Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:
Some people think they can short circuit the process of attachment to the body by going straight to their sense of self, thinking that by cutting out the sense of self they won't have to work on contemplation of the body because the work they're doing goes deeper, straight to the root. But attachment is like a vine:
You can't find the root until you take hold of the nearest branch and trace it back. You can't really get to the root of your attachment to self until you've looked at where your most blatant day-to-day, moment-to-moment attachment is: right here at the body.
The least little thing happens to your body and you can't stand it. A little bit of hunger, a little bit of thirst, too much heat, too much cold sets you running off. A little bit of illness and you go running for medicine. If that's not attachment, what is?
We're not bad-mouthing the body, we're just looking at it for what it is. Ultimately we want to learn how to use it simply as a tool without attachment, but to counteract the attachment you've got to go very far in the other direction to counteract all the hype, all the slick advertising slogans you've used to sell yourself on the body: about how important it is, how essential it is, all the good things that come from looking after it very carefully, doing all the yoga, giving it exercise, eating all the right foods. You can do those things and yet still it's going to age, grow ill, and die.... Then the desire for an ideal body,... You see how deluded and futile it is
. This is not to encourage you not
to take care of the body, but simply to watch out for any delusion that gets built up around it, so that when aging, illness, and death come you're more prepared.
From: Contemplation of the Body
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu