A Discussion with Godfrey Devereux.
Have you suffered enough?
Perhaps you believe that suffering is in fact a necessary part of life. Perhaps you also believe that suffering is a noble feat and a requirement for every worthy endeavour, our greatest work—success, wealth, happiness, appreciation, freedom, creativity, peace and love. Some even aver that such suffering makes us more fully human.
All of us have certainly had our share—human suffering is something most people experience on a day-to-day if not a minute-by-minute basis. The type of suffering this article is referring to, is the self-inflicted mental suffering, and it is this suffering, according to Godfrey Devereux, that is a deeply destructive habit that we have all gotten very used to:
“The habit of perpetual suffering, even when nothing bad is happening is a socially endorsed habit,” says Godfrey. “Feeling uncertainty, anxiety, contempt, regret, shame, doubt, fear, hostility are all symptoms of succumbing to the unhappy habit of learned suffering, something that happens to most of us over and over again.”
Is there anything we can do about this deeply destructive habit?
“If you want to find your way to the light, you must be ready to walk the path of shadows.”
According to Godfrey, we have the intelligence to become free from suffering, but not if the intelligence of our mind stays in the grip of habit. It needs to become deeply enough grounded in the intelligence of the body for it to become transparent to the intelligence of consciousness.
“This happens naturally within a yoga posture practice given to the intelligence of the body by way of the physical sensations it is continuously generating. When the intelligence of the mind becomes deeply intimate with the subtle presence of the body it becomes grounded in consciousness. This happens when we feel so deeply and directly that mind naturally becomes passive while remaining alert and present.”
So what gets in the way of us feeling as clearly as possible?
“Thinking too much.”
Feeling as clearly and as directly as possible, teaches Godfrey, helps us to experience what is really happening versus what is being imagined. Isn’t it a relief to be reminded that nearly all of our worries haven’t happened and chances are, they won’t happen?! And, even if they do happen, according to Godfrey, “even while getting hit by a bus, the Universe is irrevocably supporting you.”
The mind certainly has a manic habit of making things that don’t matter, matter significantly. And, as Godfrey reminds us, the mind tries to answer all of the ‘what if’s scenarios hence the unromantic saga of unremitting suffering and worrying and thinking.
Knowing without thinking—how do we do this?
In order to become grounded in the nonlinear intelligence of consciousness Godfrey asks us to give the linear intelligence of mind completely to the sensations generated by the body. In doing so the linear mind lets go of its need to know into our deeper ability to feel. In letting go of its need to know, it lets go of its need to control. Then the ability of mind to know becomes a direct reflection of consciousness without any prejudice or distortion.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzche once said, “There is more wisdom in your body that in your deepest philosophy,” and, according to Godfrey’s approach to yoga posture practice, once you have allowed yourself to become familiar with the intelligence of your body, by becoming intimate with sensation, you will soon discover not only the deeper delights of yoga practice, but the fruits that such depth of practice bring spontaneously into everyday life.
“Understanding one’s relationship to sensation, feeling sensation as clearly as possible has a way of integrating the intelligence of mind, body and spirit,” says Godfrey. “When you feel so directly, so clearly, mind will have nothing to say about it—the intelligence of the body and consciousness are expressed simultaneously and directly.”
“As you relax, can you see the habituated tendency of your mind turning away (vrtti) from what is actually happening to what is imagined? Habits are unravelled by other habits—through repetition.”
Are there anymore reasons to stop worrying and to let go of unnecessary suffering?
Godfrey says, “The source of our body and mind is here now—we can’t find it by looking for anything, but only when we give up looking for into a looking at whatever is actually happening. We suffer because we’re not really sure what we are, where we are, who we are. We are nothing in particular, but on the other side of that is everything.”
Godfrey says, “You have always known everything you’ve ever needed to know to be who you are. You are always in the right place at the right time. You have not fucked up. You are not a mistake. Things don’t happen because you are fucked up, they happen because you are perfect.”
The bus is coming for you, and when it happens, it’s going to be the best moment of your life, if you’re there.
To read more about Godfrey, founder of the Dynamic Yoga Training Method, and to get information about workshops and teacher training visit the Dynamic Yoga website here.
**This article has also been published on Rebelle Society.