In a previous blog, we explored the truth that the most important relationship for each of us is our relationship with the NOW — our immediate experience; that which is always right in front of us. If we can recognize and rest in pure presence and continuously cultivate a kind, loving, contented, and intimate relationship with our direct experience, we can nurture and maintain this perspective and enable powerful, transforming effects in our daily lives — the experience of full embodiment.
After two decades of practicing yoga, it is clear to me that the primary purpose is not to improve the physical body or make it better, e.g., more flexible, strong, supple, or slender. While admitting that these are positive outcomes of long term practice, if we only practice from this limiting perspective, we are in for Big Disappointments and Unnecessary Pain and Suffering.
Because the sobering truth is that the physical body is impermanent, always changing, and our health and well-being are fragile and unpredictable.
No matter how adept we become at so-called advanced asana (postures), or how successfully we craft and sculpt the “perfect yoga body”, the physical body will age, decay, and break down for each and every one of us. I’m confident you can relate. We all have examples of untimely physical accidents, ailments, and sickness that have appeared in our lives, or the lives of family members, friends, and loved ones.
So, instead of trying to transform our bodies to make them better, we can work to transform our direct relationship with our bodies — experiencing the moment-by-moment feeling of full embodiment; without any preconceived concepts or conditions of what the experience should be, or how it should unfold. We simply practice with a perspective of complete and utter acceptance of what is arising within the field of the body-mind.
This means that when we practice, we allow each breath, movement, and posture to express itself completely and naturally, while we remain open and accepting of the moment-by-moment gifts of embodied experience.
We cease trying to make the posture better, or seek a deeper experience, or recreate past experiences; or expect something different or spiritual to arise. We rest in loving, kind, open, and intimate relationship with what is arising and happening Right Now– marveling at the feelings and sensations produced by trillions of cells in this living miracle we call a body. The insight dawns suddenly, There is nowhere to get to in our practice. We are Right Here and Free in every moment.
If we continue on this path, we’ll find that the body responds in a fundamentally different way. Her sacred secrets begin to reveal themselves much like intimate lovers reveal themselves to each other.
We discover that the body is a direct source of infinite intelligence.
It beckons us to pay attention and love ourselves completely; gently calling each of us into intimate relationship for a joyous journey home.
That said, the body also harbors old wounds and negative conditioning, much of which is self-inflicted by our confused and careless egocentric relationship with it. These wounds need healing; and yoga practice is an excellent way to catalyze that healing by illuminating our habitual modes of relating to bodily experience. Instead of denigrating or criticizing our body when it doesn’t look or feel the way we want it to, we employ yoga practice as a skillful method to heal the body with kindness, openness, curiosity, and complete acceptance. The asanas reveal themselves as alchemical crucibles to explore our immediate sensations and feelings, while our sacred breathing delivers the healing medicine of awareness filled with life sustaining prana.
Naturally, like a beautiful flower, we open to the Radiant Sun of Knowing and discover that Everything Is and Always has been The Body.
This process of continuous unfolding builds on itself as we enter and experience ever deeper layers of embodiment. A felt sense of Joy and Gratefulness for the gift of Life spontaneously arises, and we begin to embody the true meaning of Enjoyment — resting fully with the continuous arising and passing away of Divine sensation and vibration, supported by All Pervasive Silent Stillness and LOVE. It is all Right Here, the freedom of Being fully Human; and touched by Grace, we recognize that the Body is in fact boundless; encompassing everyone, and everything. This is the ONE BODY, which we all share.