"Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind." - Virginia Woolf
Walking through walls
I remember years ago watching a David Copperfield special where the magician appeared to pass through the Great Wall of China. It struck me recently that the 'magic' of that act can appear in daily life as our ability to forgive, to envision a new solution, to change our opinion of someone or something, to shift a preconception of what we were capable of, even to change our mind about a food. All of these are examples of moving through mental walls. We overcome in a moment what we had previously perceived as impossible.
This month we practice Pranayama Gateway. Prana is the vital life force that animates all organisms in the Universe. It distributes itself through our bodies via channels called nadis. It also moves through our minds and emotions. The energetic subtle body is known as pranamaya kosha and it extends out beyond the physical body approximately 4-5 feet in all directions.
As we interact with the world, the pranic body is affected by our context. Say for example you had a near miss with a car as you crossed the street. The surprise would send a wave through your prancing body. Depending on our state of mind our response varies such as with rage, "HEY!" Or with gratitude, "Whew! Near miss!" Holding rage or gratitude makes for patterns in our thoughts and behaviors. These patterns become assumptions through which we filter what we see.
In her book New Beliefs New Brain, Lisa Wimberger writes, "Each moment, action, and experience filters through our colored beliefs which grow out of our environment, history, biology, and nurturing. Every word, gesture, and action translates through my perception of the world."
What we do in our practice prepares our pranic body (that subtle connection between our thoughts, moods, beliefs and the body's physiological structure) to be in an optimal/radiant/balanced/healthy state. This state allows us to heal/repair/shift when we are out of alignment, emotionally distressed, or ill. From this shift in perspective and its bodily sensations we can enhance/receive/deepen/enrich the moments of our lives when we most need it.
"Experience coupled with attention leads to physical changes in the structure and future functioning of the nervous system. This leaves us with a clear physiological fact...moment by moment we choose and sculpt how our ever-changing minds will work." - Dr. David Perlmutter, neuroscientist and Alberto Villoldo PhD
Consistent practice, whereby we shift ourselves into this state that is receptive to a higher perspective as we do this month, creates new lasting neural pathways. In our practice we move the body to create circulation and strength in the chest, shoulders, and neck. Maintaining challenging gestures and specific patterns of breathing establish new patterns in our mind. Long guided quiet at the end internalizes these shifts. In these ways the pranic body is balanced and healthy. We are able to perceive new possibilities - gateways - where once there were walls.
Keep coming. Keep practicing. Keep finding and building the freedom of your mind.
Much love, martha