Identifying God

What is the smallest particle you can think of? Consider the existence of these infinitesimally small building blocks of the universe. Quarks. Electrons. Atoms. We know that air contains certain atoms, that our bodies and all life forms are made up of atoms. The human body is composed of many cells containing trillions of atoms. During gestation, cells divide and begin to differentiate, forming various organs, tissues, bones. That process in itself is pretty remarkable. But then each cell begins to function according to its location and its design. In other words, each cell knows what to do.

A simpler example would be, let’s say, a dandelion plant composed of many cells which divide, differentiate, and take on varied responsibilities. Some cells form roots which expand under the ground, search for water and soil nutrients, and draw these upward to nourish sister cells in the stem. Above ground the plant sprouts leaves which take in carbon dioxide, absorb sunlight, converting light energy into chemical energy and producing organic compounds. Throughout these processes, each cell has its own function; it knows what to do.

Whether we’re looking at the billions of cells carrying out their intended function and interacting with other cells throughout the human body or within the dandelion, doesn’t it seem reasonable to say that there is a consciousness in each cell. . . an amazing, miraculous consciousness that knows what to do. In the big picture, this consciousness can be thought of as the creative force which drives the world. And, if you’ve ever dabbled in spirituality, read theological texts, or just attended Sunday school, this creative force is what they call: God.

I rest my case.

Orwellian Society?

If we are not already living under a dictatorship, the current pandemic scare ensures that we will be deprived of all civil liberties. It’s the perfect set-up; the government now regulates our work, social, and even interpersonal relationships. The common denominator is fear and so we comply.

As their jobs are taken away, lower income workers lose their ability to function in this new society. The wealthy might worry about the volatile stock market but, generally, they have a financial cushion to support them. The disparity between rich and poor only increases.

Mid-level workers have been asked to work from home. I can see this benefiting the growing section of our population with antisocial personality disorder and I am not comfortable knowing that our industry and commerce rests in the hands of those with limited capacity.

People centered jobs are now banished. As we are forbidden to gather in groups, we look to the internet for connection. Teachers and therapists can engage in this format only in a limited way. When I’m leading a group, narrating movement and stillness, I’m constantly paying attention to each group member, ready to adapt my teaching to their individual processes. Meanwhile the group itself interacts, supporting each other with humor and empathy. This is not an experience one can get online.

The Corona virus is just one of perhaps many pandemics to come; my microbiologist grandson tells me it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Because, for so long, we’ve been relying on pharmaceuticals to fight illness, the various invading organisms have built up their own resistance to drugs. So what are we to do? My hope is that we will be forced to take control of our own health, take individual responsibility for our lives, not relying on advertising and marketing for information regarding food, vitamins, and exercise.

You are the expert. Research and experiment. Find what works for you as a human being in need of food and drink, rest and sleep, exercise, and human companionship. Take heart in knowing that you are a member of the human race which has survived by adapting for billions of year. Go, humans!

You are the Guru

When I first began to advertise my classes, many years ago, I chose this phrase to headline my brochure: You are the Guru.  My intention was to encourage more self awareness among students of Yoga.  Back in the nineteen-seventies Yoga was as misunderstood as it is today. . . but in a different way.  The Yoga experience which the Beatles brought back from India offered mystical teachings and trance states under the guidance of a religious teacher called a Guru.  It wasn’t long before ashrams began cropping up all over the western world.  These Yoga centers were founded by self-styled Gurus who demanded absolute obedience from their followers.  Capitalizing on the new wave of enthusiasm for eastern mysticism, these ashrams thrived for a while until they eventually crashed under the weight of scandal and “fired” their Gurus.  I’ve seen one or two Gurus in the local area come to disgrace, leaving their followers devastated and disillusioned.  Now don’t get me wrong.  We need teachers; we need guidance.  But even the Buddha, one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, told us not to accept another’s authority but to find your own light.  This advice rings true especially today when Yoga is presented as a fitness program and the practice can be quite rigorous.  Too often, in the pursuit of health and fitness, Yoga students are actually abusing their bodies.  There is a saying from Qigong: Your body is your true teacher.   Whether you see Yoga as a spiritual discipline or a health regimen or view Yoga as an all-embracing path for body, mind, and spirit, please remember this.  Be your own light.  Listen to your body.  You are, after all, your own Guru.