Last night I attended a Structural Integration yoga workshop with teacher, Michael Watson (http://www.mindfulintegration.com). One of the things Michael invited us to bring more deeply into our awareness is that the body is not a system of individual parts but operates as one integrated unit. This awareness urges us to no longer look at the seemingly separate muscles, tendons, bones, organs but to view the harmonious interactions between them and to see how the body truly exists within a state of oneness.
Michael’s invitation got me thinking about how prone we are as a species to viewing the world through this lens of separateness. The way in which we view our bodies as a collection of separate parts is indeed how we view all of creation. We are separate from eachother, separate from our environment, separate even within ourselves (true-self vs false self, mind vs. body, vs spirit). It seems that at our very core, we are conditioned to seeing the world through this place of separation.
Seeing the body through this lens of separation makes us prone to injury and disease. As Michael illustrated, strengthing one muscle without tending to the interactive components leaves other parts of the body vulnerable to injury. So it is with ourselves. When we see ourselves as separate from eachother, separate from our environment, separate from the perceived separate parts of ourselves, we are left vulnerable to injury. We forget that our actions have an impact on our environment, the world and on other human beings. This perceived separateness is the cause of prejudice, discrimination, hunger, poverty and war.
From the perspective of Structural Integration, we are invited to facilitate health and well-being by tending to the interconnectedness of our physical form. This invitation makes me wonder about the trickle-up effect of these actions. As we bring harmony to our physical bodies, what affect does that have on our perception of the rest of the world. Will we begin to see more fully our connection with eachother and with the rest of the world? Will this perception of connectivity facilitate greater harmony and peace and encourage collaborative efforts in overcoming the results of separation? I would predict that the answer is yes because as we embrace the perception of oneness within the body, we begin to realize the truth of oneness on all levels. That which we perceive as physical begins to fall away to reveal the spirit that dwells within, between and among us. This spirit, we recognize is infinite, vast and all encompassing and is in fact our true nature. This Spirit is what some have called God.
Remembering our Oneness with God and with eachother is the purpose and intention of our human journey. It is in remembering this Oneness that we are free to experience our original nature as loving, joyful and content. And….there are an infinite number of ways to get to this truth. As much as we are tempted to view our disciplines as separate (yoga, tai chi, meditation, contemplation, creative pursuits, etc.) they all lead to the same destination. So I offer a prayer of gratitude to Michael Watson (and other yoga teachers like him) for reminding us of how the body can be a powerful and effective path for remembering this truth. Namaste!