or phases) when we feel those things (lack of attraction for partners, etc) but eventually its not difficult to compartmentalize and not let the gravity of the experience "sink in" anymore. Like anything else you can decondition/condition a given response, the mind's potential is truly remarkable.
Also, one can obviously focus on the sheer complexity, bizarreness, beauty etc of the human insides as well. You choose your frame of reference, or lens, like anything else. For my part when I'm exposed to it I deliberately open up to the themes of mortality, foulness, etc, but I consider myself Buddhist and so I'm "looking for that." Its a remarkably powerful tool for letting go, dispassion and samadhi I believe, but again easily lost without persistence and discipline in other areas.
Two interesting related examples:
A colleague of mine was unable to "go near his wife" for days after performing his first pelvic examination (on a "model patient," people who are paid to help teach medical students how to perform things like pelvic exams, etc). He was revolted, apparently by looking at female anatomy from a purely 'medical' point of view. He found the living
body bad enough
I've heard people complain that performing autopsies "makes them really hungry." The explanation is obvious and its quite disgusting (to me). For my part I can't help but notice how disgusting and savage the act of consuming other animals (let alone anything) is after these experiences and often have to basically dissociate, compartmentalize, etc to continue eating normally etc.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53
"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.
That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."