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Apr 2011-2

Greetings yoga friends, and many thanks for so much support since my accident -

It is said that a goal of yoga is Union - to discover that instead of each being a separate self, our ego, we are part of something more universal: the True Self.

Well, I can tell you that after I hit the ground from 35 feet, landing on my back, my own ego, despite much yoga-training, had no interest in that whatsoever. Live! Fight! Survive! If our first chakra represents our primal instincts, I moved down to my Zero Chakra. Universal consciousness? Forget that. It's about EUGENE!!!!

Ha, I was in such hyper-vigilant, adrenaline and cortisone pumping mode, that hours later, as I was being wheeled into acute care, I found myself quizzing the nurses about their resistant staph protocol and how they were going to prevent dvt's. Good thing I wasn't flying, I'd have tried to barge my way into the cockpit to check on the pilot!

eugene chakra map.jpg

It's inevitable, it's natural. After all, I am only an animal dressed in clothes and self-importance. And it helps safeguard our vulnerable body. But long-term it has a cost. Within a day, pain spasmed my back after a few minutes in any position. Middle of the night anxiety about permanent injury, despite my good prognosis, haunted my flashbacks. I was coping, but I was also diminishing, retreating into my separate identity.

Then my courageous friend Hillary, a massage and energy therapist, came and reminded me of something. I call her courageous because her intuition allows her to feel other's experience and emotion. She held my hand, and the back spasms melted away. I drew her other hand over my 3rd chakra, where my back was injured, and waves of tears and emotion flooded through both of us and released. My fear lifted up through her central channel, releasing into the heavens.

That night the fear and pain returned, but during her healing session I had been reminded that they were no more real than I chose to make them. The nervous system of Eugene was in gripped spasm, but I was able to ask the scientific question. What had happened in Hillary's presence? Nothing magical. No witchcraft or trickery. Instead, like touching the earth with the souls of our feet in the standing poses to reach taller, she had given me a perspective of myself in context of relationship. In that truth I was more part of the universe than I was separated from it. I had no longer identified ME as being only this brain cortex and spinal nervous system. I was a part of something much broader, within which was indeed this suffering being, calling out for compassion.

Now lying alone, I tried to open myself to that same realization. During that dark night, I started to learn how to receive the prayers, blessings, good wishes and love that my community was heaping upon me - using them to connect beyond this delusion of my being separate. Muscles relaxed and fear subsided as I moved once again toward Union.

The journey is, of course, ongoing - waves of contracting and then re-opening to grace. Pain comes, flashbacks come. But each time there is more certainty that the greater truth lies in the connection beyond them.

On the whole, I think it's worth practicing yoga, in whatever cultural form works for you :-)