“To observe without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence.” – J. Krishnamurti
ATTACHMENT & AVERSION TO THE BODY
THE FANTASY LIFE:
“Until you can look forward to all aspects of life without fear, your work is not done.” – Byron Katie
Sometimes, in yoga discussions there can become this aversion to the body because it is made up of material, aka prakriti. As humans, we get attached to our material form and this attachment becomes a source of suffering. I’ve been upset with my own material manifestation in so many ways… acne, weight gain and loss, injuries, asthma, weakness and strength, aging and the endless fluctuations of all of these within my endeavors for a perfect form… I have a regular illusion / fantasy of a perfect condition in which no pain can be experienced. The problem with this fantasy is that life isn’t like this and to return to reality then feels like a huge disappointment.
In philosophy discussions around this, often, there becomes this negative feeling towards the body, an effort to be rid of it and all of it’s afflictions. One can get caught up in a heroic effort to transcend the body and get straight to spirit because of an idea / promise of less suffering… The promise of gaining understandings that come with being beyond the “chains” of material form.
The changes of the body are just one of many changes within the material world that can be stressful if we get attached to keeping things the way they are. But, nothing is great forever…. a bike ride in the sun after a long day of office work… at first feels amazing, but if it were to continue on and on… it becomes terrible too! Even our relationship to what is, changes.
The understanding that I am coming to is that it is through the body that we attain such a deep understanding of the material world that we can actually begin to understand the immaterial. If we can train our minds to move beyond thinking, and concepts of good, bad, right wrong, future and past… and move into becoming more of a sense organ than a conceptualizer / judger / knower of the future… move into becoming a clear space for information to come into, be felt, lived, experienced… then we move beyond having preferences that are based in liking or disliking according to the story we have about ourselves, and into directly touching the magic between all this material stuff.
The pain of perceiving things as permanent that are not permanent and the pain of having thoughts and beliefs that are not true… over. One is just present. Arriving here.
THE EMPTY NATURE OF THOUGHT: AN ASSIGNMENT!
Reflect on the empty nature of thought…. “the thought of your mother, is not your mother” — what’s true, whats real, what’s made up and open up to using mind as a sense organ like the rest of the body, look at it – look through it — watch what is based on past and future and putting things together and what is ACTUAL, REAL, LIVED EXPERIENCE.
“Look at the mind and you see nothing, look through the mind and you see everything.”
– Joseph Goldstein
NO PREFERENCE: A PRACTICE OF “NON-DOING”
QUOTE FROM NISARGARDATTA:
Maharaja: Why not? Did you every try? Do you ever try? Do try and you will find, in pain, a joy which pleasure cannot yield. For the simple reason that acceptance of pain takes you much deeper than pleasure does. The personal see by it’s very nature is constantly pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. The ending of this pattern is the ending of the self. The ending of the self with its desires and fears enables you to return to your real nature — the source of all happiness and peace. The perennial desire for pleasure is the reflection of the timeless harmony within. it is an observable fact that one becomes self-conscious only when caught in the conflict between pleasure and pain; which demands choice and decision. …..When pain is accepted for what it is, a lesson and a warning, and deeply looked into and heeded, the separation between pain and pleasure breaks down. both become experience — painful when resisted, joyful when accepted.”
BODY IMAGE VERSES BODY KNOWLEDGE: A REAL KIND OF EMPOWERMENT!
QUOTE FROM ANNA GUEST-JELLEY
“Start by noticing when your body may be sending you messages. Is this something that feels right to and for you? Do you find yourself going into hyperplanning mode, visualizing how perfect your life will be once you implement that plan exactly? Be on the lookout for times when that fantasy life presents itself, and get curious. Also, look underneath—what is it that you truly want from that “ideal” body? Is it more happiness or freedom, greater ease in your body? If so, see what you can do to start bringing those things into your life now. Pay attention to how you feel. Focus on bringing in more good and making your life fuller, not smaller. If you have questions, look for a body-affirming health professional or yoga teacher to consult.
