Heart of the Matter

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

Oscar Wilde

Happy Winter Solstice! 

Yesterday we celebrated the solstice by taking our dogs to the favorite--Miramar beach then had an early dinner by the cozy fire at the Moss Beach Distillery. It seems an indulgence to take two weeks off from teaching. However, I need this time to process all that went down this year. The physical loss of two beings most dear to me has been difficult and life changing. I haven't taken a time off to sufficiently reflect. This is the perfect time of year to dive into the abyss and get intimate with the darkness inside my heart. Soon, I'm leaving for Canada where I can warm myself in the glow of family coziness.

This being the shortest day (and longest night) of the year is an invitation to get comfortable with death--the stillness and silence that contain all movements and vibrations. The heart of the matter isn't a dead void. It is the potentiality of movement -- to slither or plunge either toward more darkness or lightness. Some of us are more comfortable in darkness and some prefer more light. The more attached we are to the light the stronger aversion to darkness. Losing touch with the reality and of our potential as the freedom of movement, we plunge toward excess sensory gratification or shut down and head the opposite to end it all. According to Psychology Today, suicide claims more deaths than accidents, homicides, and war combined, worldwide.

The balancing effect of our movement potential can be seen starkly in the suicide statistics. It is higher in Springtime (not Christmas) and lower during wartimes and depressions. According to Psychology Today, psychiatrists believe that over 90 per cent of cases of suicide are not the result of a rational decision but of mental disorder. Do we have the freedom to move physically and energetically--emotional and mental? Without the freedom to vibrate within the darkness of night and lightness of day we are as good as dead. The physical loss of the loved ones deepens my journey to the potentiality that is heart of the matter. Throughout life, even when I wasn't conscious of it, there is a recurring question which heightens at this time of year--what obstruct the freedom of movement that is my potentiality?

The equivalent of the physical death is the energetic death by overconsumption. Hyper-sense gratification simply leads to physical and emotional devastation. Massively influenced by Ayurveda and TCM's Meridian Theory I approach yoga as the practice to free the path of energy which needs to move in order to vitalize all parts of itself—tissues, organs, mind, and soul. Vitality is motion is energy. Energy is an interplay of elemental qualities and quantities.The question has guided me to experiment with holistic and scientific methods allowing me to arrive at the level of vitality I feel now. After dropping the consumption of grains all kinds of mysterious craving, physical weakness and ailment are relieved. With the newfound physical freedom I am more aware of the long-term structural misalignment in the postures and movements. 

This year I am bringing a few less consumer gifts to the Christmas gathering and more heart and soul. The more aware of the physical habits that obstruct the flow of circulation the more clarity I have in expanding my range of motion at all levels. The increased range of physical motion organically grows into the desire to explore the wider world as my offering of yoga retreats in various locales. Dropping the overconsumption of social media allows my dopamine and oxytocin to be stimulated by the more reliable and consistent sources--the daily physical interactions with the people I live, work, and play with. Feeling comfortable in my skin is simply embracing others under their diverse and unique skins.

To root down and connect to the freedom of movement I invited the participants to either just listen or chant along with me last week. We practiced the Bija (seed) Sound Meditation -- receiving and sending vibrational waves to various centers of the body. I guided the participants through the motion and invited them to tune in to the function that is the movement of the endocrine system from the reproductive glands in the pelvis to the pineal gland in the skull. Along the way we touch the adrenal, pancreas, thymus, thyroid, and pituitary glands. The more capacity to be a stable container for the movements and experiences the more vibrant we are. From the soul to the senses and back is our potential range of vitality. Let the heart vibrate the matter. Let the matter ground and contain the heart.