In the Preamble, we portrayed an epidemic of internal fragmentation, described suffering as the inevitable result of such internal conflict, & finally suggested that poor posture is often the physiognomy—the outward expression—of such strife. In fact, the condition is a self-perpetuating positive feedback loop, since the said posture exerts retroactive influence back up on the heart & mind. How might one then go about the yoga of our various aspects, onetime fragmented? Union being our desired result—what is the method thither?
Obviously we do not fragment ourselves intentionally, yet we invariably find ourselves fragmented. We are like the drunkard who wakes up in Kansas after bar-hopping in Missouri: between the states, a gulf of unconsciousness. Evidently we must develop the capacity to sustain awareness if we are to preempt such vicious & insensible somnambulism. When our attention stabilises, we are able to recognise & relinquish internal conflicts, in real time, as they arise. Our consciousness of this erstwhile unconscious activity is the solvent that resolves these budding struggles before they calcify in the body. In this way, we proactively reconcile the psychosomatic suffering that invariably results from our compulsive self-fragmentation.
Consider this example of one of the more insidious impeti such of internal fragmentation: suppose I’m washing the dishes & I simultaneously want to be done with them. In this case, I have indeed fragmented myself—
one aspect performing action, fingers in the suds, scraping away spaghetti-sauce,
& the other wanting to play with my pet gecko named “Aloric.”
I have fixated on the outcome of my action even as I perform it. Given that these two activities are mutually exclusive in the given moment, a subtle strain within me is the result. I might express this internal tension by tightening my diaphragm or clenching my shoulders; in any case, I have forfeit my ease of body & peace of mind all for the sake of entertaining a vapid fantasy. In fact, the reptile is probably happier without me & it probably takes me even longer to finish the dishes cause I’m trying to multitask. If I manage to bring attention to this condition, I will perceive this self-inflicted tension between conflicting desires & can subsequently release it. If I remain unconscious of this rift, however, I doom myself to suffer. Evidently, I must create a habit of awareness.
When we bring attention to such an affair, it is immediately apparent that if we are to avoid internal strife, an activity must be performed not for its result but simply for itself. Hindu scriptures enunciates this instruction:
You have right to the work itself, but never to its fruits,
Krishna instructs Arjuna on the eve of the great battle.
Established in oneness, perform action
the Bhagavad Gita also counsels.
Jesus offered similar counsel in the Sermon on the Mount. As The Gospel of Matthew records it:
If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light…
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
—Matthew 6:22, 6:34
The corroboration of the value of internal unity by such diverse sources as the Bhagavad Gita, the New Testament, & “Ye Postural Manifesto” suggest the universality of this challenge to humankind. Unfortunately, the value of such composure is all too often overlooked in our society. History, progress, & the concept of linear time advancing towards an ultimate goal, be it the Second Coming or retirement in the Bahamas: these are inventions of the Modern West, along with flat-screen TVs & disposable razors. All of these inventions conspire to condition in us a compulsive habit of division within & amongst ourselves. We perform our activity in a perpetual state of dis-ease, the product of a tension between our action & the reward to which we strive. Indeed this becomes so continuous that we cease to notice it altogether. A herring’s habitat is the ocean; Man swims in a sea of perpetual anxiety. Our minds lust after objects, chasing them on flights of fancy & straying far from their corporeal temples.
We desert our bodies.
We establish a ghost-town of vacant temples.
Aches, pains, & poor posture: these are the body crying in the wilderness.
The remedy must be communion. We must welcome our prodigal souls back into their deserted temples. We must allow our itinerant minds to re-inhabit their empty aeries. Let us embrace these flighty vagabonds in spite of their errantry.
Let us view time not as an incessant march towards some object in the future, but rather as a perpetual ebb & flow according to the rhythms of nature.
When time is cyclical, life arises in the process, not its terminus.
The path is the goal; walk it like you’ve already arrived.
Love the question more than the answer.
When we attend to the dissolution of its conditions, tension dissipates spontaneously & we live with ease of body & peace of mind.
Living aspects of all persons unite!