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The Distance Between Us Is Holy Ground

Last night the Chinese tortured and killed sixty nuns and one hundred twenty monks. Now, let us pray for the Chinese.
(Tenzin Gyatsu, the Dali Llama)

Its instinctive to embrace the nature of dependency. A chubby baby coos and squirms with open receptivity, and we feel the deep reward of mutual sharing. We are validated as loving beings.

However, babies quickly morph into unique individuals. This golden bundle of divine light evolves into a growing human with drives to learn, to explore, and to conquer challenges. We are challenged by growing independence and the power struggles of organic maturation. As surely as we appreciate our capacity to love, we face our tendencies to resent, resist and restrain.

Unconditional love is the elusive promise of the womb. Yet the dense reality of physical life requires limitations, practical shelters and functional boundaries. Our physical survival requires conditions, yet our psychic longing echoes, Love without restriction!

Its clear to see the dynamic of unconscious expectations formulating as we grow into our mortal realities. As stretched as we are by the children we love, we are more provocatively engaged by outside others. Our successful evolution into diverse mind/bodies creates amazing expressions of differing inclinations, conflicting notions of right action and the sense of requiring personal defense systems.

This miraculous process of learning literally develops the living tissue of our brains. We think, therefore we become... Our mind mass is designed by the synthesis of environment and perception. The qualities inherent to our preverbal, elementary and adult experiences create synapses in our brains that shape our cells, sensations and understandings.

This is the filter through which we receive our lives. This filter is the disconnect between universal oneness and isolation. This is the crux of our illusions and our journey toward timeless reality. It is the key to liberation and the lock on disenchantment.

The consciousness of our cells, the concept of somatic memory and the essence of word made flesh are phrases that read like metaphors. Were learning that the choices we make shape our actual brain tissue. What weve learned to believe fashions the container which houses our life force.

This amazing condition accounts for immense challenge when trying to change the course of our paths. We attempt to access the beliefs which reverberate in the deep wells of unconscious reality. How do we open those files and update our programs? How can we integrate new possibilities when weve already manifested our truth in the matter of our physical selves?

Our integrity, the essence of our ethical direction, is formulated by structures which have been incubated in murky sinews of unconscious thought. It is somewhat mystifying that we are passionately invested in patterns which elude our awareness... If Im an alcoholic, I dont necessarily see a pattern. I just know Im driven to medicate. If Im a caretaker, I may not see my patterned behavior. I merely know Im driven to to meet the disguised needs of my assumed role.

Decoding our encrypted patterns is sensitive work. Its as sensitive as diffusing a bomb. Because these codes have manifested in our living cells, we protect them with survival responses. Defensive reactions surge to the surface when we are invited to look into that deep, dark, belief incubator. Part of us literally dies in order to reprogram any concrete perspective.

Dignity and brain cells, mind and matter... we cant separate them. We can, however, respect the difficulty of the process and explore those sinews with compassion. If we arent gentle with ourselves, we will arm our projections with an unyielding and life threatened veneer of always being right. Change is like talking ourselves off the suicide ledge; force wont work. Getting to a place of confused possibility is our only hope. Can something else be real?

It takes a warrior to decipher the difference between living ones ideals and respecting anothers reality. Its terribly difficult to feel the resonance of a disagreement and to walk with gentle, yet fierce precision. The people we love have more direct access to our defenses than strangers do.

The polarity of I love you, versus I hate you, is the psychic equivalent of our asana practice. Our internal activations create an energetic polarity while practicing postures. Our reasoning mechanism mirrors this process as we analyze oppositional views from a witness perspective. Finding the comfort of conscious relationship requires valiant care in asking ourselves, How am I too defended to bridge our holy ground?

by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia

published in Yoga Living -- July 2007 issue