As you go along with that, challenge whatever assumptions come up, because they always do. You will run into many things that tell you that you can’t be trusted, that your body can’t be trusted. When you do, take those as another opportunity to check in and ask yourself: “Is that true?” And “What if my body isn’t a problem?
There’s no prescription here. There’s just practice, working its way down deep into your bones. This isn’t a lifestyle, but a way to be alive. It’s not a fix-yourself plan; it’s a know-and-support-yourself invitation.
Yoga has its ooohhhh and aaahhh moments with some of its poses, and that can definitely be fun. But the deeper power of the practice comes from how it asks you to be in an ongoing, evolving conversation with your body on a regular basis.
Practice starts on your yoga mat because yoga isn’t part of a “fix yourself” paradigm but rather a “know yourself” paradigm. And then it journeys with you off your yoga mat because the same is true of body acceptance. While you may experience fleeting moments of epiphany or joyous love for your body, the day-to-day experience of body acceptance is much quieter than that — and ultimately more powerful because it becomes part of your everyday life.
PRESENCE – GET CURIOUS – CHALLENGE – AFFIRM
Actual life, where things rarely go as planned, sometimes you skip your yoga practice, and other times you’re judgmental about your body…..both yoga and body acceptance are about making space for your body to speak. And what I’ve found through my own practice, is that the more space I make to meet myself and my body where they are in the moment, the easier and more joyful it becomes to take care of myself in lasting, sustainable ways. Because neither yoga nor body acceptance are end goals in and of themselves. They’re vehicles to living your life.”
OF THE MATERIAL WORLD:
BOUNDARIES, RE-DEFINING LOVE & AWARENESS THROUGH THE BODY
A CONVERSATION WITH A FRIEND
LETS JUST ASSUME IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS:
LESSONS ON HEALING
“YOU CAN’T RUSH A HEALING, DARKNESS HAS IT’S TEACHINGS” – TREVOR HALL
“TO OBSERVE WITHOUT EVALUATING IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF INTELLIGENCE.” – J. KRISHNAMURTI
In a discussion with Nini the other day, she said that it is not our job as healers to take away people’s pain or to fix them. It is our job to help them be with their pain, to get the lessons from it and the gems.
The First Step:
She said, “The first step of healing is to assume that it’s supposed to be like this.” This lands us right in the present moment, without fear of future or past, the pain of resisting is over in a second.
The Second Step:
Opening up to receiving information – What’s here? Listening. Get Curious. Moving beyond fear.. here the unknown becomes known simply through experiencing it. Here we are moving beyond the “thinking mind” and gathering the information simply as information, without preference to what it is… not an analysis / opinion or a wrong-ness. Instead of a fearful preparation for the impending future or for having to know something that we don’t yet know… we land here, in the body and absorb the information that is right here.
Knowing You are in Resistance: (from Byron Katie)
In this situation how are you looking for / wanting to change things? What do you want to be different than it is? In order to be happy in this situation what do you need to be done? What are your judgements of the situation? What is it about this situation that you don’t ever want to experience again?
Questions to ask:
Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
How do you react, what happens, when you believe in that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
“Until you can look forward to all aspects of life without fear, your work is not done.” – Byron Katie
YOGA PHILOSOPHY: SUTRA 1.41
BODY KNOWLEDGE – OUR REAL & LIVED EXPERIENCE
INSPIRATION FROM THE SUTRAS:
WRITING HERE TAKEN FROM YOGA INTERNATIONAL’S TRANSLATION
“A tranquil mind is like a crystal—it assumes the color of whatever is in its proximity, be it an object of concentration, the process of concentration, or the pure consciousness that witnesses the inner functioning of the mind.”
