Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What's Your Cover?

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing" Oscar Wilde

     There is nothing more worth knowing than your deepest self, the self beyond the monkey mind. I  recently heard a talk by a very senior teacher describing his intent to lead students to their own inner wisdom. As he fumbled for the right words he said  "I am trying to get students to discover, no to recover, no to uncover their inner wisdom" As the deepest truths are so hard to articulate his struggle to communicate  resonated deeply with me. There is something inherent in humans which is wise, which is love, which is constant. But somehow we have covered it up. What we are searching for, we already have. Like fish swimming in the sea asking where the water is we are following outside teachers asking where the peace is, where the wisdom is. In the storminess of life we have forgotten that at the eye of a hurricane there is a quiet calm place. Our lives may never slow down, but that doesn't mean we have to be tossed around by the waves of life. But we may need to do a little inner excavating to remove the covers from our calm center.

     The first cover is the belief that all of our wisdom resides in our brains. Our brains are wonderful for holding and organizing knowledge but it is the body that holds deep wisdom. Intuitively you know this, when you are in an uncomfortable situation your shoulders hike, you might make fists or clench  your jaw, your body is telling you your not safe. But when we come to a place of comfort our chest soften our breath slows, our body is whispering to us "relax". We must come home to our bodies before we can uncover their wisdom and we come home to them by paying attention and being curious and humble. When you are working with your body in a format like exercise have you ever taken the time to notice if your body is trusting you or not? When you make up your mind to lift that weight, do that run or jump on the mat does your body tense or eagerly energize? Our first step to uncovering wisdom is to simply familiarize yourself with your bodies subtle signals.

     The second cover to our wisdom is self bullying. So you decided to go for a run and you felt your whole body tense up in a "no please" and you said to yourself "suck it up" and you do it anyways, your inner bully thinks that this is the way to become better, stronger, faster but that inner voice is wrong. We become stronger when we listen to our bodies. Our bodies are made to move, look at our structure, I am not saying no running. What I am saying is do not override your somatic signals. If the idea of a run tenses your body then do something else. Walk, nap, go swing on play ground, but do not force activities on your body unless you wish to dampen your inner voice and stifle the wisdom within. Your body is wise and it wants healthy movement, but when we force stuff on our bodies they often end up shutting down.

    The third cover to our wisdom is thinking we know stuff, making assumptions about our bodies. Rather, a fundamental truth about your body is that it is constantly changing,from birth to death we do not stay the same, you are new every moment.When you assume limitations are permanent you contract your abilities and when you assume strengths are permanent you are moving away from truth. In dealing with the body curious compassion will take you deeper. If you do want to challenge yourself to run faster, lift more, whatever then inch by inch move towards that goal with somatic awareness, curiosity and compassion and your body will begin to sense you are its ally. To complete the inner journey to our highest selves we must truly befriend our bodies. Be as nice to your body as you might be to your dog.

    So this blog post is nothing revolutionary I know. But it is truth. We cannot continue to live in our heads and expect a peaceful existence. We cannot continue to look to outside sources for our own wisdom. I know its a bad business move as a teacher to say I have nothing to teach you, but it is true. You already contain truth, peace and wisdom.   Perhaps though we can sit quietly together for a bit and you will discover  recover uncover    perhaps you will find you are wiser than you know. Why travel the world looking for yourself when you are right here?

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