August 31, 2011

You Are Not The Body Or The Mind





Photo by Atiqur Rahman from Flickr.com

The foundation of yoga is you are not the body, not the mind, pure consciousness is who you are! — Yoga Master Swami Satchidananda

Deb had brain surgery 10 days ago: “Nothing life threatening but I had trigeminal neuralgia (TN) that resisted drugs and radiation so surgery was my only option. TN is a nerve that runs close to the brain stem and then emerges by the ear and splits in three – up to the eye, along the lower and upper jaw. There are some pesky arteries that run very close to it by the brain stem, so if the nerve gets inflamed or the arteries get swollen – whammo, electric shocks grab your face. Anyone who has had TN knows how excruciating it can be, it’s known as the suicide pain for good reason. The surgery wraps Teflon around the nerve so as to cushion it. So far, no pain. Welcome to the modern world!”

Lying in Intensive Care Deb knew she had two choices, and these apply to anyone who has something wrong with them, whether life threatening, serious, or even just a small deal. “We can either make the issue our story by identifying with it, detailing diagnoses, prognoses, doctors, therapists, basically making it our main focus and even finding our identity through it: I have …, I suffer from …, I am a survivor of …, etc. Then we spend all our time searching for the golden cure, but if we found it that would mean the end of our story – which is another whole story altogether!

“Or we can chose to know it, see it, be with it, but not become it. It is not who we are, it does not define us. Yes, the pain is real but, like all things, this too shall pass. My head has started to find my feet again. Life in the body!”

Deb is the award-winning author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, and a great lover of the bodymind, the awareness of connections, of how our psychological and emotional aspects have an intimate and important role in our physical health. The one is in constant relationship with the other. If we only focus on the physical, then we are missing a wonderful opportunity to heal other parts of our being that may have been repressed, denied or even ignored. As these may also be affecting our health, so in healing past issues we may find we are going some way to help heal the physical.

However, we are not the psychological, emotional or even the physical. They are, for instance, how Deb plays out in the world, but they do not define who she is. This is where the brilliance of meditation is so important, especially as life can grab you, chew you up and spit you out when you least suspect it!

When being still and quiet we go beyond the psychological, emotional and physical, beyond the mind and the body, and enter into the beauty of radiant emptiness. This nourishes and restores and takes us out of the endless me-centered story.

It doesn’t matter what method or technique we use to meditate. We both just sit in silence, but others use different ways. What is important is seeing that the method itself is not the healer, it can simply support us in our own healing. So meditate however it feels good for you – there is no right or wrong way. Make friends with meditation; let it be a friend to you, like a friend holding your hand through difficult times. It’s like the method is the cup. You can drink from it, but the cup is not the tea.

The following is a healing meditation that can be done anywhere at anytime. Whether sitting upright in a chair or on the ground, close your eyes and just breathe naturally, in and out.

Then repeat silently to yourself: “May I be well, may I be healed, may I be peaceful.” Inwardly scan your body and breathe into any part that needs healing. Bring these words to that part: “May I be well, may I be healed, may I be peaceful.”

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