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Affecting the Outer by Working the Inner

Having been a 5-element practitioner for several years, I’ve grown to appreciate a constant awareness of microcosm & macrocosm.

The outer universe is reflected in the pattern of the internal body. Water, Air, Earth, Fire & Wood are qualities that we observe in images, textures, sounds, smells and tastes. They are also qualities which we as humans display, albeit unconsciously in large part. Skin tone, vocal timbre, muscle/fat ratio and biochemical cravings are a few element related indicators.

Our current planetary crisis involving eutrophicated eco-systems, tainted water supplies and vibrationally altered atmospheric conditions, mirrors our growing struggles with cell mutation, sleep disorders and, most noticeably, depression. The frustrated challenge of creating balance is not merely a political issue for environmental preservation; it is one of creating a sensation of inner acceptance, witness perspective and personal comfort.

It’s natural to feel exhausted as we note reports of vanishing species, oil spills and diesel emissions. Who has the energy to clean up a world of unconscious and ferocious consumption?

Suppose one concept could clean our polluted slates? Suppose the key to healing the environment felt energizing rather than depleting? The process of simplifying the personal experience is potent. As we declutter our drives, inclinations, schedules and appetites, the outer environment reflects our inner evolution.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve been practicing asana derived, meridian exercises. Balancing the kyo (depleted) and jitsu (overstimulated) currents of energies within the personal system affects the physical, psychological and emotional experience through “practice”. Infusing breath and movement, redistributes elemental energies; a different perspective enters every level of life.

As elemental energies balance, confusion between wants and needs dissolves. Compulsions fade when we break the momentum of “got to have” and realize “already am”. We start to desire the filling of our authentic needs. Short term we reach for an apple rather than a doughnut. The weight of “I should diet,” is taboo. It merely feels good to surrender to our inner nature, which is so gently simple. Long term we seek open space rather than congested shopping malls. Imagine that breathing into the blossoming sensations of our personal environments becomes our most coveted luxury.

Perhaps, this is over simplifying? Those who practice daily asana eventually notice a shift in preferences. Those awkward poses which feel so unwelcome at first attempt, move persistent holdings in the energetic anatomy. As the energy tastes a different pathway, the personality acquires a different level of vibration. The change isn’t one of deciding to be more responsible. The shift is a resultant clearing of distorted desires.

We, as inhabitants of Earth, are designed to thrive in relationship to this magical maya. Our planet is a gift, part of the experience of Atman... the environment of separate soul perception. Distortions of natural vibration due to power lines, radio waves, cell phones and noise pollution have injured our somatic reception of the Earth’s inherent nurturing. Our attractions to anesthesia result from the yearning for this lost resonance.

We are immersed in a counter world of synthetic maya ; this embodies the experience of junk foods, “virtual realities”, chemically induced adventures and gadget addiction. One statistic quotes 90% of Americans preferring television watching to love making. I equate the nature of this situation to the sentence, “It hurts to feel.”

It’s not really possible to relate to the stress on the external environment until we relate to our most innate organic truths. The feelings of heart, the hunger of tissue, the drive to create, and the yearning of unique voice are sedated in the cosmetic veneer of our plasticizing culture. As we make room for our hidden and messy realities, we regenerate the lost Earth within each self. Feeling the power of those dying wetlands can repopulate the essence of satisfying instincts. What’s good for us becomes what we want. What we want is what feeds the planet in its organic and cosmic rhythms.

We hurt, and Earth hurts. Until we facilitate our personal comfort with the reacquainting of our natural needs, both inner and outer environment will exist in pain. The conscious process of breathing, moving and transmuting our perceptions through the discomfort, is the missing link between environmental lobbying and self-destructive patterns. This planet will be healed one person at a time.

Of course, we need to humor ourselves with any measurable success in this direction. Consumer reports will invariably report an increasingly troubled economy as citizens buy less and breath more.

Now isn’t that a healing crisis worth chanting for?

by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia

published in Yoga Living Magazine -- September 2003 issue