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Friday, June 4, 2010

The Union of a Mind Divided

It has been awhile since I have posted and it is nice to be back to the computer. Now, from Sandford, Nova Scotia where Heather, Natha and I have moved. The ocean air is deeply appreciated and the ground under our feet feels sacred.

I have been reading a book called, The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts who was a great philosopher in his own right and did a lot to interpret the teachings of Zen Buddhism and the philosophy of Oneness from yoga. In this book he makes an important point about the mind that is divided between the present moment experience and thinking processes that are rooted in the future and/or past. The integration of this 'divided' mind is a characterization of yoga.

When we practice yoga on the mat we choose to be more aware of sensations in the body while we disengage from cognitive processing or "thinking". This is a big step for most of us and an important one on our path to health through yoga. In his book, Alan Watts takes the notion of sensation much further than I normally would. He regards "sensation" as the perception through all of our senses and reveals the subtle reality that all of what we experience in our field of perception is in fact sensation. What you perceive as "other" is merely sense-inputs interpreted by cognitive process. The mind is split between this sensational experience of the here and now and the mind's unwillingness to remain present. Alan sums it up nicely,

"So long as the mind is split, life is perpetual conflict, tension, frustration and disillusion....But the undivided mind is free from this tension of always trying to stand outside oneself and to be elsewhere than here and now."

Recognizing the tension is the first step to realizing its resolution. Regular practice seems necessary for most of us to return to that sensational moment of now. As you read this take a moment to breathe with greater awareness, to feel the sensations in the body. Be where you are more deeply than a moment ago. Can you feel yourself settling in to the moment? Crossing the Great Divide can happen in a single breath. In fact, it could only happen one breath at a time.

Namaste,

Steve


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