Exploration, Integration and Individuation
Moving through the turmoil…
Dear Friends, Yoga & KAP Community,
What crazy, chaotic times we are living in, bringing with them many moments of deep challenge. But there is so much beauty that surrounds us as well… and it is my deepest hope that amidst all the difficulty you have been able to connect to some of the sweetness.
This hope is why I do the work that I do… to help people find access to more and more moments where the inherent beauty of life becomes the primary lens through which we view the world, letting the turmoil blur just a little bit further into the background.
As humans, we live a dualistic existence. It is part of our human programming to apprise, categorize and compartmentalize. First we perceive and then we choose… sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously… figuring out what feels ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ ‘useful’ or ‘useless.’ As humans, one of our biggest assets is the ability to make conscious choices. Free-will is our birthright and it is an exceptional gift.
But by the very nature of duality, the gift can easily become a liability. The glass half-full can quickly begin to look half-empty when our perception shifts. Disagreement, resistance, and division are intrinsic polarities to understanding, freedom and unity, and ALL of these states are part of the natural unfolding of a dualistic existence.
If you have taken my yoga classes or have been present for some of the discussion during our weekly KAP sessions, you have surely heard me talk about this idea of duality, or what I often refer to as “oppositional energy” – frequently experienced in our practices through the polarities of effort and ease, intention and surrender or grounding and expansion.
By fully comprehending and then experiencing the oppositional ends of the spectrum, both on a personal, internal level as well as through the external world at large, we can begin to find our inner equilibrium… our sense of balance and harmony that lies somewhere in the middle of these polarities. Carl Jung called this process “Individuation” or, the Union of Opposites within.
One of the foundational principals we learn along this spiritual path is that while this human experience is dualistic in nature, our truest nature, the parts of us that are beyond what we experience through the physical realm, is an ultimate state of non-duality.
We begin to understand that beyond the surface layer of reality, there is a deep interconnectivity of all things… a great collective consciousness which we are all a part of. Jung, who along with his invaluable study of human psychology, had a deep understanding of the spiritual aspects of life and its unified, interconnected nature, and his understanding of this collective consciousness was a large part of his life’s work.
Finding harmony and alignment within ourselves will inevitably bring forth a harmony and alignment around us because our internal realm creates the perception of our external realm. This connection between internal and external is part of the greater whole through which our life exists.
This is, in my opinion, one of the great lessons we are being shown right now. We are being forced to look duality… namely division and opposition… square in the face and sit with all the unintegrated things it brings up within us.
If we start paying close attention and if we are able to expand the view through our current lens by any amount, we can begin to see that, contained within the circumstances of every moment, no matter how the duality of it is unfolding, there lies the opportunity for us to open ourselves to ALL that life has to offer… the full range of human experience.
And if we can look at this with more tolerance, less judgement and an expanded understanding that all life, all opinions and all experiences have value, this turns into one of the biggest gifts imaginable.
So the question becomes – how do we reach this expanded state of perception?
And of course the question itself along with each and every endeavor to find answers IS the spiritual path. The process is an intricate unfolding of our own understanding of life and the deconstruction of all potential viewpoints. And this is why we have an array of practices… modalities that help us find an experiential understanding of these concepts, and that help us find our own answers along the way.
In yoga asana we work with the physical realm, the most obvious part of our humanity, and we dive deep into the awareness and nuance of body and breath, using these human ‘tools’ to help us feel into and experience these inherent polarities on an embodied level.
In meditation we go deeper and begin to see and watch the busy chaos of the mind – which creates our perceptions – and we being to find a certain inner spaciousness that enables us to tap into higher states of understanding. In this space we begin to find an awareness that we are more than just this physical being.
And in energy work – KAP specifically – we move even deeper into an experiential understanding of something greater… something beyond the duality we live in. We begin to get an actual taste of non-dual experience, and we begin to integrate all the parts of who we are – body, mind and spirit – as the energy itself begins to provide deeper perspectives that are generally hard to access through our own self-willed practices.
We practice these things on the mat so we can take a felt-level understanding out into the rest of our lives and into our individual human experiences, and there we can begin to fully understand and integrate the great paradox of life: that we must move through this duality of human existence in order to find and connect with our true, ultimate nature… one that is at its foundation, non-dual, inter-connected and intertwined with all of existence.
And so, I invite you to dive deeper into the practices that have been resonating for you, and to maybe open yourself to practices you’ve not yet explored, and in doing so, opening yourself to the rich tapestry of existence that is available, even amidst these trying times. Especially amidst these trying times…