Download 1.41 Audio Recitation
Audio Recitation by D.C. Rao, PhD
kṣīṇa = extinct; destroyed; erased; cleansed; attenuated
vṛtti = modifications; thought constructs
The compound kṣīṇavṛtteḥ refers to a mind that is no longer affected by its own modifications; a clear, calm, and tranquil mind.
abhijātasya = In Indian mythology, abhijāta refers to a special gem that fulfills all wishes. It is said to have the capacity to produce anything the wearer of the gem wishes.
iva = like
maṇeḥ = sixth case singular (possessive) of maṇi, jewel
grahītṛ = recipient; perceiver; the witness
grahaṇa = the process of receiving, perceiving; in this context, the process of concentration
grāhya = receivable; perceivable; in this context, the object of concentration
Together, the compound means in relation to the object of meditation, the process of meditation, and the pure transcendental consciousness that witnesses all internal states and functions.
tatsthatadañjanatā = tat + stha + tad + añjanatā
- tat that
- stha standing; established in; based upon
- tad that
- añjanatā the quality of having a color or characteristics
- samāpattiḥ the end result; conclusion; mental occurrence
FROM: PANDIT RAJMANI TIGUNAIT
“In this sutra, Patanjali is making two important points: first, the mind is like a wish-yielding gem, and second, the mind has the ability to assume the color of anything in its proximity. The first point indicates that the mind is a field of a limitless creative energy. It has the capacity to create, maintain, and demolish anything it wishes. The mind is creator of both its misery and of its happiness. It has the capacity both to guide and to misguide, to bless and to curse. However, as described in the previous sutra, once the mind is clear, calm, and tranquil and has gained the ability to focus on both the subtlest and grossest, the minutest and the biggest, it has no taste for anything negative, destructive, and painful.
The yogi with a crystal-clear mind lives in the world and yet remains unaffected by it. The second point indicates that, like a crystal, a clear, calm, and tranquil mind assumes the color of whatever lies in its closest proximity. Because it has lost its taste for that which is negative, destructive, and painful, it naturally discovers that which is positive, constructive, and joyful. Such a mind, propelled by the law “similar attracts similar” is drawn toward that which is good and auspicious, and vice versa. The result is that this crystal-clear mind finds itself on the path of transformation effortlessly. For a yogi with such a mind this world is beautiful, peaceful, and joyful. Nothing is distasteful—everything is good and auspicious. The idea of discomfort has vanished from his life. He is content.
The yogi with a crystal-clear mind lives in the world and yet remains unaffected by it. She is fully aware of her thought process but does not identify herself with her thoughts. She is fully aware of her goals and objectives, but those goals and objectives do not taint her mind. She enjoys every bit of this world, and once the enjoyment is over, no trace of the past lingers in her mind. She is free of the memories of the past and thus has no reason to be anxious about the future. Such a person is liberated here and now.
*Note: In Indian philosophy, the word paramanu (atom) is defined as an entity so small it can no longer be split. In other words, the state of matter where the distinction between matter and energy becomes blurry is called paramanu, the indivisible particle, imperceptible to the naked eye.”
LANDING IN THE BODY:
TEACHING YOURSELF TO RELAX
MOVING OUT OF FIGHT OR FLIGHT AND INTO REST AND DIGEST:
A guided relaxation for learning to take yourself out of Fight or Flight and into Rest and Digest. At first, learning to pull yourself out of fear and aversion takes awhile, both with learning to relax but also with letting go of our attachment to being afraid. However, with practice, one can do this in seconds and one begins to realize all the clarity they can get from the relaxed state. This is a step in changing patterns, it just requires a willingness to be attentive to our patterns (when we should actually be afraid because we are in danger or when it is just the ego feeling threatened) and a willingness to let go of things that cause us suffering.
MAKING IT HAPPEN:
NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION – ONE WAY TO PUT THIS INTO PRACTICE
This is so good!!! So fun to watch and do it with him!
“All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.” — Marshall B. Rosenberg, Phd